Julia’s work is considered contemporary impressionism. Impressionism is characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment and capturing its energy, especially in terms of light and color. Essentially in impressionism, the artist omits some of the information of a scene with the intention of allowing the viewer’s brain to subconsciously fill in the blanks.
Thickness of paint—impasto—is another key element of impressionism and Julia’s work. “My work is as much about the interplay of paint and surface as it is the subject itself,” explains Julia.
When I paint, I think that what would satisfy me is to express what Bonnard said Renoir told him: make everything more beautiful. This partly means that a painting should contain a mystery, but not for mystery’s sake: a mystery that is essential to reality. -- Fairfield Porter.
Julia’s artwork is characterized by expressionistic use of color, gestural brushstrokes and exciting palette knife work. While her work falls under the broad category of impressionism, it also borrows key elements from expressionist painting.
Expressionist artists used certain colors to convey extreme emotions, and assigned arbitrary colors in their works; subjects were depicted in colors that had no natural relation to them. However, instead of illustrating anxieties and isolation as did the nineteenth century expressionists (think of Edvard Munch’s The Scream), Julia seeks to convey the opposite: joy, life and a deep sense of peace through her work.
One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well, just as one can say comforting things in music.--Vincent VanGogh
“My desire is to give narration to beauty that captivated my attention in the first place, and for my marks to reflect that vitality,” says Julia. “Beauty matters. It is necessary for life. It is not superfluous, not a luxury. Healthy living includes a regular practice of feasting upon beauty and goodness, meditating on it, showing gratitude for it. Creating art and gazing at it is good for the soul.”
To be an artist is to believe in life. – Henry Moore
As a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Julia supplemented her journalism degree with drawing classes. There she discovered a love for figure drawing. Her main muses today are Julia and husband Bruce’s four teenage daughters Chandler, Lydia, Emma and Claire. And, fairly often, unsuspecting people in whatever landscape Julia is admiring also end up in her work.
People And Places
The Lawing family loves to adventure together, and experience beautiful places. The Golden Isles of Georgia (St. Simons, Sea Island and Jekyll Island) where Julia grew up, or the rocky New England coast where Bruce spent the first half of his life (Rhode Island), are perfectly inspiring settings, a mainstay in Julia's painting repertoire, as well as Charleston, South Carolina, where daughter Chandler attends college.
Along with a deep reverence for the natural landscape, Julia is also intrigued by the structure and architecture. “I love the interplay of chaos versus order, nature versus geometry, straight lines versus organic shapes…I love the challenge of untangling a scene with these opposing elements, playing with juxtaposition,” Julia declares.
“My art exploration parallels my faith. There’s no end to the journey, but the reward is a wellspring of revelation that helps me know myself, the world, and my God more fully.”—Julia Chandler Lawing
Julia was continually recognized and awarded for her artistic talent throughout her school years. Born in Atlanta, Julia relocated to St. Simons Island, Georgia, with her family at age 12. The privilege of growing up in such a beautiful location marked her with an ever-insatiable desire for nature.
Julia earned a BA in Journalism at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (’90), which she supplemented with drawing and art history courses. While employed at Savannah College of Art and Design, and later, the Charlotte Observer, she continued pursuing art through night classes in everything from stained glass and woodworking to ceramics and pastels. As a young mother, Julia's artistic outlets included creating artwork alongside her four daughters, teaching elementary art at their school, and docenting at the Cabarrus County Arts Council. She began oil painting in 2014 under the mentorship of nationally renowned artist and teacher, Andy Braitman.
Julia paints and resides in Concord, North Carolina, with her husband Bruce, four teenage daughters, and black Labrador Lincoln, who are constantly forgiving her for not having dinner ready on time, crowding the garage with canvases, and leaving traces of paint everywhere.
Julia recently received the immense honor of having her painting, “Where My Help Comes From”, selected for ArtPopCLT Class of 2018. Look for it starting in January on billboards and other public places in the Charlotte area.
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