I had an incident….

slowdownJust this past week I had an incident.  A minor incident, but an incident none the less.  It started when I opened the back door of my van (the one I use for art exhibitions) to find that a lot of the contents had shifted.  Since it was a beautiful day, I decided that I was going to rearrange and organize the back of my van.  As my 7 year old son was shouting to me to come to play football with him, I then opened the van doors and told him to wait a few minutes while I work on my van. 

For those of you who are not familiar with my “traveling to art shows lifestyle,” a lot of elements are incorporated into setting up a display.  Large tent, heavy walls and weights.  Yes, weights.  My four weights are solid steel bars that are about 3 feet in length.  They weigh 60 lbs each.  As I opened the back of the van door, I saw that my weights had shifted down and were not in a very ideal place in my van.  As I began to move two of the weights, one slid about 3 feet out of the van and onto my right foot. 

As blood started coming out of the top of my shoe, I realized that I had done some damage.  After a trip to the ER I found that I luckily I did not break any bones.  I am currently icing, elevating and limping at best. 

So… what does this mean to me?  I took it as a sign from the Universe to SLOW DOWN.  Because I am now caring for my swollen and bruised foot, I am forced to slow down.  Just as I always speak about living in the moment… I am now at a point where I have to.  And, to be quite honest, I am okay with that. 

In normal day to day, (as we all are) rushing from one thing to the next.  Because I can’t walk well, I can only accomplish a few things during the day.  I am realizing, that if it doesn’t get done…then so be it.

How can you slow down?  Taking time to care for yourself?  Not taking for grated the simple pleasures…such as walking, jumping, running?

Don’t get me wrong, I am hoping that I will be back to normal within a short amount of time.  However, when that time comes, I really want to stay in my way of taking things literally one step at a time.

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I am a self- taught artist

Julie Havel Abstract ArtistI do have a college degree, but did not study art.  I took a few art classes at the University of Arizona, but did not pursue a degree in Fine Art.  The reason?  My parents told me that I could never make a living as an artist.

Here I am today…15 years later as a full-time artist.  Just know that you can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself & your goals.

I did grow up painting, drawing and creating, and had an amazing elementary school art teacher.  When I went to high school I had a fabulous art teacher as well.  In college, I only took about 4 art classes before I decided to give up.  I waited another 10 years before I picked up a brush again.  Yes, I did grow up with amazing influences artistically, but I still do consider myself as a self-taught artist.

People often say to me that they can’t even draw a stick figure.  Honestly…. Who cares?  In my world of Abstract, you don’t need to know how to draw a stick figure.  Just let yourself go, and know that there is no “right or wrong” when it comes to creating art.  This is my philosophy, as Abstract art allows me to create just about anything that I choose.

Just remember to HAVE FUN…LET GO… AND CREATE!

Posters and Giclees… to sum it up.

I am often asked if I do “prints” of my artwork.  The answer to that question is Yes.  The reason for this?  If you can’t afford an orginal piece of artwork, you can still own one of my creations at a lower price point.  No, I do not personally sell my posters or giclees, but my publishers do.  I have two publishers that I have worked with over the past 10 years or so.  What is a publisher?  They buy my original paintings and print them.  These prints end up all over the world.  In retail locations such as Z Gallerie, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel…you get the idea.  My posters have also become mainstays at Hotels, such as the Marriott in Times Square, The Ashford Hotel in downtown Ft Worth..just to name a few.  They are also present in Hospitals, Banks, Restaurants, Corporate offices etc…   I truly NEVER know where my posters and giclees are hanging. 

I was at a hotel recently and as I was walking down the corridor to the elevator, I had to stop to do a second glance because my posters were on hanging in the hallway.  It is often a fun surprise to see.

I do not licence all of my works, only about 20 pieces or so.  My publishers then create unlimited runs for posters and giclees. 

“What is a giclee?” is often another question that I am asked.  A giclee by definition is A process for producing high-quality reproductions of images such as paintings or photographs using an inkjet printer.  Giclees are usually printed on gallery wrapped canvas. Don’t be fooled however, that a giclee is an original.  Giclees are often enhanced with textures and varnish to give the print depth and the illusion of an original.  I actually had someone contact me a few years ago thinking that he had bought an original of mine at a retail store.  I sadly had to inform him that it was not an original… just a print of my work.

With all of that said, I have to tell you that NOTHING BEATS AN ORIGINAL.  With an original piece of artwork, you can actually feel the energy.  You can see the brushstrokes and every single detail of the paint and textures laid out before you.  I believe that there is more of a soul connection to an original piece of art.  Yes, ALL of my paintings are original as well. 

Whether you only have a budget for a poster or giclee, are just beginning to collect original artwork, or have been a collector for years, know that everyone can own a Julie Havel creation.

“Climbing” 36×48 Acrylic & Mixed Media 

Climbing Julie havel

“Cascade” 36×48 Acrylic & Mixed Mediacascade

Getting respite to rejuvinate & reconnect

We just returned from a beautiful vacation in Cocoa Beach Florida.  It was strange for me to head to Florida without packing my van full of art, driving 32 hours (one way) & spending about 4-6 weeks traveling throughout Florida participating in exhibitions.  I have spent the past 4 years traveling this way to Florida & we decided to head back….JUST FOR A VACATION.  I know, I know, why did we go to Florida…again?  Well, for one, our little dudes are now 5 & 7 years old.  The absolute perfect age for Lego Land.  Yes, I said it… Lego Land.  And, I must follow that up with what a fun place it was!  Okay, having two boys who are absolutely obsessed with Legos, I have to admit that I am too.  I just love the creativity that it provides for us all.  So, with that said, we spent one day at Lego Land & then headed straight for the beach, for an entire week of down-time.  With our hectic schedules day in and day out, we were finally able to re-connect with each other.  Whether it was building sand castles for hours upon hours on the beach, searching and exploring the beach for washed up jelly fish, crabs or the perfect seashell, boogie boarding, having races on the beach where we always let the kiddos win, playing 100 games of Go Fish in our condo…. Whatever it was that we were doing, we were able to connect with each other & not get caught up in the day to day’s of being at home. 

It was such a wonderful experience to be in the moment.  My kiddos teach me everyday about just that.  We all need some respite from the day to day.  How do you find your respite?  What re-charges you?  How do you reconnect with those who matter in your life?

I was given the gift to re-read a friends book, that teaches just this….To live in the moment, because you will never have that opportunity again once it passes.  The book is The Hour of the Wolf, by Paul Lipton.  I highly recommend this book, as it brings this philosophy to the forefront of our thought process.

Be still, Be Here, Be in the Moment….
wolf book julie havel

Color OUTSIDE the lines.

This is definitely my theory when I create.  It is also something that I tell my children repeatedly when they too create.  Life is so rigid, we follow and obey rules.  Who said that creating has to have rules?How many times did you hear as a child, “Stay inside the lines?”  For me, it was probably hundreds.  What the hell for?  So the colors didn’t blend?  So that you could streamline yourself to fit into the mold of being a child who could color inside of the lines well?  It is our innate ability to create what comes from our hearts, not to use guidelines and rules of how one should create. 

So take those paints, have them blend together, flow this way & that, add some water, spread it around with palette knives & see what beautiful creations come about.  To have no rules about creating opens your mind to a space that is infinite with possibilities.  Why limit yourself to brushes?  Grab a few palette knives, some rollers, papertowels, trowels, whatever you can find to apply the layers.  I can’t tell you how many amazing “happy accidents” happen in this free form of flow.  I even get so caught up in the moment, that I truly forget how and what the process was for any individual painting. 

For 12 years now, I still paint with a 3 inch palette knife.  It is AWESOME.  Often times, the paint gets so thick on it, that I have to peel back the layers.  It is so fun to see the back side of blended colors from the paintings that it was used to create.  Layer upon layer of paint creates its own entity.

So make it a point this week, or in the near future to get outside the lines….see what magic takes place!

Have some fun…let go of boundaries….get dirty & create something you love.

My beautiful palette knife that has seen oh so many creations come to life.
out of lines 2 out of lines 1

My 5 lb apron, that has about 10 layers of paint, sand, gel mediums and varnish is a bit of art in and of itself!
out of lines 4 out of lines 3

I am ready for a change. Okay, I said it.

I have worked in my home for my entire artistic career.  I am now at an interesting juncture with my work, and amJulie Havel Studio
ready to take it to a new level of exploration.  I have been pondering getting a studio space for the past few months, and am opening myself up to this new realm.  I know that it may not seem like a big deal to others, but for me it really is.

I have been thinking quite a bit about what having my own space might mean to me, and what I desire.  I will admit I really love my solitude.  I love to listen to what I want, when I want.  I love to create what I want, when I want & love to have my own space.

I dream of large windows with beautiful natural light, high vaulted ceilings, a wonderful view & a fabulous outdoor patio where I can meditate, practice yoga or read for inspiration.  A studio where I can create large scale artwork, say 10ft x 10ft paintings. How wonderful would that be?  This is my intention, my manifestation & my dream.

With that said, I have been considering getting a studio in the middle of nowhere…maybe a renovated warehouse etc…. Being in my own space with no one around….sounds very blissful to me.

Then there is the flip side of the coin.  I also have a desire to be around other creative beings.  On the road, I do love the vibe of having my artist friends around to chat about the ups and downs of being an artist.  We lean on each other in good and bad, & the comradery is wonderful.  I wonder if I would like an artist loft style space, with other artists sharing ideas, thoughts and creations.  Where would a space like this lead me?

So… where do I go from here?  Well, I have begun my search, and I believe that the Universe will bring me what I desire.  I am learning to give up the control of this situation & know that it will all work out in the end.  I am very excited for this new path in front of me, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

As I tell my two kiddos every day before they go to school… “Expect Great Things”… words that I myself could live by.

Life on the road.

Julie Havel life on the roadYes, this describes me….somewhat.  For the past 12 years or so, I have been on the road.  A carnie, a road warrior, an artist.  However you choose to describe it, it is what I have chosen as my path. 

What exactly does this mean?  Well, for one, it is a grueling, labor intensive, amazing, traveling path that has lead me from Denver to places like Miami, NYC & Sausalito to name a few.  It is a journey every year starting in February, and ending in September.  No, I am not on the road the ENTIRE time, just a few weeks here and there.  I have traveled to Palm Springs, NYC, Washington, Florida, Chicago, Kansas City, Arizona, Texas, Iowa etc… to show my works.

Julie Have life on the road 2I am often asked how my artwork gets to the shows that I do.  Well, it is transported by me, and only me to any city in which I am accepted.  I am the proud owner of a Sprinter van (who is named Baby Girl) and is as red as a cherry.  I drive my gigantic van from city to city participating in outdoor art festivals.  Drive? By Yourself?  Yes.  I have taken the 32 hour drive from Denver to Florida, hitting the ice storms of 2014 along the way in Dallas and Atlanta.  And no, those were not so much fun.  I have traveled across the country to Chicago, where we set up our booths at 4:30 am to open at 10am, and stay until 7pm.  I have driven the 20 hours to Sausalito, where I pay up to $2,000.00 for a booth space for 3 days.  Last year, I sat in Des Moines for the Art Festival where there were torrential pop up storms every 5 hours, 8 inches of water running through my booth and the threat of tornadoes during take down at the end of the show.  No, I am not complaining because this is what I have chosen to do.  However, I am here to tell you that it is not easy.

Julie Havel Life on the road 3In addition, at most shows, all artists own their tents.  It is our sole responsibility to set up our tents.  When I am by myself (most of the time) it takes me on average about 3 hours for me to complete my display. This includes 60 pound weights on each corner, as well as hoisting my tent up, putting up my 20lb walls, all to make it my own gallery space for 2-4 days.  Whew…. It exhausts me just talking about it.  Want to get some amazing biceps?  Help an artist set up their tent…time & time again….

Just so you know, all of the shows that I participate in are juried shows.  All artists submit 4-5 images of their works, as well as a booth shot.  These applications usually take place 6-8 months in advance of the show.  This is a crazy rollercoaster for us artists, as it is not very consistent on where you will be accepted year after year.  It definitely does a number on your confidence levels.

With this said, I do love being on the road.  I love to travel.  I love my artist family on the road.  We are all each other’s cheerleaders and support each other through thick and thin.  I have made some amazing life-long friends doing art festivals, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.  It has made me a better person & a stronger artist.

Just remember this when you visit an art festival.  It has taken a lot of our heart and soul to share our works with you.