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!

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

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.