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.

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

What is Mixed Media Artwork?

I am asked this question hundreds of times per year.  Many people really have no idea what mixed media is.  I am here to clear up any confusion & to clarify what I choose to incorporate into my artwork.  By definition, in visual art mixed media refers to an artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been used.  Mixed Media is also basically defined as using any materials other than paint.

My base medium for all of my paintings is Acrylic paint.  I then “build” each painting incorporating a multitude of mixed media elements.  My mixed media elements include textiles, handmade papers, glass beads, opaque flakes, threads, sand, crushed leaves, oil pastels, and graphite to name a few.  I incorporate these components within all 6 layers of my paintings.  6 layers?  Yes… 6 layers, and sometimes even more. Along with the mixed media, I also include about 8 different paint mediums into my works.  My paint mediums include gel mediums, pouring mediums, modeling pastes, self- leveling gels and many more.  Mmmmmmm….it is so scrumptious! 

I am admittedly a tactile addict.  Okay, I said it.  I thrive on textures and the sense of materials that have a variety of compositions.  Take me into a store, whether it is a clothing store, or an art supply store, I have to touch everything!  Who doesn’t want to touch beautiful luxurious fabrics, or the gel mediums that go into a creation. This is why I incorporate mixed media of all varieties into my paintings.  And, if you see my artwork, I invite you to touch it.  It gives the art life, and gives the viewer a connection to my paintings. 

Patrons often say to me “It looks like you have a lot of fun.” My response is ALWAYS, “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have fun.”  I hope you enjoy my work as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

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