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

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.

balancechanges Panelsurban

“What inspires you?”

I am probably asked this question hundreds of times a year.  For me, this is one of the toughest questions to answer.  It is also one of the most challenging things to describe.abstract julie havel

I believe that inspiration comes from two places.  The first is from the physical, and what the eye can see.  Nature is definitely the biggest physical influence.  Sometimes it is the greens, orange and yellow tones from leaves on a tree or the vast openness of the light blue sky, or the tranquil deep ocean and all of the mysteries that it holds. When I look at our beautiful world, I am very deeply impacted by texture and patterns.   I suppose this is the reason that I am so attracted to two dimensional mixed media.  When I see an inspiring pattern in nature, I try to recreate that pattern and texture using mixed media.  This physical inspiration comes in what I describe as “flashes” to me.  These “flashes” are images that come to my mind along with what the inspiration was. It will happen, and within seconds it is gone.  Since it happens so quickly, it is sometimes difficult to recall.  I really have to sit to connect with it, and to write down what I have experienced at that moment & how I could transform this “flash” idea into a painting.  These moments don’t happen all too often, but when they do, I get butterflies in my stomach & get very excited to begin creating.  There is so much more to describe this, but I truly can’t put it in words.  Ask any artist, and I believe they would tell you the same.

The second type of inspiration comes from the world that we cannot see.  I have spoken before about my creative guides, and I believe that they flow through me when I paint.  I call this inspiration, because I am putting to canvas, what I have no words to explain.  I cannot describe why I put a certain color in a particular painting, in a particular place.  I am only guided to do so.  My guides work through me, and I am solely a conduit in this physical world in which they can work.  Having this unknown force flowing through me is incredibly inspiring. 

“Abstract” 36×36 Acrylic & Mixed Media  #JulieHavelArt #ContemporaryArt #Decor

The word transformation can take on different meanings for many people.

Whether it is a life or work transformation, it is usually drastic even though it does take small steps to achieve it.  In addition, I believe that transformation is an ongoing process, never to really find a means to an end, but to keep the possibilities of discovery open to all beings.

Transformation within my world of creativity takes on a multitude of meanings.  From day one as a “professional artist” my work has transformed on a daily basis.  From landscapes, street scenes, houses on hills, to Rothko inspired color blocks, my work is always changing.  Not only from what the physical eye can see, but flowing into the actual painting process. 

I truly have my guides to thank for this, as I have had no professional training as an artist working in many techniques.  It just happens…yes, that is my explanation.  It just happens…..  And yes, I do believe that a lot of the changes in technique as well as style are “happy accidents”.  How much fun is that?  I make a mistake while working, and it ends up being one of the greatest elements of my artistic journey. 

When I look back at what I have created over the past 15 years, it makes me smile.  Yes, I do look back at some paintings that I have done and say to myself “what was I thinking?” I need to remind myself that my art represents where I was at any specific time in my career and life.  I just can’t imagine as an artist, creating the same style /technique all of the time.  I definitely know that I get bored creating the same thing time after time.  Even though no two paintings are exactly alike, even working in the same palette can get a bit dull for me. 

I thrive on the excitement of discovering a new way to paint, a new inspired look and how that makes me feel.  When I am in one of these states of blissful creating, I will often look with excitement at my creations morning, noon and night. I don’t know of many jobs where people have the pleasure of doing that. I am so thrilled for the future of my paintings, career and life, and can only imagine what transformations will take place along my path.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Yes, it may be common….but it is TRUE!  Since I was 7 years old, I knew that I wanted to be an artist.  Truly, how many people say that as a child, and live out their dream as an adult?  I would find anything I could to create something out of nothing and that still continues today. I am a self-taught artist, and as my career has grown so has my art.  I started out painting in watercolors, where my subject matter was landscapes and European street scenes.   And yes, it made me CRAZY!  I finally picked up a palette knife, a few textural elements and my life changed.

UrbaniteUrbanite 48×48 Acrylic & Mixed Media


changesChanges 15×60 Acrylic & Mixed Media 

blendzBlendz 24×24 Acrylic & Mixed Media