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

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.

Fall in love with Art.

I always share this sentence with potential clients, and viewers of my work.  No, you don’t have to know the ” how’s” and the “why’s” of any piece of artwork.  All that you truly need to know is that you have fallen in love with it.  Sometimes art collectors fall in love with works because of meeting the artist & learning about the process of the painting, as well as what the inspiration was.  I am here to tell you though, that with me, not every single painting has a story.  As I have said before, I am guided with my artwork and sometimes just have no explanation as to how it comes together. 

When purchasing artwork, trust your gut and your heart (not always your designer).  You are the one who has to live with the artwork, not them.  Artwork should speak to you, it should inspire you, and every time you look at it, you should fall in love again and again.

art love 3art love 2art love 1

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.

Influences in childhood, shape who we are as adults.

As we grow and change it is our choice to accept these influences. At least this is what I believe.  Who influenced me as a child…in regards to Art?  Truthfully, it was a combination of individuals.

My first influence was grandmother.  She was always making ceramic figurines.  I even remember her kiln in her basement & loved to watch her create.  That creative gene was passed down to my mother who was also an amateur artist.  I remember when I was very young, she would sit at her easel & create beautiful landscape paintings, as I would sit on the floor next to her and paint as well. 

I also had two amazing art teachers all through grade school and high school.  It was such a beautiful thing to have supportive teachers that accepted a child’s imagination, opening up worlds of possibilities. 

Lastly, in grade school, I had a pal in crime.  She was a beautiful soul who was insanely creative.  We would sit and draw together, paint together & create something out of nothing.  We went to art camp in the summers, and were always known in school as being the “creative ones”.  She was my soul sister and artistic partner. She is no longer in this world, but I do feel that she is often with me when I am creating. She was a wonderful influence on me & I hope to live out this dream for both of us.

“Imagine” 36×36 Available for purchase. #JulieHavel #MixedMediaArt #AbstractArt #Art #CreateArt #ContemporaryArt

Imagine Julie Havel