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.

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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“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