Julia Powell’s work has a carefree feel perfectly paired with a curious attention to just the right details that transport you into her world. Her paintings lure you in with a palette that can very well be described as delicious and retains your attention with her genius work of light and contemporary technique.
Not only is she a naturally gifted artist, but she is genuine and just one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Keep reading below to learn more about Julia Powell’s life, her style, and her art.
My name is Julia S. Powell and I was born and raised in Cambridge, MA.
1. When and how did you get involved with art?I’ve watercolored and doodled since I was young but I didn’t pick up oils until two years ago when my brother gave me some – I’ve worked diligently to get better at them and now I feel much more confident in that medium. I have never taken an oil or pastel class or been formally trained in that regard. I took one watercolor class when I was 17. I think this is important to point out because a lot of artists are intimidated if they don’t have an MFA or BFA or haven’t been “formally trained” – the most important thing is the practice you put in … there are fabulous and successful artists there who never took a class … the other thing is surround yourself with people who are positive. If I hadn’t had early encouragement with my oils (The first ones were not good!) I would have given up – I’m so grateful to the early support because it gave me the confidence to do more and get better
2. Which art style do you most identify with? Impressionism/Fauvism/Abstract Expressionism
3. How would you best describe your work? contemporary impressionism/expressionism
4. How did you develop your style? practice practice practice
5. Which other artists inspire you and why? Wolf Kahn, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt , Gabriele Munter, Richard McKinley, Rodger Bechtold – they all use color in really creative ways and I love all of their renditions of landscapes
6. What is your favorite art work done by another artist?
7. Is art your full time Job? 50/50 (Art and Law – used to be 25/75 art/law but the art has picked up which is great
8. What does your daily routine involve? And what time of day is the best time for you to work on your craft? I try to work 5 hours a day 7 days a week – weekends I’ll do a big chunk of time
9. What are your favorite art supplies? oil – stretched canvas from various companies, Gamblin, Rembrandt paints, Sennelier soft pastels or oil pastels/Canson paper (pastels), Arches paper/winsor and newton watercolors (watercolor) all kinds of brushes and palette knives – some cheap, some not cheap
10. How is your studio or art space organized? I’ve got a big easel/chair and a stand alone structure that is a palette on top and then it has drawers below for paints and paper towels and mediums (I don’t use a lot of mediums but sometimes I do) – then on the window sill I have tons of brushes and knives in containers, my watercolor and pastel work is on a big table nearby – my studio is often messy and in need of cleaning!
11. What do you do before you start a piece? Oil: prep a canvas and then start …. I don’t do any under painting … Pastel: usually an outline in pencil Watercolor: an outline in pencil
12. How has your work changed over time? it’s gotten a lot better because I have practiced a lot – I know this isn’t specific but the oils have just been brighter, more precise, more evocative of the mood I am trying to create – the first five months of doing oils I was really just figuring things out (I still am!)
13. If and/or when you feel frustrated with a piece, what do you do to get out of that funk? This has definitely happened – I usually consult another artist or person who’s eye I respect and I say “what isn’t working here” and that usually helps me focus on what to fix. I’ve also painted over pieces I didn’t like (and the new piece is often very interesting with the layers) or put it aside for a month prior to returning to it
14. What do you most love about your work? Is there something you don’t like about it? I like the color. I don’t dislike any of my work – I just always want to get better – I never want to atrophy
15. What advice would you give to a young artist aspiring for a career in art? paint/draw/create what YOU love – even if it isn’t always marketable – because you will never get sick of it or stop trying to get better at it; that said – if you want to be a full time artist be cognizant of the market and what you might need to do to earn a living (cards, prints, drawings for books, graphic arts – whatever you can do to do art and supplement your income is important)