TSFA asks Artists-Julia Patterson
How long have you been a working artist?
I began taking my art more seriously than just a hobby about 10 years ago, and I was fortunate to ditch the day job 2 years ago to become a full-time artist. I now rent studio space in a charming old adobe house in Tucson known as the Rain Crow Art Collective.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
I was at Michael’s yesterday, and I saw all these people clearly excited by the idea of creating something, perhaps a silk flower arrangement, maybe a painted t-shirt. It’s in our DNA I think to bring something new into existence. Before I found painting, I made homemade greeting cards with clippings from magazines and macrame plant holders. It’s all the same impulse: to make something lovely and new.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
When I get to the studio I play Words With Friends. Does that count? Actually, now that I have several paintings going at once I do sit and look at them and at least one will tell me what it needs so I grab that one.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
I was taking my first plein air workshop with Maggie Price, and I remember strolling across the Salt River river bed on a perfect sunny day to get to my easel, and I remember thinking I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy. It was a perfect confluence of being outdoors, learning something new, being with my tribe and creating.
What media do you prefer and how did you come to use it as your primary one?
I love watercolor and pastel, but at the moment I’m working in oil. I needed to learn something new and I’m having a blast figuring out how to create texture with it.
Did you go to art school, if so where?
I did not go to art school. In fact, I never took an art class in high school or college. I didn’t think I had any talent.
Where do you get ideas for your art?
Out in the world. I rarely go through photos looking for inspiration. I find a cool shadow or a unique composition everywhere I look.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Strangely I’ve taken to playing Puccini while I work. If you just let opera wash over you, it’s very calming/inspiring.
Do you see yourself in your artwork? How?
I have to admit my favorite pieces are calm and meditative, qualities I aspire to possess 🙂
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Give yourself 15 minutes to make a small piece. Continue until you’re shaken and stirred.
What work of art do you wish you owned?
I’m mad for Zoey Frank right now, a wonderful, young contemporary artist.
What international art destination do you most want to visit?
I have been to Italy but I didn’t paint there and I would love that opportunity.
What’s your art-world pet peeve?
In art magazines, where the artist is asked, “What will you never be caught doing?” and they say pet portraits. I think that’s terribly short-sighted but it could be the fact I love painting animals.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?•
Funny. Cause that’s why my friends say. They could be lying of course. Maybe I should say insecure.
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