Julie Anderson – Best of Theme

The June Member Show theme “Capturing Local Color” was thoroughly evident in Julie Anderson’s painting ‘In Search of Orangutans’ and was awarded Best of Theme by juror, Angela Chang. Angela’s commented, “I am viewing this theme as capturing the local color of San Diego, rather than the literal meaning of the local color of an object. I think this painting, with its warmth and cheerful color, represents this area. The design is strong and it’s a great painting.”

In Search of Orangutans by Julie Anderson

Most paintings have a story behind them and one look at this delightful painting told us we needed to know more. Julie Anderson, who is a generous volunteer in numerous capacities at the San Diego Watercolor Society, gave us her insight and ‘behind the scenes look’ in a brief interview.

Hi Julie, we are in awe of your latest painting ‘In Search of Orangutans’ that won Best of Theme at the June Member Show. Can you give us the inspiration behind it?

The inspiration for “In Search of Orangutans” was my beloved grandsons.  About 4 years ago, when they were still young and very cute I took them to the Zoo.  We were having difficulty finding the orangutans, even after asking for directions and trying to find them on the map.  The grandsons grew tired of this nonproductive searching, so they grabbed the map from my hand, dropped to their knees right in the middle of a busy walkway, and with the help of the older grandson who could read were able to locate the orangutans and lead the way to their enclosure.  I of course captured this moment with my camera, which I use as a sketchbook to create source of images for use in future paintings.  I like to have a connection to the paintings that I paint and the camera lets me do this.

The subjects in your artwork really shine. How long have you been painting and what drives you as an artist?

I always liked art.  I was that kid in elementary school who was always drawing, and I took oil painting lessons on Saturday mornings from a local town artist.  I got a BA degree in art and taught art in secondary schools for several years before I got married and again after my children were in high school.  However, in all those years I never took watercolor classes or painted in watercolor.  That was a goal I set for myself after I retired from teaching in 2002.  I guess my watercolor adventure began in 2003 when I began taking the older adult continuing education classes.  I joined SDWS around 2005 or 2006.  After a couple of years I began taking SDWS workshops, trying to do about 1 a year.  My goal is never to learn to paint like the artist – I want to paint like me.  But I want to pick up a thing or several things in each workshop that I can use in some way in my painting, be it a technique, way of approaching a painting, or how does the artist think.  I am driven as an artist to create the “perfect painting”.  Paintings always start out with such great promise but never quite fulfill it.  At least, not yet.  So I keep trying different things in search of what works for me and is enjoyable.

Do you have any advice for new artists or people who would like to learn to paint with watermedia?

My advice to new artists is to draw and paint a lot.  Take classes from as many different teachers as you can to be exposed to as many techniques and ideas as possible.  Think about what comes easy to you and what you enjoy doing.   If you really want to paint a certain way, try it, but if you cannot relax and have fun painting that way, try something else.  

You’ve been a long-time member and volunteer at the San Diego Watercolor Society. What’s your favorite aspect of the organization?

My favorite aspect of SDWS is the camaraderie of fellow artists.  Volunteering has so enriched my life and introduced me to so many wonderful people who I can call friend.  Getting involved in whatever way assures that you will get the most out of your membership and your artistic life.  Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities – plein air painting and demos, monthly meeting demos, figure drawing sessions, workshops.

If anyone would like to view more of your artwork, what’s the best way for people to follow you?

The best way to see my artwork is at my website, www.julieandersonartist.com.  Unfortunately, it is pretty out of date right now since I have been spending time painting and doing other things I love instead of keeping it current.  But I hope to do some updating soon. My art can also be seen in the monthly SDWS member exhibitions and quarterly shows at the Point Loma Credit Union, as well as in periodic shows by the Point Loma Artists Association.  

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