The winter season usually brings a refreshing outlook to our environment. I say refreshing because it is usually accompanied with snow flakes and snow, and the joy of a landscape filled with cold white flakes, well that’s what i hear the kids say they like about the snow!
Julie Imus recently moved back to Minnesota from Arizona, a place she had lived in for many years with her husband John. The long summer months in Arizona had provided Julie a place where she was inspired by the greenery, wildlife and sometimes the relics of abandoned trucks in the fields. But now the family are settling in Minnesota, we were keen to see how this new environment would inspire or influence Julie’s latest paintings. This new landscape was not just a different landscape to paint from but it has given Julie an opportunity to try out paints and paintings in ways she had never done before. So, here we see 4 serene paintings, calm and peaceful in their depiction but also fiery in their visual possibilities. Hot summers may have shown Julie’s works in its predominantly fiery composition, but the winter weather here reveals its fiery possibility, almost like the calm before the Storm!
MaMoMi: What has been the biggest changes for you and your art practice since you left Arizona to move back to Minnesota?
Julie Imus: It has been an interesting year to say the least as I never thought I would be doing so many oil paintings. I also never thought we’d move back to Minnesota from Arizona at the beginning of the cold season, but i truly did miss my family here in Minnesota, and am thrilled to be back. After finally finding a house to live in I thought it was time to begin painting again, and what better way to start than with COLD paintings. The biggest immediate change was trying to get the new art room organized and finding the right space to paint in, as the room here was much smaller than the one in Arizona. Trying to put everything in a spot where things were easy to get to was also a challenge and lighting was an issue as well, but it has all been figured out now and the space works well for me. Since moving I have met a few people who love my work and I have just been commissioned to do 3 paintings, so being back here was definitely a good move for my art.
Split Rock Winter
Oil on Canvas
My son Clayton called me one morning to tell me about an art contest. The Minnesota Vikings, a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, are building a new football stadium and looking to hang works of local artists in the new stadium and Clayton wanted me to enter the contest. I decided to add things pertaining to Minnesota in my entries, and one well know place is the Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota. It is in the far North East part of the state on Lake Superior, and is very cold up there. So this was my first choice for the contest.
MaMoMi: Does the cold weather change how you view and reproduce your subject matter?
Julie: Yes, the colder weather has definitely given me new inspiration. I have always loved the winters here, but i think i took the beauty of the snow for granted. But my time away from the winter weather, snow and the cold as given my painting a new lease of life! There is so much beauty in the snow, God surely knew what he was doing when he made it! The way dead grass pokes up through the snow is wonderful, and when you add a fence post and a barn, and a few trees, then you have a great painting. There is just so much life in the winter, and I know people think winter is a lifeless time of year in nature, which really isn’t true.
The snow does affect the way I view my subject matter because it is a little harder for me to see when outdoors. I am a visually impaired artist and because the snow is so bright, and coupled with the bright sunshine, it makes working outdoors a bit more challenging as the light can be overpowering. Many times i am not even able to see a wall in front of me, and sometimes when out walking the dogs and i call out to them, its kind of amusing when I think they are still running around when they were already at my feet!
Quiet Snow Fall
Oil on Canvas
With the misty snowy days in mind I decided to do another snow scene and I really enjoyed doing this one. A friend of mine had taken some photos in Northern Minnesota last summer and I borrowed the trees from that photo, added an old cabin and snow, and called the painting Quiet Snowfall. It is so wonderful to be back in my home state, having my son and grandchildren so close and other family, plus there is so much painting inspiration here for me…what a blessing!
There is just so much life in the winter, … and people think winter is a lifeless time of year… which really isn’t true.”
This is another painting I decided to enter into a contest. The rule for this contest was for the submission to be one that used the artists techniques of a similar painting, one that he had done on his television series. So I watched the video, changed it up to make my own version of it, and then entered it in the contest. The result Is this painting called December Snow.
MaMoMi: Are you thinking of changing your painting medium?
Julie: I was rather amused when you asked about changing my medium. My favorite painting medium is oil paint, but I have been thinking about using a mix of mediums. I may try acrylics mixed with charcoal and pastels as it seems that I can get better detail in my paintings. I am currently doing some more research on it and hope to start experimenting with that soon.
Oil on canvas
I wanted to give water-based oil paint a try, so I picked up and trialled black and white paint. As we had the dogs out by a lake one morning I snapped a photo of the sun shining on the lake, and the result of that photo was the painting I call Minnesota Morning. This was fun to do because I took the photograph of this location myself whereas in the past I would use someone else’s photos. I also felt a real sense of achievement because, of all the paintings I have done, this was the first using just black and white paint. My husband loved this one so much it is now hanging in his work office.
To commission a painting or purchase one of the paintings listed, please contact Julie’s Art via telephone at 641-390-1738 (Minnesota, US) or via her Facebook art page http://www.facebook.com/JulieImusart
Article written by Andrew Mashigo, for MaMoMi