Speaker 1 (00:00):
The business aspect for me is as creative and fun as the actual creating,
Speaker 2 (00:08):
This is the Bold Artist Podcast,
Speaker 3 (00:13):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:22):
Welcome. And let's get started with today's episode. Today's show is a continuation of last week's episode. So, if you missed it, be sure to check out last week. You have created yourself this beautiful full process, and it sounds so formulated, but when you were creating your process, did you actually sit down and think about it or, you know, did you ever consider this is the technique that I employ -- at the time? Or did it just all come to you in various stages and become your process?
Speaker 1 (00:59):
It, it it's the latter. It came to me in various stages. Like I said, when I painted that Autumn Reaching, um, it, there was a few things that happened there. I'm like, oh, this is what paint does. And, and it was just, there are times that I'll paint, paint something, and literally be like, look at what the paint did. And I, I know I did it, but I'm like, look what the did. And, um, so it really has been a learning about what I like to do my own strokes and yeah, the style. And the thing is, though, is I think over time I had to plan to try some new things to not get stuck in a formulaic rut. So, even now there are things that happen that, um, recently I have found that I like to draw outlines in my water. And, um, so if it's a little wave or a little ripple, I tend to circle it. And that's kind of a new thing that I'm really enjoying. So, there's always constantly a little bit of evolution. And I force myself sometimes, um, to pick up different sized brushes. I tend to work with two or three sizes, but there are times I'm like, no, I'm gonna go in and try... I cannot work with a, um, a knife. I've never been able to do that, but I I'll get a big brush and try to employ something, something a little different. So, I'm still always trying to bring something new in.
Speaker 2 (02:29):
I love how you worded that. Julia, you said I plan to try new things.
Speaker 1 (02:34):
Speaker 2 (02:35):
I love that because it's both, it's, it's, uh, that this, the strategy of letting go, the strategy of ex of exploring. I love that. Um, so can you share with us a little more about your approach to color? So, you shared how colorful you are and, and how you use your brushes and the brush strokes, but do you, do you spend some time looking at values and considering, you know, where you want your darks, where you want your lights, uh, do you do that, or do, do you just kind of let the magic happen as you go?
Speaker 1 (03:13):
Well, I think it's a little bit of both. I think it's like riding a bike, you know what you're doing? So, after this amount of time, I know what I'm doing, but I do start with my darker values first. So I'll sketch out. I always start my canvas on red. Um, I paint my canvases red, I chalk in, and then I kind of ink in with a, a burgundy paint, my, my composition, and then I'll start with my, my dark greens and torquises and, and build to the light. So, it's always dark to light. And I don't know if I think about it too much while I'm doing, but I do know that I can't just paint, paint, paint, paint, paint. I always like three or three strokes, step back.Three, you know? So, so it's something that I'm observing while I'm doing it. And then I never varnish a painting the same day that I think I'm finished. I have to come back the next day, get a fresh eye, see if I need a little more light here. I do think about the principles of design. I think about where the light is coming from. Um, shadows, spheres, things like that in values, but I don't, um, lay out my palette and do like a gray tones or, or things like that. So, I've got lots of color all over my palette and I just, I just go for it.
Speaker 2 (04:32):
Now, those who are listening on audio today, won't see what I'm seeing behind Julia, but there is a little red canvas, which I'm guessing is the start of something. Since you said you start with red canvas, are you able to give us a sneak peek of what you plan for the canvas behind you? Julia?
Speaker 1 (04:49):
Nope. It's just sitting there. It's just sitting there. So, often what I'll do is I'll have, um, my canvases in different shapes. So, I do squares rectangles and I'll paint them and I'll leave them around, and they're always in my peripheral eye. And then all of a sudden I'll be like, oh, this is what I wanna do.
Speaker 2 (05:10):
So, it's like, it speaks to you tells you.
Speaker 1 (05:12):
Speaker 2 (05:12):
What it wants to become.
Speaker 1 (05:14):
Speaker 2 (05:14):
Speaker 1 (05:14):
And that's a 12 by 12 canvas, and I do so many square foot shows a year. So, I'm, I'm constantly painting those anyway. And they are like little, um, I can grab them off my wall here. Um, they are like little studies.
Speaker 2 (05:30):
Can you describe that for our audio listeners?
Speaker 1 (05:33):
Yeah. So, so if you're, if you're wa if you're listening by audio, I've got a 12 by 12 that I have painted red, and then I have color blocked. If, if you were in person, you'd see that there are no crisp edges. It's a little even muddy in places. And my next stage will simply be to crisp it up, to brighten it up, to bring the highlights, and you know, it'll, it'll be done.
Speaker 2 (05:59):
And Julia is showing trees. It's, it's like a little, uh, island of trees.
Speaker 1 (06:05):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm sorry.
Speaker 1 (06:07):
There's trees. So in that, in the painting, I would've started first with my island.
Speaker 2 (06:13):
Speaker 1 (06:13):
The darkest tree there, and then the, the light and the lakes and the, the background all comes after I have painted the island.
Speaker 2 (06:23):
And it's like a cluster of trees, colorful. There's a red one in there with some green, and then the sky is almost sunset and
Speaker 1 (06:31):
Speaker 2 (06:31):
A lot of movement.
Speaker 1 (06:33):
Sunset. Sunset ends up in my, in my, uh, my paintings all the time.
Speaker 2 (06:40):
So, being a landscape painter, does it make you go out and search for your own landscape reference photos? Are you always looking for new landscapes to paint? Or do you imagine them and make them up?
Speaker 1 (06:54):
Well, sometimes I imagine them, but that's only when I'm, I'm I I'm trying to get work done for a specific purpose and I need to get, say some little 12 by 12 islands done, because again, I call them grocery money paintings. I know I will sell them. And, and that they're, they're a beloved image of mine. So, I know that they will always sell. So. That is part of the, a plan for attack for paintings. But, um, I am the worst passenger. My husband now knows that if I say, stop the car, turn around, go back that, um, we have to do that. And now he has actually started stopping the car and saying, I saw water running under that. Um, that bridge, let's go see if that's a creek. And, uh, we did that recently and he, we found the most magical place. And I take a million photos, and then I come home, and I get them all printed out, and I have drawers full of images. And then there are days where I'm like, okay, I finished all these things. Let's get a cup of coffee. I sit in front of those drawers and I just go through the images. And then I, I find a piece that will inspire me. And I've tried to, I have three drawers full of images, and I try to keep, you know, my mountains together, my an you know, so that I'm not completely mixed up all the time, but I do use my reference, um, strategically,
Speaker 2 (08:18):
Do you find it's beneficial to, to print them and have them in drawers rather than digital format?
Speaker 1 (08:23):
Oh yeah. Yeah. A digital format drives me nuts. But I eventually, um, mess up my, my prints. So, then I have to print them again, 'cuz I get paint or water on 'em.
Speaker 2 (08:34):
So. You still have to keep those digital formats organized somehow.
Speaker 1 (08:38):
Speaker 2 (08:38):
Which is the hard, the hard thing for, for us artists. And I find, uh, I was smiling, uh, had a big smile on my face while you're telling about you and your husband pulling over on the side of the road, because that's very much a glimpse into my life. I love photography, as well. So, my husband has pulled over so many times in countless situations for me, not just to take the landscape photos, but often I'll see a flower, or some, some blossom that I need to jump out and, and take photos of. And, and then, usually he'll take funny photos of me just to entertain himself. So, there I am, you know, with the camera, but then what happens is that they often get lost like in the shuffle digitally, and I'll remember it and have to take a long time to find it. So, I'm trying to get better at that. So, do you have any tips for how you keep track of all these?
Speaker 1 (09:30):
Well, I do. I do use, um, uh, like, I think it's One Drive or the Cloud or something. And I, and I, because, um, technology is so great, even though I am kind of bad at it. I can highlight those pictures and immediately put them in a reference file on One Drive, which cleans up my phone. And then every once in a while I will go back into the One Drive and just go through the reference and then remember, oh, I forgot about, you know, that. Or, oh yeah, I knew there was a reason I photographed that and um, it just springboard. So, for example, um, I just got into a new gallery in Kelowna, and they wanted -- not specific things, 'cuz they're not, they don't try to direct their clientele -- but I asked them, what are your hot potatoes? What are the things that you sell the most?
Speaker 1 (10:26):
And, and they said, obviously things, you know, around BC, the Okanagan. And so I sat down, here's one of those days, with my coffee and my drawer. And I pulled out, 'cuz my son lives in Kelowna, and he is a hiker. So, we are always exhausted when we come home, 'cuz we've had, we've done a million hikes and we've gone with the kids and, but, but it also gives, and he knows, I like to take photos. So, he's, he's always got it in his mind, gotta bring mom here. And um, so I take a million photos. So I went through my drawers and pulled out anything that was inspirational. Not just, oh, I've gotta paint the Okanagan, here's the lake. I still needed to be inspired. So, I pulled out all the, and I made a big pile and then I went through that pile and, and eliminated and got down. And what was really interesting Marijanel, is I sent them 10 images. Um, four of them were the new images that I painted specifically with them in mind, but I didn't tell them which ones were the ones. And they, and I told them, pick five out of the 10, and they picked the four that I painted for them and one extra. And, and I was like, okay, I think I, I, I pegged that one.
Speaker 2 (11:48):
Wow. I love hearing that inside peek into even just how you work with galleries and, and painting from the heart, what you, what you're passionate about, but also knowing that there is such a thing as hot potatoes out there. Because if you're in, if you're in the business as a painter, you have to have your, your finger on the pulse of what's selling. And that's so important. I've, I've found with, even in my own art practice, where as, um, a passionate, creative, I wanna paint what I wanna paint. Or, I wanna sculpt what I wanna sculpt. But I often have to stop and consider if I want to sell it, what's, what's selling out there.
Speaker 1 (12:33):
Well, you have to decide what kind of artist are you? Are you the kind that gets grants and puts your work in public galleries where people come and observe and are fascinated, but don't buy? Or are you the type of, uh, artist that are in more private gallery and, and selling art is your income. So, as romantic as it sounds that artists just passionately paint what they like, they have to be aware of the market and how to be in it.
Speaker 2 (13:09):
That is such good advice. Do you find that there are questions that artists regularly ask you or want to know from you, Julia, that you would, um, have a word of encouragement or a, a further word of advice for artists today?
Speaker 1 (13:27):
Well, the, the only thing I can think of, and maybe we'll think of more things as we're talking, but they, um, Instagram and my social media, it makes it seem like I, I do a million things and that I'm always busy. And I am always busy. Um, and I do do a million things. But I quit at five. And I have my, my evenings and I quit when my grandkids show up, and I give my time myself, time to breathe. And there are times where I'm a little overwhelmed, and I just need to take two or three days of doing nothing. And I just wanna be encouraging that you need to take time to rest. So, I think people wanna know how I do it. And I do have a team. So, Square Foot Show, I have a team. I rely on professionals. I don't do my own photography for my own, um, documentation. I have a printer. I hire my daughter to ship. So, at this point, there's, I, my advice would be, um, if you can, 'cuz not everybody can, can afford to, but if you can get help and delegate some of the things so that you're not going crazy trying to manage it all.
Speaker 2 (14:44):
Yes. And I've also heard before to get help before you think you need help, because then you don't burn out and get the help, you still have your energy to train and uh, inspire your help because you've gotten the help before you think you need it.
Speaker 1 (15:01):
Absolutely. And um, it's scary for artists to spend money on things that they think that they can do themselves. Um, but I've always been a big one, even as a mom, um, I've always been a big one for not being overly busy. My kids were not the ones that went from hockey practice to dance practice, to this, you know, to the, we, we picked one thing. That's what they did. Generally, if we could get them all on the same team, that'd be great. Like we, I, I don't like being so busy, busy that I, I can't have down. That is not how I work.
Speaker 2 (15:41):
I hear ya. I hear ya. I was very similar raising our, our kids, as well. One thing. Choose your thing. And I liked them to carry out that commitment for at least the year.
Speaker 1 (15:51):
Speaker 2 (15:51):
So, we all knew what to expect that year. Yeah. There's a lot of...
Speaker 1 (15:55):
Speaker 2 (15:56):
A lot of wisdom in that. Of, of not getting ourselves too busy, burnt out and getting help before we think we need it. That's so wise, not just in all areas of life in general, but as an artist.
Speaker 1 (16:12):
Absolutely, and another thing is, um, recently I made a, a, you know, a Facebook post, and somebody said, I really like your liked your Facebook post. It was commentary on all the political things that were happening. And I was trying to be kind of neutral, but make a point. And they said, that was really a wise thing that you said. And I said, thank you. But I rely heavily on, I have a daughter who loves to research, and I said, I relied heavily on her. And she helped me make the post. And she helped me solidify some of my ideas. And I said, so I can't take all the credit. And she said to me and I, it was really great. She said, Hey, even presidents have people around them. They don't know everything. And if I could translate that into the art business is, take advice, work collaboratively with people, hire somebody to do the things that you can't do, because you just can't be a pro at everything.
Speaker 2 (17:12):
Hmm. Such good words.
Speaker 1 (17:15):
And it's wise. It's, it's wisdom, so that you don't get burnt out. 'Cuz if you don't do it well, and it messes with your brain, uh, that that's destructive.
Speaker 2 (17:30):
We've spoken and talked to you a lot about, um, business, and entrepreneurial things, and growing ourselves in, in just that whole, um, promotional side and business side of our, our art. Can we just talk for a quick minute before we close about some of the deeper heart matters of being an artist where there was this point where you discovered landscape and you had praise from other people and, and you also discovered things about yourself, how you're not a purist necessarily with the paint and, and your approach and, and techniques that you really discovered your own style. And what I admire about you is you really have stuck with it and developed it. Like, like you said, you plan to try new things. And you've really developed yourself. I do feel that a lot of our listeners and watchers, um, Julia, are in a development phase of who they are. They're really in that discovery mode. And at times discovering ourselves, and our style, and especially getting confident in it, can be discouraging. It can feel slow, and it, it can sometimes just make us think, what are we doing? Why are we doing this? Do you have something to speak into those kind of heart matters for our watchers and listeners today?
Speaker 1 (18:59):
Yeah. In fact, um, I was a little worried when you started talking, I'm like, what am I gonna say? You know about this. But it reminded me of when I was challenged to do a mission statement where, um... And I was like, mission statements are so lofty, and sometimes they're just full of, you know, things I don't understand. And I would read other people's mission statements, and just not... And then I would think, I was like, why am I painting? I don't know. Um, do I have to have a purpose in why I'm painting? And what is it that? And I was challenged, um, to do that mission statement, and I had to really evaluate. And honestly it was the best thing I did because I figured out that what I paint are moments in time that are comforting to my viewers and to me.
Speaker 1 (19:59):
So, I paint the, the, the, the time on the lake where I'm with my family. And that is when joy comes in. I paint when I'm in the forest and the light is cpming through. And it, there's just such peace. When I used to do the people, it was just the joy and the expression on their faces. So I, I realized that in my, in my mission statement. It's, I paint a moment in time that brings comfort, that people relate to, and they, that they remember in their hearts. And if people can figure out why they're painting... Um, I have a friend, uh, her name is Elizabeth Lennie, she's fantastic. She paints, um, a lot of water scenes, and her mission statement is one line. And she says, I paint the myth of summer. And I loved it because she, she pinpointed that so well, is in that she paints the myth of summer.
Speaker 1 (21:03):
We have all gone to the cottage with our kids for a week, unless we have the privilege of owning a cottage and go up there all summer. But it is that week, year after year that the kids remember for the rest of their lives. And it was seven days, not the whole summer, but the myth of summer is what she captures. And she was able to get her mission statement in a sentence. And that was encouraging to me, because I had to figure that out. And I figured out that, yeah, I was painting, I'm painting the memories that I wanna have. So, the moments in time. So if people can figure out what is attractive to them, what they're trying to do with their, um, mission statement and why they're painting, um, I think it'll give them a lot more freedom to explore it with confidence.
Speaker 2 (21:53):
So to me, that is just such a amazing challenge. And one that I just wanna put out there to our watchers and listeners, as Julia has so framed and reframed for us, why are you painting? What is the mission behind it? And can you capture it in one sentence? And so I just put that challenge out there to everybody. How about you make a mission statement and think of Julia Veenstra here today and this amazing talk that we have had here on the Bold Artist podcast and make your mission statement. Try to sum it up in one sentence, and ask yourself, why am I painting? And, you know, Julia, I, I strongly believe in knowing the whys. I've always been a question asker. I'm a curious person, um, which makes me perfect for being a podcast host because I get to ask a lot of questions. In my curiosity, I have learned to ask myself a lot of why's. Why are you doing this? What's your motive? What's behind it. And what do you hope from it? And so, all of those are wrapped up in the, why are we painting? And then answering that inside of our heart helps us to keep going forward when the going gets tough.
Speaker 1 (23:11):
Absolutely. Because you're gonna find if, if, if you're painting, I mean, I think we paint, we all paint 'cuz it's true. It's, it's something we have to do. If we can, if we can identify why we're doing it, uh, it it's, uh, I don't know, it's just so confirming.
Speaker 2 (23:32):
Absolutely. And we might not be able to put that into words. It might not be something that, that we can define in one sentence because the call, calling's so big.
Speaker 1 (23:42):
Well, you know... Yeah. Like when, when, when I first asked, when I was first challenged to do a mission statement, I was like, I don't know. I paint. And, and I felt like maybe, maybe I wasn't a real artist. Maybe I didn't have like this mission statement and desire. Maybe I was just a business person. I was painting just to make, make some money. And then I realized, no, that's, that, that's a side benefit that people liked my work and that I made money. But, um, when, when I realized that I was capturing those moments, it made me almost nostalgic for my own childhood. And it made me feel like I was giving something to my, to my viewers, and to my collectors.
Speaker 2 (24:25):
And you are.
Speaker 1 (24:26):
New Speaker (24:27):
You give so much. You have made the world a more beautiful place, not just in your amazing art and style, Julia, but in who you are. And I knew that the first day I met you in your booth in Art Vancouver all of those years ago. And so full circle, all those, all these years, we are here in this conversation. And I wanna thank you very much for joining me here today on the Bold Artist podcast,
Speaker 1 (24:53):
You are very welcome. It was my privilege.
Speaker 2 (24:56):
Until next time, everyone, Julia, and I hope that you keep creating. You know, where you can find us on Instagram at Bold Artist podcast. In the show notes, you'll see that we have all of Julia's links right there for you. Check it out and give Julia a follow. And until next time, keep creating.