About the Artist

For years, Julie has been fascinated by the color, shape, and texture of Xanthoria parietina. The bright yellow-orange lichen that cling to the grey rocks along Minnesota’s North Shore and the East and West Coasts are, to Julie, some of the most beautiful. For her project, Julie sought to learn more about these amazing organisms and to create  abstract paintings and install them in the Kolman & Reeb Project Space as an exhibition. In addition to the paintings, Julie envisions this exhibit as an opportunity to introduce the viewer to some basic lichen biology as well as an introduction to the encaustic process.

The motivation for Artistic Lichens came to Julie while she was attending an encaustic conference on Cape Cod. “I’d walk out onto a nearby seawall, which was comprised of gray boulders encrusted with bright, yellow-orange lichens, Xanthoria parientina,” she recalls. “I couldn’t stop looking at them. I knew I had to create a new body of work inspired by those beautiful lichens.”

The Kolman & Reeb Gallery Project Space Grant made it possible for Julie to paint 51 abstract encaustic artworks of different sizes: “A whole gallery of paintings that celebrates these fascinating organisms,” she says. “Even though I’ve done a lot of research on lichens the paintings are not scientifically accurate. They’re not biological studies. They’re abstracted interpretations.” Encaustic, or beeswax, she adds, “has a wonderful malleability that adds multi-dimensionality to the paintings. The series has allowed me to explore new and unusual methods to achieve the colors, textures, and shapes I’ve appreciated for so long.”

Julie concludes the Project Space Grant has “opened a pathway for me to explore the idea of abstracting nature. I see something every day that catches my eye, a color combination, a play of light and shadow, an unusual plant. Through this grant, and the making of this work, I’m now comfortable with the idea of abstracting those visual surprises. I hope visitors to the gallery delight in what I’ve achieved.”

With a degree in education, Julie taught professionally in the classroom and was a corporate training administrator in Dallas, Texas, before following her passion for art and painting. A self-taught artist, Julie is a Core Teaching Artist for R&F Handmade Paints. Julie has taught at the International Encaustic Conference held annually in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and she continues to teach workshops in her studio and across the country. Julie’s work appears in numerous galleries and in private collections throughout the United States.