Emerging Artists | Julie Davis

Painted with love

Julie Davis, The Off-Season, oil, 9 x 12.

Julie Davis, The Off-Season, oil, 9 x 12.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Texas native Julie Davis recalls looking out at the vast skies and western landscapes around her as a child and feeling very small, but not in a trivial or irrelevant way. In fact, she felt like she was a part of it all. “Knowing that it was all by design has always seemed inspiring and magical,” says the plein-air artist. “I’m very reverent when I paint outside.”

When she first started painting 10 years ago, Davis had already cultivated interests in photography and drawing. She had also earned degrees in education and law, though she never embarked on a career in those fields. As the dedicated mother of three daughters, she made herself available as often as possible for them, and she practiced her black-and-white photography skills by snapping pictures of them. By the time she signed up for her first lessons in oil painting in 2007, she had developed a strong eye for value and composition.

Today, on her canvases, the Austin artist brings touches of glory to humble landscapes and tumbledown structures around central and western Texas, celebrating everything from an old feed mill in Marfa to a shuttered Waco storefront. “I find myself driving by them, wondering what a building used to be, why it was closed down, and what it will be next,” says Davis. From the very start, the artist took careful notice of trees, too. “I knew that if I didn’t tackle them right away, I’d never be a landscape painter, because they’re everywhere here,” she says. “I love how lyrical you can be with them with your brushwork. They’re all individual, like figures within the landscape.”

This fall Davis’ work appears in the American Women Artists’ national juried exhibition. She judges the Kerrville Outdoor Painters’ Event in October and returns in November to teach her first painting workshop there. That feels affirming, says Davis. “I definitely have my goals,” she adds. “In the last year and a half, I’ve felt permission to be in the studio more, and I feel really good about that. Plein-air painting is my first love; it’s what brings everything I have together—drawing skills, photography, my love of nature—but in the studio, I can slow down, really think about what I’m doing, be more academic, and refine my skills.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Davis Gallery, Austin, TX, and www.juliedavisstudio.com.

This story was featured in the September 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  September 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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