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Art & Life with Julie Swinton-Fisher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Swinton-Fisher.

Julie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
As a child, I enjoyed being creative, whether it was drawing, wood carving, sewing, or jewelry making. I began taking oil painting instruction in my early twenties after a co-worker in a law office saw me doodling. My co-worker suggested I attend an oil painting class with her. I went to class and discovered that I absolutely loved to paint. I lived in Michigan at the time, was working, raising a family, and so I had very little time to paint. After moving to Arizona in 1996, I began exhibiting work in local shows and teaching home-schooled Christian children to paint.

I tend to paint from life’s experiences and places I have traveled. Where ever I am, whether it is out hiking in the desert, fishing on the lakes or just riding my bicycle around my neighborhood, my camera is always with me. I use nature as my subject. We have beautiful sunsets almost every night in Arizona. I am surrounded by mountains which are gorgeous by themselves, or even better with the sun setting on them or clouds hovering over them with rain about to pour out. We are also blessed with flowering cactus and plants year round. I take photographs of all of this wonderful nature to draw upon as reference material for use in my paintings.

Once back in my studio, I search through my photographs until one speaks to me. I get out a sketch pad to build the composition, or I just start painting on my canvas. I sometimes under paint with acrylics and then apply oils over the acrylic. I use glazing techniques, painting in thin layers until I am satisfied with the results. I strive to evoke an emotional feeling for the viewer, one that is calming or reminds them of a place they have been.

I like to paint in series, so if I am working on a flower composition, I will paint a few more flower paintings either with similar flowers or colors. Once I complete a series, it is back to looking through my photographs for the next subject to paint.

I have been teaching weekly for the past three years with Michael’s. I am a lead team member of an art ministry at our church. I participate in juried shows in Arizona and have my work in local galleries. Southwest Art Magazine contacted me and asked me to participate in their Botanical exhibit. Many collectors have said that my flowers come to life and seem to come right off the canvas. I truly enjoy painting flowers, and the paint just seems to magically flow from my brush to the canvas.

I continue to evolve as an artist by watching other artists, taking classes, and experimenting with other mediums and styles. You can view my paintings by going to my website, which is “JulieFisherFineArt.artspan.com” or contact me at “ilive2paint@cox.net”.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I have used watercolor, acrylic, and oils to paint. My favorite is oils. I love the smoothness, glossy sheen, ease of blending, and the fact that the colors stay true whether wet or dry. I teach acrylics but would like to teach oil painting too. My style is realism, with a painterly feel to it. I paint many layers of thin paint, using blending and glazing until I am happy with the results. Many times I start a painting with acrylic paints and then paint oils on top of the acrylic. This process allows me to paint faster, as I can lay in the entire painting, and it will be dry in minutes. Once I begin with the oils, I must let it dry between applications.

My work has always been inspired by nature, whether I was living in the Midwest painting deer, lakes and flowers native to the area or living in Arizona where I paint spectacular sunsets, mountains, and desert flowers. I also love to paint underwater scenes as a result of several trips to Hawaii. I fell in love with the sea turtles, dolphins, the ocean and sunsets there. I also have a love for animals, so I also paint animals. Recently, I have begun to paint spiritual art with meanings. I am working on a painting to describe the difference of being a normal student graduating from high school vs. a handicapped, special needs student, and the course their lives will take.

In my nature and animal paintings, I try to capture an emotional feeling. I hope that my paintings bring back a fond memory, a special place, or just a feeling deep inside of the viewer. I wish more people would realizing how these paintings can change a house into a home. The paintings last, they bring such beauty, and the viewers will get a lot of satisfaction from their purchase. In this day and time, too many people buy disposable art, hang it to match their décor, and discard it when they are finished viewing it. A painting says a lot about who you are and what you love. It is hoped that my paintings will enrich someone’s life, as well as the lives of those that visit them.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I am in a wonderful group, Call to Art. It is an art ministry and a community of like-minded people. I would suggest that every artist find others that they can get together to paint with, bounce ideas off of, critique one another’s work. Our group works on community projects as well as individual projects. We have a show at least once a year to exhibit our work.

Taking classes to learn new mediums or just a different style will also bring you together with others who love to paint as much as you do. Friendships form and you get out of your studio for coffee, lunch, dinner or to paint!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
As I am working on a painting, I post a picture of my progress on Instagram and Facebook (Julie Fisher Fine Art). I also have a website, “JulieFisherFineArt.artspan.com.”

I often exhibit art at the Avondale city hall, Avondale library, Goodyear library and H Q gallery in Surprise. The gallery is not a permanent installation, but rather they have calls for art, and a jury decides what pieces make it in. I usually always have at least one painting selected for each show.

I hope to gain more gallery representation once I get my last child finished with school. I feel I will have more time to go out and visit galleries, make connections, and follow up on applications.

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