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Rising Stars: Meet Julie Schumer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Schumer. 

Hi Julie, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started painting at age 4 or 5 and continued till high school. My parents stressed the importance of being able to earn a living and so discouraged me from pursuing art as a career. Instead, I became a lawyer and practiced appellate criminal defense for many years but I always felt something was missing. Over 20 years ago, as my children approached college age, I began to feel an overwhelming urge to paint again and right at that moment ran into an old friend, now my spouse, who intuited this, came over to my house one evening, handed me a piece of wood and some acrylic paints and commanded me to paint. I did and the floodgates opened. Several years later he and I moved to Santa Fe and began painting in earnest. Soon I was exhibiting and selling my work. I did not actually retire from being a lawyer until a few years ago and for many years I was doing both businesses. I worked all the time, either painting, marketing my work, or writing briefs. It was hard and took total dedication, perseverance, and persistence but was also a lot of fun. I now show my work, among other places, at a gallery located in Scottsdale and Tucson, Wilde Meyer Gallery. 

In 2014 I was asked to teach an expressive painting workshop in Texas. I had never taught a workshop before but the incredibly positive experience led me to become a workshop teacher as well. I started offering in-person workshops at my Santa Fe studio in 2015. Now, I teach abstract painting courses online, both on my own and with a partner located in Atlanta. We also offer an art business course. That one workshop in Texas opened up a whole new path for me. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The road has been anything but smooth. One issue was always having the feeling of never having enough time to be a good lawyer or good artist or properly develop my art business, not having good enough tech skills or knowledge of marketing to be a success. In the years before I quit the law, I was constantly moving from one task to the next trying to make myself a better artist and build my art business as well as attend to my family. It was exhausting. Another issue was being an older, female self-taught artist, leading to a lot of rejection from the art establishment. That was often hard to stomach. I was almost derailed for a couple of years when my spouse faced a challenging illness. Those are some of the main obstacles I faced. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I have been an abstract expressionist painter since I first held a paintbrush. Initially, I worked with a lot of color but have backed off of that in recent years. Currently, I am fixated mainly on an investigation of coming and going, appearing and disappearing lines and shapes as well as the creation of luminous depth through layering of marks made with various drawing tools alternating with acrylic paint, all in a completely intuitive way. I let my inner landscape guide the way. I add and subtract marks and paint which results in a highly complex piece with forms and lines appearing and disappearing simultaneously. Sometimes I use more color than other times depending upon my mood. The result is very elegant yet edgy, dynamic, and powerful as well as atmospheric, moody, and mysterious. These are the works that have built my reputation in recent years. I don’t try to endlessly repeat them but rather each stands on its own individual terms. I am the most proud of this body of work than of any previously. They are my most authentic works. 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I love watching movies about artists, the more off-beat the better. The last artist movie I watched, The Realms of the Unreal, was about an outsider artist, who lived a solitary life after a traumatic childhood and created a huge body of work both in the form of paintings and writings, unknown to anyone until after his death when his landlord discovered his huge body of work. These films always reinforce the idea of persistence and constant dedication to one’s craft over anything else. I use “room” apps to place my work in various contemporary settings so I can see how it looks and show potential collectors how a piece will look. I like the podcasts by Sergio Gomez, an art business expert based in Chicago. He always has helpful, practical advice. I read various marketing books to help me in my art business and also belong to various artist groups that provide support and community, which are essential to keep going. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
James Koskinas
Julie Schumer
Liz. Lopez

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