Featured Artist 2016: Julia Renault
Published: 23 May 2016
This year painter Julia Renault will be opening her Art Studio at Communicare, St Brelade to the public to come and visit for her Open Studios in June. Holly Smith captured Julia in action at her studio and Julia spoke to us about the Italian and Dutch Masters who've inspired her work, what keeps her determined to be constantly creative, and how visitors to her studio this year will be in for a 'surprise':
"How would you describe yourself as an Artist?
I am a painter who draws to explore ideas visually and by way of relaxation. I teach classes at my studio for three half days a week and the rest of my time is spent making my own art. Even when I am walking Jersey’s lanes, shopping for fruit, veg and flowers, doing voluntary work, researching my art history talks and even on holiday, ideas keep coming. I am an artist 24/7 even when I am nowhere near my studio. Art is my way of communicating just as writing is the way a novelist communicates ideas.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before?
Yes, but this is the first time I will have a large space and be able to show a lot of my recent work.
How did you first get into Art?
I had been drawing and painting on a daily basis since I was very young. I was spotted at the age of eleven by my secondary school art teacher, himself a talented, exhibiting artist. By age sixteen I was taking life drawing classes through adult education and at eighteen went to university to do a BA in Art and a teaching qualification. I think it is so important to pass it on, and not keep art to your self.
Who is your creative inspiration?
I honesty like a wide range of art! I look to Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi for their handling of light and portrayal of the human figure. I am in awe of Rembrandt’s portraits and his knowledge of tone. I like Dutch art from the cool pure light of a Vermeer to the floral still lifes of the Dutch Golden Age. I get excited about the work of contemporary artists like the duo Elmgreen and Dragset, and I admire the continued work of senior British greats David Hockney and Peter Blake. I use traditional Dutch oil paints and the latest hi-tech American acrylic paints which probably reflects my acknowledged debt to the great artists of the past, and the need to make art that is for now and the future.
Why should we visit your Studio?
This will be the biggest showing of my pictures to date because I have a large room and space to show the paintings I have been working on, and those that are normally in storage. There is much made about unusual buildings for the Skipton weekends, but please give a modernist community building a chance. I have my permanent studio at Communicare, but usually in a smaller room. You may find treasure within, and at the very least a warm welcome and information about the art education opportunities I offer to all ages including art history for adults.
What have you been doing so far in preparation for this year’s Open Studios?
I have been following my usual routine of appointments with people being painted, private art classes after school for youngsters with afternoons and evening for adults, and grabbing my times of solitary studio time. I love the peacefulness of my studio and use the process of making art as thinking time. I keep a sketchbook of my constant flow of ideas. People catch my optimism!
What can we expect from you from this year’s Open Studios?
More art and better art. Never lacking inspiration, and determined to take my art to a new level, I have sought advice and regularly engage with other artists. If you haven’t seen my work in the last two years, you should be prepared for a surprise. My studio is the place to be if you like figurative art (not abstract). The Skipton weekend is an opportunity to see art that will make you think and lift your spirit.
Describe Jersey’s creative scene in 5 words…
Watch out, don’t underestimate it!"
We can't wait to see what the surprise is that Julia has got up her sleeve for this year's Open Studios. We've heard a little rumour that there might also be cake too for lucky visitors! All the more reason to head to Communicare during the Open Studios west weekend, Saturday 25th + Sunday 26th June, 10:00AM - 5:00 PM. Please visit Julia's artist profile page for links to her website as well as her contact details for enquiring about workshops and commissions.
Photos courtesy of Holly Smith Commercial Photography.