A CONVERSATION WITH JULIA POULTON

If you want bold, evocative contemporary art look no further than the work of artist, Julia Poulton. Working with oils, her paintings are dramatic yet calming. I am delighted to feature Julia on my blog this week; she’s an artist I’ve admired for a long time, discovering her via the little squares of Instagram. Her account is filled with her striking work and I love watching her behind-the-scenes videos. In this interview Julia talks about her artistic journey, including her time at art college as well as sharing some of her current favourite artists and her tips for choosing art for your own home. I whole-heartedly agree with Julia’s believe that art is all about finding an emotional connection. You don’t have to be able to explain why you love something, or provide a critique of the work; just find something you love, something you’re drawn to, something that evokes emotion. It’s as simple as that. And if you want to see the kind of art that I’m drawn to then look no further than Julia’s work in this blog post. It’s simply beautiful.

1/ PLEASE COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK FOR US

I am an abstract expressive oil painter with a passion for colour.  Working mainly on canvas, I paint intuitively, expressing my emotions as they unfold from one moment to the next. With a minimal yet often striking colour palette, I use bold and gestural brush marks to create rich textures and layers. I would describe my work as bold, colourful, calming and ethereal.  

2/ TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN ARTIST

I feel like I have always been an artist as I was preoccupied with drawing from a young age. For as long as I can remember I always wanted to go to ‘art college’ and be an artist, so I followed this path and eventually did a Fine Art Degree at university. It is perhaps not an unfamiliar story (among artists) to say that this was a mixed experience! The uncertainties of youth coupled with trying to figure out my artistic path were a recipe for vulnerability in the art college environment. Critique from tutors seemed biased towards their own subjective art preferences, or what was deemed ‘fashionable’. At the time I was becoming interested in landscape painting, which definitely wasn’t fashionable in the early 90’s! However, I was lucky enough to receive some invaluable support and tuition from the art technicians at the university so in the end I was able to navigate my way through uni, painting landscapes while learning quite a lot along the way!

Since then, whilst life has taken me on different paths, including various jobs and motherhood, I have always come back to painting and for the last decade it has become my career.

3/ WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I am inspired by many things from moody skies and dramatic landscapes, to a shaft of sunlight bouncing off the studio wall. As an intuitive painter, I am hugely inspired by the process itself – those exciting (often unexpected) moments that occur along the way, be it a particular mark, shape or texture. Colour is a big source of inspiration, whether it be in the studio, out in nature or admiring other artists’ work.  All these moments of inspiration are what drive me forwards and keep me excited about my painting practice.

4/ WHICH ARTISTS ARE YOU INSPIRED BY?

As a young artist I was inspired by many ‘known’ artists, such as Jean Dubuffet, Milton Avery and Georgia O’Keefe, to name but a few. In more recent times, with the advent of social media and the huge change in ways artists can now be visible to global audiences, I find I am inspired by many contemporary artists who I may follow or stumble across on Instagram. A few I currently love are Katy Brown, Deborah Moss and Billie Bourgeois.

5/ DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE TO WORK?

I’m very lucky that my husband built me a studio in the garden, which is my absolute favourite place to be! It’s a great space with lots of light.  I like to work big and often on a series of work, so it was important for me to have plenty of wall space and room to step back to view the work.  I don’t have a ‘typical’ day as such as there are always different things to be doing, such as admin/website stuff, so I try to go with the flow and paint when I have no other distractions!

6/ DO YOU EVER SUFFER FROM “CREATIVE BLOCK” AND, IF SO, HOW DO YOU TEND TO DEAL WITH IT?

I don’t feel I suffer from creative block as such, but more the ‘ebb and flow’ of the creative process, which for me means there will be days when I’m not feeling it, and decide to leave it and go back another day… or days when I’m painting for hours, but I’m not happy with the way it’s going – this can be frustrating, but I have learnt over time that it’s all part of the process, in fact it is an essential part of the process. I have many paintings I love that have evolved through numerous layers of paint, pleasure, frustration, inactivity, and more, before they get to their final happy selves!    

 7/ IS THERE A PIECE OF ART YOU’VE CREATED WHICH YOU’RE PARTICULARLY FOND, OR PROUD, OF?

It’s hard to pick out one painting, as my work has changed and developed over time and I always tend to favour my most recent work! I was particularly proud of a recent series of paintings named the Midnight Collection. With a slightly darker palette and suggestion of night-time, these paintings evoke an almost dreamlike and ethereal quality for me. I particularly love ‘Midnight Serenade’ – the rich darkness, complimented by the warm colours and details that draw the eye in.

8/ DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE CHOOSING ARTWORK FOR THEIR OWN HOMES?

Choosing artwork is a very personal thing and whilst it can be important to find the style and colours that suit your interior, I believe it’s essential to feel an emotional connection with an artwork. You may love the colours, the mood, it may remind you of a special place or memory. Or you may just feel ‘drawn’ to a painting without consciously knowing why.  Either way, it is something you will have in your personal space and see every day, so it’s important you love it!

9/ WHERE CAN WE SEE, AND BUY, YOUR WORK?

My work is available to buy direct from me, via my website, or studio visits by appointment.  I am also represented by a selection of UK galleries and regularly have work available through them. Instagram is my main platform for sharing my process and new work, so I’m happy to receive enquiries about artwork seen there. It may be available even if it’s not on my website yet.

10/ WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

After a little summer break, I’m ready to get back in the studio to start on a new series of paintings, which I’ll be launching on my website around November time. I am also excited to be working with a couple of new galleries soon, so I have lots to keep me busy over the next few weeks!

Website: www.juliapoulton.com

Instagram: @juliapoultonart