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Julia Ralston

Painting out of doors and in the studio, Julia’s work expresses movement and color using large, loose brushstrokes and a variety of application methods. A sense of depth links the viewer and artist to a particular place without providing every detail, leaving plenty of room for conversation. Over the last 15 years her work has been included in numerous juried shows throughout the Carolinas, including Carolinas Got Art! in Charlotte, NC, and the North Carolina Artist Exhibition in Raleigh, NC. One of her paintings was recently chosen for the set of the TV series “Reckless”, filmed in Charleston, SC. Her work hangs in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the US. She maintains a summer studio in the North Carolina mountains and winters in the South Carolina Lowcountry. If she’s not in the studio, you can usually find her out in the field painting directly from life ~”alla prima”~ or gathering material for new work.

Artist’s Statement

Painting and drawing the natural world around me have long been a way to connect my love of the outdoors with my love of creating beautiful works of art. I hike regularly all over the wooded hills and valleys near my home, often with a sketchbook, paying attention to the birds and native plants in our area as well as to the contours and colors of the landscape. In the studio, I enjoy playing color games such as trying out different palette combinations, contrasting saturated and muted color, and establishing rhythms. I work from the landscape and from my imagination.

I enjoy the physicality of getting something down fast on paper or canvas, so after the initial prep, I work quickly to record the essence of the image. As the painting develops, I slow down and work in stages until I’m satisfied with the result, usually working on several paintings at a time in the studio. My alla prima (outdoor) work is mostly about perceptual painting and color nuance, painting quickly enough to finish in one session.

I believe that gazing at beauty reaches into the deepest parts of our soul and holds healing power for both artist and viewer. Painting, drawing—and even pausing to look at beautiful work—can be a form of extended observation, like meditation and prayer; a chance to breath and an excuse to slow down and appreciate our surroundings and the present moment.