Can Serrat Artist Residency

Biography:

Since moving to Kelowna in 2002, Julia Trops has taught drawing, trained life drawing models, and was the sole founding organizer of the weekly Life Drawing sessions at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. These sessions began the development of the non profit life drawing group, incorporated two years later in 2005 as Livessence Society of Figurative Artists and Models. Heavily involved in the arts community, a Kelowna Museums board director for the past seven years, a founder of Okanagan Erotic Art Show, co-founder of Okanagan Arts Awards (as part of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan). Encouraging other artists to get their name in print, 2009 onwards, Julia has compiled the Okanagan Erotic Art Show Catalog and the Simplicity in Mind for Livessence. In 2011, Julia was shortlisted for the City of Kelowna’s Honour in the Arts.

Julia keeps pretty busy in her studio, having sold over 1000 works worldwide since 2004 and shows at Gallery Odin at Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort.

Julia Trops at Can Serrat
photo by Nancy Hendrickson

Statement: I came to Can Serrat without any constraints or preconceived ideas about the direction my work would take. I was looking forward to letting inspiration guide the expression. Montserrat became the primary source of ideas pertaining to place and identity.

Montserrat's Village Acrylic Painting on canvas, 80x40 Julia Trops

The mountain is ever changing. Standing tall in the landscape, unashamedly evolving, dissolving, renewing and creating, it is made of disparate materials, conglomerate rocks. It is a refuge and a home for many animals, including man. It reaches to the sky, tantalizing climbers. It´s a tower of babel, a place of many languages, all striving to be understood. Rock climbers and pilgrims alike find a sense of self within the landscape, one of the human spirit and the earth mother, an answer to “where am I, who am I,” and a sense of relevance to the world.

The colours, bold reds and blues are the same palette I am known for at home in Canada. Though until now my work has been dominated by the human form, here it is the naturally occurring figures in the mountain that inspire me. Having completed some works, and named them, it came as a surprise and yet not really a surprise, that the mountain peaks actually have names. There are “Monks”, “Angels”, and even “a Giant”.

Can Serrat artworks Julia Trops

My process is tactile. I paint with my hands, – I like the immediacy, the intimacy, the direct contact with paint, feeling it between my fingers, seeing each stroke on the canvas, shaping with light and colour. I layer colour upon colour, creating vibrations and relationships, some jarring and some in harmony, just like human interactions.

One day I was so full of the mountain, I had to recreate it in stones that I found along the path to Vinya Nova,(a beautiful restaurant snug at the base of the mountain). This piece is an assemblage of slate and quartzite mounted on tile from the nearby tile factory, which I also passed along the way. I called it Little Montserrat and is about 24 inches long by 8 inches high.

Little Montserrat Graphite and Slate mounted on Tile Julia Trops
Little Montserrat Graphite and Slate mounted on Tile

Like other mountain ranges, created from the clashing of tectonic plates, Montserrat symbolizes strength over adversity, the subconscious brought to the surface, the recognition of buried treasures, brought in to the warm friendship of the Catalan sun, shaped by the whipping criticism of the wind and the gentle pressing of falling rain.

For all the artwork from this residency, here is the album: https://plus.google.com/photos/117793035582351565246/albums/5868974012334970321

The journey continues.

Recent work 2012 – everything comes around

In 2005, those of you who are familiar with my work, I did some paintings on a young female Botswana girl named Gobona. This was pre-Existence in the Dream, where my palette changed to jewel tones. Two of the Gobona’s follow:

Recently, I went to Italy and loved every second of it. I met this young man just outside of the Duomo in Lecce. He was just so gorgeous, I could not help myself staring. Finally, yes, I did take a picture:

When I came back to Kelowna, I was going over a number of different pictures, and came across him … I was already doing pairs of females prior to departure (some of which I think I will paint over).  New now, from my works from Gobona, and my dancers, and the time in Italy with the earthy colours, and returning to most of this palette. Everything comes around:

Acrylic Painting 24x12 Julia Trops

Acrylic Painting 40x30 Julia Trops

I am enjoying the return to the earthy colours, it’s been a challenge to come back to, but it feels right. The limited palette I gave myself in Italy was definitely beneficial.

The last works in Otranto

These are the last works from Otranto.

The experience has been a very positive one. There will be a few changes when I get back to Canada. I feel much more confident, more assured, more in control and cognizant of my own abilities, in so many different ways.

These artworks are based on the birds that flew in the courtyard where I was staying, but they were hard to catch in a photo. They had a joy of life, of freedom, and they taught me so much.

Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops - now in the BAU collection
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops
Untitled Charcoal Pastel Acrylic Painting Julia Trops

One of the processes to a self portrait

I did a self portrait near the end of the residency. I was quite captivated by Andy Warhol’s Saint Apollinia, which was on display in the gallery of the Castello Aragonese.

Andy Warhol's Saint Apollinia Silkscreen print
Andy Warhol's Saint Apollinia Silkscreen print

I liked that image so much, that I did a grisaille with my minimal palette of white, titan buff, and earth tones in pastels, fixed with medium. This is a process I follow (doing a rendition close to the original) when I am going to change the image in to my own expression. Not always, of course, sometimes I just paint …. but this time I did:

Self Portrait after Andy Warhol's Saint Apollina
Self Portrait after Andy Warhol's Saint Apollina Minimal Palette

And the final expression with the same materials:

Self Portrait Acrylic Pastel Painting Julia Trops
Self Portrait Acrylic Pastel Painting Julia Trops

More on the artwork from Otranto

There are no titles for these works just yet. I do know they are responses to the environment, the people, the energies in Otranto and the surrounding area.

Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops Italy
Charcoal Graphite Drawing Painting Julia Trops

The most beneficial thing I did in Italy was give myself the permission to create works as they came, without judgement or contrived artifice. As both Lucio Pozzi and Gianni Sirch (the visiting critics) said, these are very honest and open.

The first full day in the studio

The next day was the first full morning in the studio. I had reviewed my project proposal, and was setting my supplies out to get ready to work. I was not really sure what exactly I was going to do. I decided that whatever it was, I was not going to judge it, as the journey is a path that is yet to be traveled.

With that in mind I started thinking about the Castello, the people, and girls I had seen playing in the small streets and the piazzas. Using the Castello as a metaphor for man’s construct, it became somewhat of a setting, a drama that seemed to be unfolding, as the girls walked through the Castello. There were mysteries to be uncovered, doors to be opened, rooms to be explored. There were times these were done together and then there were the heartbreaking times apart. But each survived, and is stronger for the experience.

acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters Julia Trops
On our way acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
It's all fun and games acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters in the adventure Julia Trops
Finding within acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing

These works were done over a period of a few days. The air is hot, but the studios were very cool and moist. The medium did not dry very fast so I worked on a few at the same time. It became increasingly clear to me, however, that what I was doing was not sufficient in terms of exploring this “place”. There was more than just the literal. There was more than just obvious. I was trying to get to the heart of the matter, to the centre of these vibrations, and the works I was doing, just did not seem to connect. They did on a superficial level, but they were not … meaty enough.

acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Naive acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Watchers acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
It's dark acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Beckoning acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing

I decided to just go with what I felt was right. I did a break of a few artworks to … not really severe the psychic connection to the previous works, but to signal to my subconscious that this was a separate set of works, a separate path, but still in the same direction.

Charcoal Graphite drawing painting Julia Trops
Sisters 2 Charcoal graphite drawing painting
Charcoal Graphite drawing painting Julia Trops
Sisters Charcoal Graphite drawing painting

Artist Interviews – challenging, for the artist and the interviewer

I was recently featured in an artist interview, and am going to be doing a series on other artists as well.

Apart from being valuable SEO tools and information, they help the interviewer and the interviewee consider their own work. And that is always invaluable!

Thank you to Miriam Schulman, also a figurative artist, for the interview and for opening this door for me.  I appreciate the vote of confidence, not only in my work, but knowing and understanding that I will try to help others, as she has done.

To read the interview Miriam has done, follow this link, it will open a new window.

Be sure to check out Miriam’s work available on Etsy, and her facebook page.

Miriam Schulman New York Artist

Barely there

Currently at Ex Nihilo – a charcoal, graphite and water drawing 50″x38″ framed to about 60″ x 48″…

Charcoal and Graphite drawing Abstract Art Female Nude
Charcoal and Graphite drawing Abstract Art Female Nude
Barely there
Whispering Mystery

Okanagan Arts Awards Visual Artist Showcase

I am on the Okanagan Arts Awards committee, working on getting the awards underway with fellow volunteer board members Sharon McCoubrey, Sharon Lancaster, Daneen Agecoutay, Angela Bonten, James Avery, Sarah Parsons and Janet Anderson.

One of my chief duties was to put together the Art Awards Sculpture competition, and now that the sculpture has been chosen, I help out with other activities. The next main activity I am involved in is the representation of the Visual Arts in Okanagan. This is called the Visual Artist Showcase, and is a slideshow presentation representing all the visual artists in the North South and Central Okanagan. Daneen Agecoutay is masterminding the slideshow based on the entries by the submitting Okanagan visual artists.

The first call I put out for the Okanagan Visual Arts Showcase resulted in nine visual artists responding. Nine? Yes, nine, from the entire Okanagan, North, South and Central. I am not sure why it is like pulling teeth to get these visual artists to respond, but it is. Maybe because there is no cost for entering their images? Maybe if we put a $10 charge on each image submitted, there would be more people submitting? I am not sure.

The goal is to have minimum 50 artists, and currently I think we are halfway there.

Some notes regarding the Okanagan Arts Awards Artist Showcase.

1. There is nothing online about the Visual Arts Showcase because we (the Arts Awards Committee) have no direct access to the website – this is why you see me posting this on my own blog and on my facebook page and the other various facebook pages such as The Okanagan Artists Group, and the Arts Council for the Central Okanagan.  The Okanagan Arts Awards is http://www.okanaganartsawards.com and you can go there to see info on the event itself, including nominations and sponsorships. The event itself will take place  Feb 23 2011 at KCT. Tickets are on sale NOW, available from SelectYourTickets at the RCA.

2. The Artists Showcase will be a slideshow presentation (hard to have art dancing on stage or singing) to represent the Visual Arts in the Okanagan. You do not need to be Arts Council members to be included. If you are interested in having your work included, please send two images to info@artsco.ca.

3. Please do not send me images or ask me to choose for you.

4. Please do not confuse this with the actual nomination process for an award – that you would ask friends to do for you, or they would think of it themselves. Nomination Plug: If you know someone who should receive an award (in whatever category!) Why not nominate them as their Christmas gift? Deadline Jan 15.

5. 2D and 3D are acceptable! just two images, so if 3D be creative and maybe include many sides in one image.

6. If you don’t know how to do the images, get someone to help you. Just make sure they are 2000 px wide. Web images will not do. Make sure they are clear! Blurry images will not be shown.

7. This would be a great Christmas gift for your loved one who is an artist – put a note in their stocking that you have done this for them! The gift of love and respect always brings joy and tears, right?

That’s pretty much all I can tell you about the Visual Arts Showcase – two images, good quality, art only, to Elke at info@artsco.ca. Questions? Post here, likely if you have them, others do too.
All the best!
Julia

ps – all sculptors, think about submitting a design for next year’s Call to Artists, it ALWAYS COMES OUT IN JUNE, WITH A DEADLINE OF AUGUST> lol.

Were you on drugs?

Ballet Kelowna #10 Charcoal Drawing on paper
Ballet Kelowna #10 Charcoal Drawing on paper

I have a sense of humour, I think I do, anyway, maybe that is funny in itself. Poking fun at myself or even my artwork is part of good mental health maintenance for me and when I talk about my work to others, I am not adverse to exploring what they see. It becomes a very fun exercise.

When I talk to others, I can pretty much tell if they are more interested in realism or could be more inclined to the abstract. I think it has to do with their way of thinking, categorizing, and/or organizing information. I think the more logical one is, the more he or she is inclined to realism… but on the other hand, maybe the more logical and the more left brained, the more the right can become engaged because it really isn’t used… hmmm. That doesn’t sound right, but perhaps when exposed to the abstract, it wakes up and is intrigued…..

Too good not to share…

A day or so ago, I shared some of my latest abstracted charcoal drawings from Ballet Kelowna with my physiotherapist and his office manager. Now M, the physiotherapist, is very science minded and logical, and when he said he saw monsters wearing glasses (above) and polar bears (below) in them, I was very pleasantly surprised, as I didn’t think he had any imagination at all! (just kidding M). He did ask me (in a fun way) if I was on drugs when I drew them – could be!! There is an entry in to an alternate world when I draw, time ceases and the in-between appears – apparently that is similar to drug induced euphoria. lol.

Thank you for looking and exploring M & M… it really is always a pleasure!

To see all the drawings in this session, please click here. This link will take you to my facebook page which has all the images.

Ballet Kelowna #22 Charcoal Drawing on paper
Ballet Kelowna #22 Charcoal Drawing on paper