California would seem to be a perfect place for an artist. The climate is 'kind' and offers almost unlimited sunlight. A perfect setting to work on art projects?
Julia has kindly agreed to be interviewed so let's start with a little information about Julia Hanna, the person.
Julia please tell me a little about your art background?
I have been painting and drawing on my own since I was small, and, besides the art courses I took in high school, and two in college, I really do not have any formal training. My degrees are in history and education, but I have always had an interest in painting and drawing on my own.
You are based in California. Is the light and climate more conducive to painting and drawing?
California is the ideal place to live if you want to sketch or paint outside, but I have to admit that painting/drawing in nature is not my preference. I might start off the the idea of a drawing on a nature walk, but I always take photographs so I can work on it more later.
Has your work been exhibited, if so where?
When I was in high school my artwork was featured in the high school administration office, and only some of the best compositions from our art classes were placed there. I was entered into a competition for that drawing, but unfortunately I did not win. It still was an honor at the time to be considered for that competition.
Do you work from a studio?
I actually draw and work on paintings in the living room of my house, or outside on the patio. It would be great to have my own studio, but unfortunately I do not have enough space for that.
Has the Internet helped your art projects or hindered them?
The Internet has helped me to share my art projects with a wider audience and sell prints of my artwork, but perhaps it has hindered me in that I have never considered displaying my art at an actual gallery. Since I am more of an introverted person, I actually enjoy that the new technology has allowed us to have online galleries without going out and trying to get in with a local gallery, which often requires connections. I have known a few very talented artists who were rejected by local art galleries, so for me this is all subjective.
Of course I have seen some beautiful artwork hung in museums and galleries, so it is great to aspire to that. For me artwork is more about telling my own story, and in our modern world with computers, an artist is no longer obligated to do that with a brick-and-mortar gallery. Just look at Wayne Tully, he is a very talented artist with a giant YouTube following, and he probably sells more artwork than many people hanging in galleries.
Do you prefer craft projects to solely art based ones?
I like both, but in different ways. Art projects are more demanding and often require several days to finish, whereas a craft project can be simple, and done on the spur of the moment. I also enjoy writing articles on art projects, and suggesting more crafting ones on my column as the national budget crafting examiner.
Do you accept commissions?
If my style appeals to anyone, I am always open to doing commissions. I have several websites where my art is displayed, and my contact information is on those sites.
What has been your most successful art project
One of my most successful compositions is perhaps a colored pencil drawing I did of Mount Baldy, as seen from the San Bernardino Mountains. I sell a print of this drawing on my Zazzle shop, and several people around the world have purchased it. Actually, I have sold more prints of my artwork in Australia than in the US, so perhaps my art style appeals to those in other places more than here in America. I know I like to read fiction and look at artwork from other places than where I am from, so I think that might be part of the reason as well.
My favorite composition is of Buster because he was a dog that was very special to me, and I am glad I was able to memorialize him with a colored pencil rendering.
Where can readers find your online work?
The main site where I write about my art projects is Sweetbearies
Art Tips. I named this site after my online shop, which is Bearie23 on Zazzle. Both of these names were inspired by encounters we had with bears digging in our trash throughout the years, and an encounter I had with a bear, when I brazenly went running alone in the national forest, so this was just the first name that came to mind when I was creating a website. At this time I no longer live in the San Bernardino Mountains, but it continues to have a major influence on my thoughts and art because I live nearby, plus I still like to go up and photograph the mountains. Also, I like to go by the pen-name Sweetbearies on Twitter and several other websites, so I just thought it would be a unique name for my website.
What plans do you have for the future?
At the moment I am striving to edit my novel so I can publish it, and I would like to continue working on my website to make improvement over time.
Is your heart's desire to be a full-time artist?
I will never be a full-time artist because I have other interests, such as writing. In college I nearly double majored in history and art, but I decided against the latter after a couple of odd experiences in art courses.
My high school art teacher was a very talented woman who had her work displayed in many art galleries, and she had encouraged me to think about pursuing an art degree. However, when I got to college it was discouraging to have an art teacher who complained about just being there for the money, and one who threatened to pawn my watch that I accidentally left behind after my painting class.
One of them used the art class to flirt with a pregnant student, and I started feeling like art classes were not all that. So I stopped art courses, and only drew and painted for fun after that. My experiences taught me an art degree is not necessary to pursue or express yourself via art, and that is something I try to convey every week in my examiner column
What are you currently working on?
Here is the drawing that I am currently working on. It is a sketch of the canyon looking down towards Hesperia. My plan lately has been to draw a part of the world no one really has before, which is the backside of the San Bernardino Mountains. Perhaps other people have, but I have never seen other drawings of landmarks in our area, such as the large mountains with boulders that we call the Pinnacles.