Julie J McGowan [NRA 2019]

First name:  Julie ;
Middle name:
  J ;
Last name:
McGowan ;

Member: Non-resident artist member ; 


From my very early childhood, I knew that I would be an artist.  I loved looking for beauty in my environment and translating it into drawings and paintings.  Particularly fascinating were faces which not only had interesting structure but were able to emote a depth of feelings.  My fascination with the Renaissance and passion for representing the personal experience led to my focus in high school and during my undergraduate years on portraiture and resulted in commissions and other sales which enabled me to partially pay for my undergraduate college education.

Rather than becoming a professional artist following graduation and determined to expand beyond portraiture, I attended graduate school in fine arts librarianship to give myself an opportunity to support my art while having a vocation that would enable me to research the work of painters and their art as a foundation for my own work.  This academic interest in art continued through the next forty years resulting in a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. cognate in art, although my primary career changed first to medical librarianship in academic medicine and eventually to medical informatics research and medical school administration in four different medical schools.

While my career did not allow time for oil painting, I took up photography as a creative outlet, including underwater photography, and was lucky to sell a number of my photos.  When I retired in July 2011, I moved back to the home we built in Vermont in 1992 and continued my interest in photography, exhibiting in juried photography exhibitions and selling prints at several craft shows.  At the same time, I began painting in acrylics, focusing on whimsical Vermont animals, in an attempt to “get my eye back.”  I was lucky that a number of gift shops and craft venues liked the work and sold prints of the small paintings.

In 2013, I began painting in oils again, concentrating on landscapes and still lifes.  I studied privately with Andrew Orr, an internationally respected realistic landscape painter, and took classes with several other well-known Vermont artists.  In 2014, my fascination with the Hudson River School of landscape painting grew and I began studying with several contemporary Hudson River School master artists including Erik Koeppel, Ken Salas, Lauren Sansaricq, and William Davis.  Their glazing methods are quite similar to the the methods used in the Renaissance and reminiscent to the earlier portraiture I had done.

In addition to blending my own medium, I use the same basic oil palette and techniques of the Nineteenth Century School, including a grisaille painted sketch followed by multiple layers of transparent color for both tonal and focal glazing.  The lengthy process enables the capture of infinite space and light emanating from within each painting; by adopting this, I am attempting to find the emotion evoked by the works of the Luminists painters, the second generation of the Hudson River genre, and to incorporate the mystical light that permeates their work into my own paintings.

Since returning to oils, I have been fortunate to have had my work accepted into every juried show I have entered and to have been selected as a designated artist in several Vermont galleries as well as having three one-person shows.  I have also received a number of honors including specific awards in juried shows, selection of work for calendars, and two fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center.

After several Publisher’s Invitational trips to wonderful locations including New Zealand, the Canadian Rockies, and the Adirondacks, I have been able to extend my landscape subjects beyond the Green Mountains.  In addition, I have challenged myself to explore painting in varying sizes, some larger and some meeting the strenuous requirements of the Association of Miniature Artists.  In my first foray into miniature art, I was priviledged to have every submitted painting accepted into the Annual Juried Show of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, DC and to win honorable mention in the Landscape painting category.  

My philosophy of art is simple.  Art should reflect the inner being of the artist.  It should communicate to the viewer through the visual sense but also though a shared connection that portrays the intuitive sublime, going beyond what is seen on the canvas or three-dimensionally in sculpture to affect and permeate the feelings of those who come in contact with the work.  In the Luminists, this connection was found in their unique experience with their external environment.  My goal in pursuing ways to extend my art is to find this connection and imbue my landscapes with the mysticism that is so much part of the environment and my world.




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Record birth date:
December 23, 2019

Last updated: January 22, 2023 at 22:06 pm

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