Saturday, January 30, 2010

Slowing Down with Multiple Stops -Sold!

"Walking in to Radicondoli, Italy" watercolor (7" x 9")

While on our stay in the Tuscan countryside a few years back I discovered a concept , or rather a lifestyle, that I absolutely adored but really had a hard time grasping.....walking into town daily to get your bread from the bakery, your cheese from the "cheese guy", your produce from the "produce guy", etc.....As a a native of Los Angeles...born and raised in the car...with 'Super' everything (supermarkets, super drugstores, super discount stores, etc...)...this was so cool...but then there was this little bratty Valley Girl (yes I am a genuine Valley Girl) whispering in my head..."oh how inefficient this is" that with an ex-academic scientist (yes I have a PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Biology)...."Can't we make this so we don't have to do this daily-like plan it out and get what we need for the week?". But seriously...this is what makes it all so charming and what Italy is. As cumbersome as it may have really got us out of our element, forced us into their lifestyle, encouraged us to interact with the locals....and most of all, made us SLOW taking the seemingly insignificant acts and making them the focal point. Today, and quite honestly everyday, I would like to find that here in my daily I just have to GPS the cheese store, the bakery, the meat shop, the farmers market, CVS drugstore, and Costco (we need toilet paper) and then map out the best and quickest way to make these stops :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where's My Horse?

"Where's My Horse?" watercolor (4" x 7 1/2")

I was driving down a street one day as I always do, and saw this scene....and as usual fumbled for the camera, stopped traffic, rolled down the window, embarrassed our daughter..."clicked" and sped away (Ah, the satisfaction of having another inspiration to pull from). Here's this cowboy, sitting at the bus stop, staring at a bike (is it his? I do not know?).....but all I can imagine, by his demeanor and expression while gazing at the that he is thinking "What happened to my horse...that is how I am supposed to get around...How did I get here?" I wonder if we all feel that way at some point in our life? But there is something about this gentleman that is admirable....he is still true to himself, he hasn't lost his identity....he is still the just with alternate means of transportation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tide Pool Wonders- SOLD!

"Tide Pool Wonders" watercolor (12" x 9")

The mind of a child is a beautiful thing...the curiosity, the excitement of life, the pureness of it... when do we as adults loose that quality? Where the simplest things are still new and exciting? Ever notice that little children are always present...that's because there are no gaping holes in their heart that hold them back...there are no past hurts that bind them in fear...there is no fatigue of life wearing them down. They are just children being what God intended them to be - learners of life and lovers of humanity. I believe, as adults, this is still God's purpose for us.....but we just let "life" get in the way. Well, today I will find and invite "my inner child" out to play...who knows maybe we will discover a starfish!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Contemplation- SOLD!

"Contemplation" watercolor (7" x 5 1/2")
What draws me to an image to paint (captured either by my camera or inspiration from some other photograph) is the untold story...those moments that normally may not have been seen. Then while painting, I try to "get inside"...what is this person feeling? what is this person's circumstances? what are the emotions at that time? This painting was a challenge....because all I could feel was my feelings, my circumstances, and my own emotions bubbling out of was as if this gentleman was just there, quiet as can be...empty, if you will, while I was "all over the place". As the painting progressed, I actually quieted down, I became contemplative and very if I could almost sit down next to him and not disturb his peacefulness. Perhaps you will have a moment like that today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Aging -sold!

"Aging" watercolor (8" x 10 1/2")

I like the way this painting came out...the simplicity of it, while still feeling the aging of the barn and truck. That being said, I do think I will give it another go at it..maybe paint a bigger version. Which got me thinking: Its like life, when we near the end of it shall we be old, rusted and "out to pasture"...or shall we still try to exude character and life...will one still want to do a "bigger version" of us?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Waiting it Out

"Cutie Pie" watercolor ( 12" x 9")

Ah...I have found myself at a loss of "blog convo" so I will do what one normally does in those awkward social situations of not knowing what to talk about the weather! Well, here on the West Coast of Southern California....I think we are all contemplating on building our Arks. It truly has not stopped raining since last week. And we are not talking that lovely pitter-patter of rain...we are talking downpours, hail, thunder, lightning, even a twister or two! We have almost come to a stand still. Personally, in my artist world, plein aire events have been canceled, colleagues and friends can't make it to art meetings, and the big one,...I haven't been able to take photos of my daily paintings, as I use the old fashioned way....the outdoor natural sunlight at high noon. So hmphh, I sit and wait it out. You may say...look at all that time you get painting...well, frustrating enough, it seems that my creative side has taken a hiatus and would rather sit by the fire, listen to the down pour outside, and sip warm apple cider. I am thinking God is trying to tell me something, so I guess I will sit and wait it out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cotton Candy

"Cotton Candy" watercolor (7 1/2" x 6 1/2")

This is a sweet and special piece for me. I actually painted it a while ago for a gallery show I did last year. For part of the show I wanted to have a small collection of what I called "snip-its of life"...and this was one of the pieces that came of that. It has a soft spot in my heart because it was after creating this piece that I felt I had truly found my own personal style and point of view in the artistic world. And who wouldn't love that moment of chillin' on a park bench while sharing cotton candy with a good friend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Corsica, Italy

"Corsica Hillside Village" watercolor (12" x 14")

Greetings from Corsica, France ....virtually that is. This is my second painting for this month's Virtual Paintout. This time I went to northern Corsica...completely different terrain but equally as beautiful as the southern regions. My little yellow Google "man" didn't tell me where exactly we were but I did manage to get a quick snapshot (i.e., print screen) before moving on. I think I like traveling with my husband better :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Send a Card....the old fashion way

"Beach Time" watercolor (9 1/2 " x 4")

I am very excited to announce that customized greeting cards are now available of all J. Hill original watercolor paintings:
  • 5" x 7" full glossy prints
  • Customizable - you can print any message/greeting on the inside or leave blank
  • Can order single cards or packages
  • Ship within 48 hours
  • Easy, safe and secure online check out
  • Great bulk pricing....(i.e. pack of 10 cards for $34.50)
  • If you don't see your favorite J Hill painting listed for your desired card, I can easily upload it...just email me
  • Permanent link on both my website and blog (upper right corner)
  • Exclusively offered through Fine Art America
Check them here

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Momma, Help Me! -sold!

"Momma, Help Me!" watercolor (9" x 6")

There is something about umbrellas, rain, and a special relationship that I so enjoy trying to capture with the paints and paper. In this sweet challenge, where a mother and her little one are braving the can just imagine what this momma is going through...trying to find the balance of letting her child struggle and figure it out cause he/she "can do it" (need to foster that independence), being patient and loosing the concept "it would be just easier and quicker if I do it myself"....and then the instant response of mothering when you hear "Momma, help me!" All the while trying to stay dry yourself and not think about how soaked your baby is getting. Ahhh...the joys of motherhood.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

California Dreamin'-SOLD!

"California Dreamin' " (watercolor) 9" x 12"

I have to admit...and I don't get to say this very often...but I just LOVE the way this painting came out. The whole artistic process was a blast and so rewarding. First, and foremost, the reference photo is from fellow South Pasadenian Laurie Allee who runs a great blog herself called "Glimpses of South Pasadena". She takes these wonderful photos of out and about in our local town. Today's piece came from her Jan 6th posting justly titled "Fantasyland" (and yes, for those really is like this in January...sorry). Anyway, as you can see from her striking is perfect for and white, strong lights and darks, great perspective, a great composition, and a scene with a personal reference...just a treat to start with.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Femininity and Strength

"Arabesque" watercolor (9" x 6 1/4")

I have never been fortunate enough to take ballet but have always admired the beauty of the human body in this exquisite dance form. As an artist, there is something to be said about trying to capture the femininity within the strength of the body. As a woman, I believe perhaps this is how we are meant to live our lives....femininity exuding over the be graceful while trying to balance on your tippie toes, to let the man lift you up (to have the trust and faith he won't drop you), to spin around in beautiful pirouettes, do a few grand jetes, holding your own yet creating a beautiful partnership on the stage of life...of course, all the while, looking super cute in that tu-tu!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Catching the Bus

"Catching the Bus" watercolor (14" x 18")

Look at this couple, they are on the way to the bus catch the bus, but how is it that they have such a relaxed gait to them? They are in no hurry. How can that be?...we all are running to "catch the bus" (in some way or another) and if it is a means to get some where else, well then it just seems we need to be in turbo-mode. But look at this couple, they know where they have to go...just a few yards more....but they are in no hurry to get there. Is it because they managed their time so well? or that they are truly present with each? Either is a good thing...they look like they are in the just right pace of life. Today, how can we BE in "catching our buses"?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Your Own Personal Little Holiday- Sold!

"Piana, Western Corsica" watercolor (9 1/2" x 12")

The next stop on Bill Guffey's Virtual PaintOut is Corsica!! For the month of January, artists are charged with painting any location in Corsica that you can find on Google Map Images ....I have pulled up so many incredible images, with leads me to ask....where are all these cameras?...or is this all satellite derived? my technology-challenged mind just can't wrap around this....anyway this painting was so relaxing and fun for me to do. As a painting gets to the closing stages I will plop it up on the fireplace mantle and look at it from varying angles, or step away for a bit (i.e., do some dishes, fold laundry, sweep up the dog hair, cook dinner, pick up our daughter at school, oh wait... I digressed!) anyway, when I come back to a painting, it is always with fresh eyes...Well, for this painting I felt like I just couldn't leave truly felt my like my own little vacation. I kept gazing at it and feeling like I was right Mediterranean breezes on top of the brilliant turquoise blue island shores. So today, if you find yourself needing a little holiday...just gaze at this piece. It works!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Artist Perspective - sold!

"Pasadena City Hall II" watercolor (9" x 12")

I have painted Pasadena City Hall several times now, and love that there has always been a new perspective or focal point to render. I like when that happens...imagine if something looked the same no matter how, when or why you painted it. I would love to take this "artist perspective" into other parts of my life...challenge myself to look at situations and people independently of how I "saw" them before. Allow myself to be absorbed in the new perspective, different lighting , a new season, etc so that I may see that person or situation in that exact moment, not blinded by my own perspective or history.

For those that are interested, I documented the process of painting "Pasadena City Hall II" and have posted a slide show below. I tried to break down my painting approach into stages and comment a bit on them. To navigate, just click on the should take you to the album titled "Pasadena City Hall II demo". Click on SLIDE SHOW in the upper left corner. On the first page you can slow down the slide rate, so you can read the captions. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Joan's House - sold!

"Joan's House" watercolor (7" x 91/2")

This is Joan's house, she is an absolutely wonderful woman that lives around the block from us. I like to think of her as the "neighborhood neighbor", she knows everyone and never fails to greet them with a smile and genuinely ask"how are you doing?". I think the world would be a better place if every neighborhood had a "Joan". I did this painting of her house a few weeks back when her Ginkgo Tree was in full bloom. The sunlight coming through the bright yellow leaves was magnificent, I just had to try and capture it! (That and her little gnome that sits on the ledge of the front porch) :)

Oh! Yesterday I held the drawing for the next 50th comment on the post.....and the winner is......"Karen Mc" !!! She has chosen "Down Oak Street" posted on December 14th Tropical Oasis as her FREE original Julie Hill Watercolor Painting!!! Congratulations Karen!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


"Cruisin' " watercolor (9 1/2 x 4")

This was a quick little painting I did. I was intrigued by the movement, and capturing the strength, joy and freedom that this young lady exudes. You can almost feel her, riding along a beach side resort with her friends, falling behind for whatever reason (maybe the mid-afternoon sunshine glimmering off the water caught her eye?)...she exclaims, "Hey! Wait up for me!"...yes, that's where this little painting took me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Radicondoli, Italy -Sold!

"Radicondoli, Italy" watercolor (10" x 6")

Today's painting is a revisit to our Italy trip a few years back. Radicondoli is a little town in the Province of Siena within the region of Tuscany, Italy. This quaint town, with its small population of about 1,000, is located southwest of Florence and Siena. Its a typical little Italian town, that is truly a painter's dream...because beyond every corner is another perfect painting waiting to happen...and the Italian folk...oh the characters are so much more interesting to capture than us Americans in our routine.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

San Rafael Ave Bridge

"San Rafael Avenue Bridge, Pasadena"
(18" x 24")

I love painting bridges (I think I have mentioned this in an earlier post). I believe this is because compositions with bridges have the mixture of architectural elements and landscapes, with the challenge of perspective. And yes, the perspective on this image was challenging: to find and draw what is accurate, yet step back and say "but does it look right?". I think this is something we can all do, both inside the artist arena and outside in "real life"....step back and ask yourself "yes it is as it should be, but does it look right?".

P.S. few side notes:

-I just finished updating and reconstructing my website, I invite you to visit it at

-Once a month on my website, I post a newly finished large-scale piece ("Painting of the Month"). If you are interested and would like to be included in the email notification - subscribe at

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

"Window Treatment" watercolor (8" x 6")

Well here we are...2010! Does the New Year make you reflective of the past year or hopeful for the year ahead? Do you focus on what didn't transpire last year, or what you can do differently this year? Do you mourn that year "lost" or do you anticipate what the new year will bring? Today in this fresh start of 2010, I will make a choice....This year I choose to continue to challenge myself, this year I choose to be quicker in forgiving- yet slower to anger, this year I choose take my eyes of the past and focus on the present. Today, instead of choosing my needs and wants, I choose His plan and purpose for me. Today, and everyday, I choose to feel God's love for me. These are my New Years resolutions.