Paint with acrylics on canvas, panel and wood
As a child, I loved to write and draw so my wonderful parents sent me to art classes when I was five. I completed a painting in oil when I was six entitled: “Fruit, Wine and Sunshine” which won a blue ribbon at the county fair. Regular art lessons continued into my teens. I always painted and wrote, even in my dorm room and in rare spare moments in law school.
But after graduation I had to turn away from painting and writing because the saying about law being a jealous mistress is true. I have traveled all over the US, Europe and even China and learned so much from observing the great art of the world first hand. I felt that my strong creative impulses found outlets as part of my legal career but not in art or creative writing.
In 2013, I was writing a memoir and a friend upon reading it, suggested that I get “someone” to illustrate it. This provided the impetus for me to start taking lessons again, to tune up the fundamental lessons from my youth. Encouragement in the form of patrons, friends, and buyers has activated this passion at an even deeper level than before.
The form that passion usually takes me these days is with acrylic en plein air, using palette knives for an impasto effect. I was always drawn to the palette knife and its textures. But now I find myself dedicated to using it exclusively to encourage looseness and coloring outside of lines and formats There are so many different pallet knives today and in the hand, each one inspires a different stroke.
Another friend encouraged me to paint outdoors for the first time in 2014. That year I took an amazing trip to Italy where I took art classes in Florence for two weeks and painted en plein air in Calamecca, Florence and San Gimignano. I began to see my hand and eyes as a kind of conduit of light and color from nature, flowers, sunlight, beaches, earth and sky to canvas, hard board and wood via acrylics. I am truly uplifted into a different dimension by the release of endorphins in my brain from the color and sunshine. And, the depth to which I can merge with nature by painting it from life is indescribable as I have painted scenes in San Antonio, Austin, Wimberley, Padre and Mustang Island and other Texas locations. I have also painted in a growing list of locations including Italy Germany, Colorado and Philadelphia.
I can’t say why I like acrylics today. I grew up on oil and who doesn’t love oil? Acrylic, though, is a modern medium and its accoutrements allow for a sculptural implementation. The palette knife and acrylic together are tools for texture that have imbedded themselves in my DNA.
Impressionist and post-Impressionist art and those artists’ goal of transmuting light and color in situ inspire me even more as a plein air artist. I am guided by Miro’s use of “accidents” and Van Gogh’s “picking out what one wants from nature.” And, I am also engaged by what other artists are doing and how they adapt new things to their goal to paint what they see, before them, in their mind’s eye and beyond.
Above all, I want my work to be “a thing of beauty.” For my own soul the need is to find a way to look at and express the beauty that I see. This intention is for my own good and enlightenment. And, I hope for others as well it can represent a focus that doesn’t deny pain and sorrow, but lifts the sight beyond it.
I have been an exhibitor in a number of juried art shows, restaurant shows, and have wonderful collectors and patrons in San Antonio, Austin, Denver and other locations. In summer 2017 I was honored to have led the painting classes for Reflections of Tuscany, a food and art retreat in Calamecca, Italy.
Q & A WITH JULENE FRANKI
Where are you from, originally?
Where do you find your inspiration?
The beauty of nature and the endorphins exploding with the color and sunshine are intoxicating and I become mesmerized by the process of trying to transmit this experience via my paint.
I like to paint spring flowers, summer Texas landscapes, Tuscan scenarios, all created with the rough hewn and sculptural effect provided by the pallet knife.
What's the reason you get out of bed?
To see what will happen next! I have had a super wonderful life and am always anxious to see what is up for me next!