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Creativity Rediscovered: Meet Artist & Retired Architect Julie Brown

Written by Artie The Panda

After practicing architecture for 40 years, Julie Brown wondered if her creativity had been sapped by the business world and by staring at a computer for so long. Instead, she found a new passion: abstract painting. It’s visual, like architecture. Unlike architecture, it’s more about intuition than precision.

Her Happy Place

Julie says abstract painting lets her loosen up and relax. On her website, she talks about painting intuitively, with no preconceived notions about the result. This new activity, which has turned into a small business, also positively affects her mood. “I love using bright, happy colors that express the joy and delight I’ve found in painting,” she says.

Born and raised in New Orleans, she is influenced by the architecture, music, and food of the Crescent City. Her primary medium is acrylic paint on paper or canvas, but she also uses graphite, oil pastels, oil crayons, and markers.

For “Wild Orchids” above, Julie began by covering the canvas with multiple colors, including black, which added depth to the final piece. “I let some of the bright colors come through,” Julie tells us. “And a lot of the painting was done by thickly applying paint with a shaper.”

Framing and Learning

Her paintings “Abstract Still Life” and “Hummingbird,” pictured in the same snapshot below, are framed in Frame Destination’s Wood Frame Profile 502 in Natural Wood finish. “I love the Frame Destination website!” Julie says. “It’s so easy to use and over the years I’ve learned a lot of [framing] terminology by using the website.”

Framed Artwork With Glazing
"Abstract Still Life" and "Hummingbird — both framed in Wood Frame Profile 502 in Natural Wood Finish

See More of Julie’s Work

Visit Julie’s website to see and shop her original art, prints, collages, and “little paintings.” Customers can choose a favorite image and she’ll imprint it on coasters, phone cases, metal magnets, or acrylic trays. For a glimpse of her most recent artwork, as well as fun photos of her European travels last summer, check out Julie’s Instagram. To discover her secret for busting up creative blocks, check out my Q&A with Julie below.

Now for Artie’s Eight Q&A with Julie Brown …

1. What is your background; how did you get started?

After my husband passed away 10 years ago, I decided that I wanted to start painting. As an architect, I was always creative, but I hoped that pursuing art would be therapeutic. Not only was it therapeutic, but it opened up a whole new world for me! It wasn't long before painting became my passion and a new small business.

2. What role do you think the artist plays in society?

To create visual enjoyment for others and to satisfy a deep expressive need within ourselves.

3. What has been a formative experience or the best advice youve received within your career?

The formative experience was during my first student show. I found out that the benefactor of the school, an experienced collector, bought my piece! It opened many doors for me and I am eternally grateful for that experience. Best advice was to never criticize your own work; just keep going and paint over it.

4. In what ways does your work reflect your personality?

I use a lot of color and I always wonder if I use bright colors to make me happy, or am I happy so I paint in bright colors? I think it works both ways! 

5. Creative blocks, do you get them? If so, how do you overcome them?

I keep photos and Pinterest boards of work I like. I try to see where those palettes or styles lead me.

6. What is your most indispensable tool? (Not counting the obvious, like paints, brushes, canvas, camera, etc.)

My most indispensable tool is a big shaper to spread paint on a blank canvas. It’s the thing that gets me started.

7. Do you have a new project you are working on, or a new passionate idea?

I'm working with black backgrounds and saturated colors and also painting abstract landscapes from photographs.

8. What is your favorite color to incorporate into your art?

Lime green, although I try to mix my own shades and not paint from tubes.

Meet Julie Brown Fine Artist
Julie standing beside her painting titled “The Preserve,” inspired by a photograph of a golf course she played in Mississippi.

All artwork and/or photographs used in this post are subject to copyright held by the featured artist.

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Last Updated Nov 23, 2022