Artistically Ever After: Julie Havel
Photo: Ashton Ray Hansen
When Julie Havel was getting married 15 years ago, she decided to do something personal for her bridal party. Havel created a painting for each bridesmaid—and loved the process so much, it resparked her childhood fantasy of becoming a painter. “I grew up in an artistic family. My grandfather made furniture, my grandmother made ceramics, and my mom was a painter,” she recalls. “As a child, I dreamed of being an artist but gave up that dream to work in marketing and advertising. Still, I always knew in my heart and soul that this was what I was meant to do. After the wedding, I knew it was now or never, so I finally took the leap, left my job, and started painting. And I have never looked back.”
The Colorado native, now the mother of two young boys, paints out of her studio in Golden and exhibits her art nationwide. And just as she once felt guided to switch careers, today she feels guided spiritually every time she picks up a paintbrush or palette knife to create one of her abstract works. “It’s very rare that I have an idea about what I want to portray on canvas. I believe that I am a conduit. Usually when I am painting, I’ll step back and look at a painting and go, ‘How did I do that?’ I literally won’t be able to remember. And if I try to re-create it, I can’t do it.”
Inspired by the patterns and shapes she sees around her, Havel says, “Everything I do is experiment-based, and I like using mixed media: paint, handmade papers, graphite, textiles, and weaves, as well as gel mediums, pouring mediums, and textural mediums.” She works on about half a dozen paintings at a time, rotating among them as she adds the different layers to a canvas. “Sometimes I will be working on one painting and then look across the room at another and think, ‘I have to go over and put red in that place right there.’ I can’t stop myself,” she says.
A fan of artists Jasper Johns and Wassily Kandinsky, Havel also adds doodles and numbers to many of her works—particularly the number 5. “A lot of the numbers are random, but 5 is a number that has always resonated with me. Its loose meaning is organized chaos, and that definitely describes me.”
To see more of Julie's work, visit juliehavel.com.