Folks at First – Julie Rich

An Interview with Julie Rich

You can read the interview included in our December 2018 newsletter.

Julie, I’ve seen the work that you, Murray and Shirley Wolfe have done in beautifying the office area of our church. I’m referring to the painting of walls, of lending and rearranging artwork. You have made the area beautiful. How did this project begin and how was it carried out?

It began when our small (care) group met to wash the walls in the main office and hallways. Joel talked about repainting the main office and making it into a sitting area, a place to relax and enjoy. Murray and Shirley and I decided to do the job. The Wolfes had recently painted their house, so they brought equipment and supplies. We worked together and as it turned out, we made a pretty good team. Later Shirley and I hung the pictures.

I have seen your pictures at several local art shows and have admired them. I’m curious to know when you first felt the urge to draw and paint. Also, how did your gift first express itself?

I have always been interested in creative things like, drawing, colouring, doing crafts and sewing. As a kid, I liked to walk down the store aisles where the paper, pencils, and crayons were displayed.

Did you get early encouragement from anyone? How significant was this? What formal or informal training have you had?

Occasionally, I was told I could draw well, but not in a way that told me what I could do with it. I remember the yearly school supply list would always have neat art supplies we were to get, but I was usually disappointed that we were not shown how to use them during the year. I have no formal training other that a few classes/workshops I’ve taken as an adult.

What really got me started was a TV show: The Jerry Yarnell School of Fine Arts Show aired on the Saskatchewan Network (SCN) in 2005. I recorded the shows on our VHS, and Kevin helped me transfer them to my laptop computer. This way I could pause and rewind easily, while I painted along and learned about technique and how to mix paint colours. Eventually, I formed my own style.

How do you do your work? Do you wait for inspiration to hit: that is, do you work when the spirit leads you? Or do you rather follow a discipline of work?

I’m more of a “when the spirit leads me” type of person. I’ve tried to set aside specific times, but that just doesn’t seem to work for me. Although, once I’ve started a painting I can easily make the time to work on it until it feels done.

What is the source of your inspiration?

I’m very much a nature girl. I love how trees twist from a harsh environment. The rocks and hills in southern Saskatchewan, the flowers, the occasional bird, and the way grasses grow in the country and the wheat fields. I take my camera with me and come home with much inspiration.

The Pasture’s Tree

I know that you are able to sell your paintings and I congratulate you. What besides monetary gain is gratifying to you in this?

Well, canvases can take up space and things start piling up, so it’s always nice to have some of them go. I think mostly, though, I find it encouraging that others like my work enough to want to own it. It helps to keep me motivated.

That’s easy to understand. I particularly enjoy the trio of pictures of land and seascapes that you have lent to the church. Can you talk a bit about how they came about: were they imagined scenes, or scenes from the real world?

The winter one, Winter Sentries, was a photo I took while Kevin and I were out at Sherwood Forest doing some cross-country skiing. The other two were compilations of calendar pictures and my photos.

Our church life calls forth a variety of personal gifts like speaking, singing, playing instruments, running sound boards, teaching, etc. We seldom call on the gift of an artist. How, in your opinion, could we correct this?

I’m not sure, I suppose just letting it be known that there is a need somewhere, such as Joel did in asking for help in the office area.

While I’m writing these questions, I’m reminded of some lines of poetry by Keats:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases. It can never
Pass into nothingness.

The Bible encourages us to bring our gifts to the altar. The gifts that you, Murray, and Shirley have brought us are deeply appreciated and will last. Thanks to all three of you.

Read more

Note: Julie: Although I’ve loaned these paintings to the church for décor, I would like to say if anyone is interested in purchasing one of my paintings that is hanging in the church office area, I will donate all the proceeds to the church.

Interviewer: Esther Wiens