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Monday, March 08, 2010

Giving Back

How do you respond when you've just returned from the adventure of a lifetime?  It might sound like an exaggeration, but last Summer's travel to Scotland, funded entirely by artwork and hard work, truly felt like that - an adventure of a lifetime.

The view I had  of Edinburgh city and castle from atop Arthur's Seat

 It took a while to get back on track once I was home again, but the memories, sights and smells, and the visions in my head of paintings to come were constantly with me.  The journey was more than the trip itself, it was the months of work in getting there, and the memories, friendships, and inspiration of a new body of work since I've been home again.  

The style of my artwork underwent a significant change since my travels.  It's grown considerably.  I find myself pushing the level of quality much harder than I ever have before, and I do attribute much of this to the massive inspiration from that adventure in Scotland.

One such push was to do better portraiture.

The Homecoming in Edinburgh was phenomenal, and was a signature event for 2009's year-long celebration of Robert Burns' 250th birthday.  So as I sat in my booth at the Fred Oldfield Western Heritage Center during the Puyallup Fair here in Washington last September, I tasked myself with a portraiture piece of A Robert Burns actor I'd met in Edinburgh, Christopher Tait... in character, of course. 

Now, given the size of my "canvas", this time the tail feather of a peahen, creating a likeness was no easy task.  I'd spent 18 hours working through this one, pushing the detail, form, and light and shadow ever further.  It took four tries to get the face close enough to acceptable.  In the painting the distance from forehead to chin is only three-quarters of an inch, so again - no easy task.  When it was finally done, I knew this that one could not simply go to a gallery or hang in my booth.  This one was capable of doing more.  I contacted Mr. Tait and discussed what might be done and what I hoped to do.

This 3 week adventure in Scotland had a huge impact on me.  Everywhere I went, I was met with such kindness from the people, saw magnificent scenery, and was constantly surrounded with history.  I wanted to give back in some way, to find a way to say thanks.  This seemed like a perfect opportunity.

This painting, for the time being anyway, now resides in Edinburgh and will go to promote and support the  Birthplace Museum at the Robert Burns National Heritage Park in Alloway, Ayrshire Scotland.  This is a joining of efforts between Mr. Tait and myself.  he has taken charge of the painting and will be acting on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.  The painting will travel with him throughout the UK and Europe as he tours and makes appearances, and the painting shall promote the museum and all its renovations.  With much work underway, the expansions being done at the museum will be open in Autumn 2010.  Once the painting has made the rounds, it will go to the National Trust and likely be placed for auction to support this wonderful and very important museum.

Please do visit the National Trust website for more information about the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, and also the website of actor Christopher Tait ... a talented fellow and an excellent Robert Burns!


Betsy Lewis said...

What a brilliant job Julie!

Julie Thompson said...

Thank you so much, Betsy!

~Valentina~ said...

Your work is *AMAIZING*

Roberta J Martin Art Studio said...

I love this feather the last time you did it... You are such an inspiration... I am now helping a boy who has autism who donates half of what he earns to autism awareness... I am helping him out by painting some feathers for him to send half of the donations to autism awareness...

Rick Willett said...

Wow. That is awesome Julie. You are so talented.