Julia Hardman

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Julia Hardman is showcasing her latest works at Gallery 126. Her inspiration came from visiting countries such as as Austria, Croatia and Sweden.

>What brings you to exhibit in Armidale?

I have lived in Arding for 20 years. After working at NERAM as Education Officer, I opened up my studio as a venue for watercolour classes. This was highly successful and provided me with challenging teaching, which I enjoyed immensely. The medium held my interest over that time, and fortunately my studio became an ideal venue for art classes. I’ve exhibited from my studio over the years, painting commissions, which offered vast subject matter ranging from home exteriors to wedding parties. Currently I exhibit at home and in local galleries. Exhibiting at Gallery 126 is an opportunity to display my recent work to the public, being a central venue within the city.

> What type of art do you specialise in?

I enjoy experimenting with all sorts of mediums, such as pastel, coloured pencils, inks and textural surfacing. My paintings for this exhibition have been mainly in the use of water medium – in particular watercolour and acrylic. Some have the addition of oil. I enjoy adapting a scene or personal composition to the medium that I feel like working in at the time.

> What should people expect to see at your exhibition at Gallery 126? 

Last year my husband Don and I spent a couple of months in Europe visiting family and sightseeing. Of course with the many and varied photos that were taken, I had plenty of inspiration and reference to help “put the pictures together”. A variety of places are highlighted, such as Austria, Croatia and Sweden – intimate glimpses of special places that we had seen on our travels. 

Some of the works are detailed and “coloured up” and other pictures have a monotone, moody feel. Complementing the paintings of the European holiday are landscape pictures of the New England area. The paintings vary in size and style, with some framed and others unframed, depending on whether they are watercolour or acrylic and oil on canvas.

> How difficult is it to actually put together an artwork? 

Some pictures happen reasonably smoothly, with no particular decision. It just happens. Other paintings, with the tonal planning, sketching, colour selection, washes, glazes and multi medium layering can take ages until the picture is satisfactory to me. Even then a work can be tossed aside, because it looks a disaster. Learning from your mistakes is a comfort after all that time wrestling with a canvas, brushes and a messy palette of sticky paint. It’s all about reigniting the feeling of being in that place again and closely observing the composition, detail and, of course, jogging the memory.

Artwork by Julia Hardman

Artwork by Julia Hardman

> Who is your favourite artist?

My most favourite painter is  J.J. Hilder. He had a short painter’s life, but what a contribution! He painted exquisite watercolours. I admire the clarity in his blended washes and the beautiful shadow effects. I can stand in front of a J.J.Hilder for ages. The Art Gallery of New South Wales has a wonderful selection of his artwork.

> What has driven you to painting? 

I love to paint. I get enormous comfort from memorising a scene, landscape or, say, a wacky chook striking a pose in the garden. I like the process of settling down to sketch it and deciding on the painting style and colours. I feel that painting is an integral part of my life and it will always have a place in my week, be it in the act of painting, in the planning of a picture or just tidying up a mess for a while.

Apart from painting I take immense enjoyment in spending time with my family and friends, listening to music and bush walking.

I guess that my painting style will grow and change. I’m sure that there will be times when I will revisit what I used to do – try that flower shape again, rethink that boat on the water, mix another combination of colour. At present I get pleasure and take interest in the part time secondary art teaching that I do. It’s always satisfying to watch students experiment with techniques. I especially enjoy introducing them to the works of artists past and present.  

 > Thank you Julia.

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