Julie Bowland is a Valdosta, Georgia based artist who teaches art and directs the Fine Arts Gallery at Valdosta State University. As a landscape painter she applies oil paint in a thick, painterly impasto, painting directly from the wild landscape in bold, expressive color. Sometimes she paints from a canoe or kayak to capture remote, watery places. Formerly a longtime North Florida resident, she earned a BFA in Painting from Florida State University and an MFA from Arizona State University.
Bowland’s work is included in private, public and corporate collections, including the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach; the City of Tallahassee Permanent Collection; Barnett Bank in Jacksonville; First South Bank in Tallahassee and Florida State College at Jacksonville. Her work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Buchanan Museum of Fine Arts in Buchanan, Michigan, and she has exhibited at the Kobro Gallery, Strzeminski Academy of Fine Arts, Lodz, Poland. Bowland has presented Plein Air painting workshops to high school students, college students and adult artists in Florida, Georgia and Utah.
I work directly from nature with oil paint applied in a thick vigorous impasto. Color is everything to me: It expresses intensity of emotion as it defines space and form. While color and form may be freely interpreted, it remains important to me to work from nature. I appreciate the directness and spontaneity of the dynamic, always changing conditions of the outdoors while I paint and draw: They create a joy and a challenge while I work, and I often have no idea how a painting will turn out. That spontaneity is the fun part.
The French called painting directly from nature en plein air, “in open air.” It is exciting and inspiring to slather paint, engulfed in a wild swamp or forest, while dancing with the elements of wind, wildlife, shifting light, and all the other uncontrollable aspects of nature. This joy and excitement drives me to make art.