Julie Bell, "Gazing Pond," 2016, oil on linen, 18 x 24 inches

written by Louise Joyner

The career of Julie Bell (b.1958) is a testament to the enduring power of realism in American art.  Focused on eight recent paintings, this article reveals the depth of her inspiration and sensitivity to her subject matter, even as it underscores the broad range of influences she has absorbed and made her own.

Julie Bell, “Champion,” 2016, oil on linen, 60 x 48 inches

The daughter of an architect father and artist mother, Bell grew up in Beaumont, Texas, in an environment that nurtured her desire to become a painter.  Drawing has mattered as long as she can remember, yet she only began to study art formally during high school, then majored in drawing at DeKalb County Community College in Atlanta.  There Bell was inspired by her teachers and introduced to color theory, which she has so evidently come to master.  Her studies continued under the wildlife artist Jerry Newman at Lamar University (in Beaumont), where she made her first serious life drawing study.  At Northern Michigan University, Bell probed the psychology underlying animals’ appearances with the sculptor Wolf Niessen.  By 1982, she was a married mother of two living in Ohio, yet found time to take drawing classes at Lorain County Community College while accepting commissions to illustrate children’s books.

This is an excerpt from “Julie Bell: Looking Back, Looking Within”. Find the full article in the July / August 2017 Edition of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.

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