Artistic expression has been a constant in Julea Boswell’s life. While growing up in Prince Edward Island drawing, painting, dance, music, figure skating, and textile arts all played a part in her creative endeavours. “I thank my parents for setting the stage for the artist in me to flourish,” says Julea. She adds, “The discipline of having trained as a dancer and skater at a young age has carried over into everything I do—it has allowed me to accomplish a lot”.
Before working solely as a visual artist, Julea enjoyed a varied career that began as a dance artist-educator and studio owner, moved into becoming a communications and planning strategist with the City of Ottawa’s Cultural Services team, and then general manager with award-winning Propeller Dance Company. Meanwhile, her artistry continued to expand. Among other things, Julea became a highly creative modern quilt designer-maker, with her work being recognized at the national level. “I’m a multidisciplinary artist at heart. While involved in dance, I also worked on costume designs, continued to sketch and paint and started making functional quilts. As other things in life took over I set aside my painting in favour of quilting, but knew I would eventually come back to it.”
Julea is a Theatre School grad (dance major), holds an MBA, and is now working part-time towards a BFA in Visual Art. Her art is in private collections in Canada, Germany, Myanmar, and the US, has been exhibited in juried group and solo shows, and is for sale at The Dunes Gallery in Prince Edward Island, Bistro Le Chat Bleu in New Brunswick, and through her studio and website.
“I am lucky to now split my time between two homes with inspirational water views—one on the Hillsborough River in my home province of Prince Edward Island and the other near the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario.”
I create joy-filled art that is full of colour, imagination and a sense of movement. Abstract in style, each creation is a process of discovery. My work comes together through both deliberate and improvisational decisions—one thing leads to another and so the composition unfolds.
The creative concepts that shape my work are sparked by a mix of memories and metaphor. It fascinates me how they pop up in everyday reminders—a certain colour, place, activity, or simple turn of phrase. I love how they keep my memory bank filled with persistent references to sense of place and identity.
Having grown up in the amazing natural beauty of Prince Edward Island, the time the look and feel of my art is often awash with expressions of weather and water. I now split my time between the Island and my home near the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, but am always interested in how the varied cultural and physical landscapes of other places I have lived—including Berlin, Edmonton, Toronto, the Saguenay, and Utah—all blend together and become a part of my art in intangible and unpredictable ways.
Other forms of artistic expression also influence my work. My background as a dancer gives a sense of movement and balance to my work, and my skills as a quilt artist are always at my fingertips. A distinct juncture along my artistic path was when painting and art quilting came together for me, and I created paintings on raw canvas which I then layered and stitched together by both hand and machine. In my current work, I draw on scrap quilt-making principles by using up leftover pieces from cropped paintings to create new works.
I invite viewers to feel the joy and energy infused in my art and be relaxed by its fresh and contemporary style. I hope they experience it as an uplifting diversion from the ongoing stresses in our current world and day-to-day lives.
"Wow! Such colour and freedom. I love your expression of movement." - Solo show visitor
“Love all your artwork - so happy and full of light and energy and beauty! You are such a good artist. The world needs that vision.” - Facebook follower
“There is so much sun and cheer and positive energy in what you do; love it!” - Website visitor
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See where Julea's work is featured in local spaces: Julea Boswell Art Studio’s Wescover Map