Interviews | October 12, 2022 |

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds

Interview: Julie Hammonds
Luca Curci talks with Julie Hammonds during the 4th Edition of ROME INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Medina Art Gallery.

Following the tradition of Fine Art oil painting on canvas, Julie Hammonds‘ reputation as a landscape and marine artist has been built over the last thirty five years painting in South Devon, UK. Self-taught her early work quickly developed a distinctive style reflecting her love of the countryside. In particular the changing light, mood and tonal harmonies of the seasons, suffuses her paintings with a contemplative quality. This has become an enduring theme and is reflected in her oil paintings of the Alps, where the play of light is her inspiration. Striving to capture the fleeting magic of the last rays of the sun, or the fresh light of a new day has influenced her Courchevel landscapes. Her work became a commercial success following a one-person exhibition which led to commissions from as far afield as America, Australia, New Zealand, and more recently Mexico. The scale of her canvases has become larger, with commissions for hotels and boardrooms complimenting those for more domestic settings. A change in direction, combines with a move to a new studio overlooking Plymouth Sound, led to involvement with boats and the sea. Recent works have reflected this interest and Marine Art now features as a strong part of Julie’s portfolio. A recent theme “Where the land meets the sea“, has been explored in a series of acrylic paintings which allow experimentation, vibrancy and impact to the fluid images. The sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth to America in 1620 inspired an exhibition of her paintings, each of the fifteen images is based on a different sentence from the Captain’s Diary. An exhibition of this project was held in the Mayflower Museum, Plymouth from November 2019 to May 2022. In Summer 2022 her work was exhibited in Venice during the 59th Venice Biennale. Julie Hammonds: “My work is inspired by the notion of the Collective Unconscious, in particular the universal feelings of emotion and enrichment we absorb from the natural world. I paint to feed my soul, and strive to portray that same response in the viewer. Nature, the weather, the changing seasons, and the eternal ebb and flow of life within our precious world are my main influences. Following the tradition of figurative oil painting, my work is an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary subjects. My influences are the rural countryside around my home in Devon UK, and the ever changing sea outside my studio overlooking Plymouth Sound. The vibrancy and energy of nature reflected in the movement and tonal hues of the sea, balanced against the constant replenishment of new growth and change in the natural world, remind me of the passage of time and of our place in the ongoing rhythm of life. The subjects of my canvases aim to celebrate and capture the impermanence of our world and our place in it. The recent studies of the influences of mankind on the ecology, encourage us to consider the need for clean air, and unpolluted water, and this has become an inspiration for recent oil paintings. Experimentation with acrylics has allowed a new passion for allowing forms and spontaneous marks to dictate the subject within a particular theme, giving each piece a unique and expressive quality”.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | Mothecombe Glow

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Julie Hammonds – I have just completed a series of paintings informed by the universal environment we share and the concerns of climate change. My main artistic practice is to produce works in oils on canvas. I enjoy the process of working on a piece for a period of time, and with oil paints, the drying times, and layering involved, encourage a slow process. The painting of Mothecombe Glow now showing in Rome depicts a seaside scene that reflects the calming and gentle lapping of the waves. I wanted to produce an emotional response in the viewer that resonates with all of us, no matter where we live in the world. My last two canvases, just completed, are being shown in London when ITSLIQUID have their exhibition in October. Both invite the viewer to consider our environment, firstly in a view of London in which the sky dominates, with its message of “Clean Air Aware”. The second canvas is another view of London with the Thames dominating, and its theme is “Clear Water Wishes”.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | Tide out at Newton Creek

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
JH – Originally a teacher, I am a self-taught artist, who started painting at home, in oils, on the kitchen table when my children were young. When they went to school, I got my first studio to paint in, and from there had local success. Followed by exhibiting in galleries and a one-person show I continued to paint and sell. I have continued painting since then and have sold paintings worldwide, with commissions being a continual encouragement. A move to a coastal home for my husband’s job, saw me becoming drawn to the sea, and I became a partner in a boat-building company. I kept the studio and passion for painting throughout, and my new interest was reflected in the subjects and commissions I received. Marine Art became one of my main subjects and inspirations. I am continually drawn to try and capture the translucency and movement of the water, and it remains one of my influences. In 2020, I had an exhibition of 15 paintings entitled “The Voyage of the Mayflower” exhibited for 2 years in the Mayflower Museum in Plymouth. It has just been taken down, and I now find myself contemplating getting a much larger studio to contain the accumulating paintings.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | Mayflower Autonomous

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
JH – My inspiration has always come from the countryside around my home in Devon, and from the sea that borders my studio. The changing light, mood and harmonies of the seasons, suffuse my paintings with a contemplative quality. The eternal ebb and flow of nature are taken for granted by us on a daily basis, but in a painting, the beauty and grandeur of the earth’s rhythms can be explored and appreciated.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | The Thames

Luca Curci – Can you explain something about “Mothecombe Glow”, the artwork you have in our exhibition?
JH – The calm lapping of the waves and the new dawn, invite us to reflect on the constant refreshing of nature’s rhythms. Which of us is not enriched by breathing in the light air of a fresh new day approaching, offering us hope and constancy? The wet sands reflect the glow of the rising sun over a seascape that only changes with the weather, tides and seasons. The colour palette used for this piece and the central horizon have been chosen to emphasise to the viewer the calming, eternal ebb and flow of nature.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | London Sky (Clear Air Aware)

LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
JH – One of the advantages of being an artist is that you can explore themes and subjects that are current and concerning through your practice. My influences on the environment and nature, have led me to find ways of expressing my thoughts on the ongoing march of climate change. The London Contemporary exhibition organised by ITSLIQUID has given me the opportunity to explore this theme further. I have taken the subject of “London” and painted two site-specific canvases. The first one simply entitled “Clear Sky over London” is a plea for Clear Air without pollutants and particulates. The second simply “The Thames” is a wish for Clean Water without pollution. I completely understand that just two paintings are going to have no influence at all on the political choices of the world’s future, but my vision is as valid as anyone else.

Luca Curci – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JH – For people like me who are outside the worldwide circle of artists and galleries, the chance to show my work amongst an international group of creatives is a great opportunity. It allows my work to be seen by a wider audience, and seeing the artworks of others, expands my own creativity.

Luca Curci – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JH – The ItsLiquid group offer a service which, for the individual artist, in my experience is a slick and reliable service. The organisation of putting on an exhibition involves so many different disciplines, and for ItsLiquid to cover all these bases on the exhibitors behalf is not just helpful but essential. The on-line presence of the platform is particularly important, and individual artists would have to be financially successful, or very internet savvy to achieve the same results. I would rather spend my time painting, and so are grateful to ItsLiquid for their monitoring.

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
JH – The services supplied to the artist by Its Liquid are extremely useful to the artist, particularly the use of social media to present an ongoing platform. From choosing a venue, and all the many arrangements for a smooth exhibition, to the actual receiving and hanging to the final taking down of the pieces at the end are organised seamlessly. I appreciate that behind the scenes there will be many hiccups along the way, but the artists are not involved with any of that and can continue with their own work. Being a good organiser and being a committed artist are not the same skill set.

Image courtesy of Julie Hammonds | Smeaton’s Tower

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