Julie Karpodini: Portray Intuition – Jackson’s Artwork Weblog


Julie Karpodini gained the Animal Award within the Jackson’s Portray Prize this 12 months along with her work Elvira’s Canines. On this interview, Julie discusses her effectively developed processes, sketchbook observe, and communication along with her work.

Above picture: Julie working in her studio in rural Spain.


Lisa: What’s your course of for beginning a portray, and is it all the time the identical method?

Julie: I often start with very quick sketches, usually in oil. I’ve sketchbooks mendacity round with pages primed in a specific clear acrylic primer I like, in order that if the sketch turns into greater than a sketch the work is considerably archival. When I’m engaged on a fee the beginning tends to be lots clearer, as I’ve limitations to work inside and am usually supplied with photographs from the consumer. I exploit the photographs for a visible spark or concept that I like after which make sketches from that. After the preliminary begin I exploit the sketches as my supply materials and put the picture or photographs away. If distance permits, I wish to take the photographs myself which provides me a form of head begin. When I’m not engaged on a fee I may need an individual in thoughts that I wish to paint, or a form of generalised thought, (proper now a whole lot of that revolves round double portraits, and the power that exists between two figures). I’ll get as many concepts down as rapidly as I can in these oil sketches. I’m in search of a common composition that I discover fascinating, however lots of my concepts additionally come to me by means of color. If I’ve a great second in my day of portray, there may be an ease and a way of rightness. I see a color concord or specific disharmony that I like. This may occur in response to the topic, however as usually as not it’s an thought from one other portray or an older sketch. As soon as I’ve one thing that I wish to push additional I attempt to really feel out the dimensions after which start one thing on stretched canvas or ready paper. As soon as a mark is made it simply turns into an interplay with the piece, and an online of drawback fixing. It by no means actually finally ends up very near the concept of the unique sketch, however I would like that starting.


Julie Karpodini. Elvira's Dogs

Elvira’s Canines, 2021
Julie Karpodini
Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm | 59 x 59 in


Lisa: How essential is drawing for you, do you retain a sketchbook?

Julie: I preserve many sketchbooks, and drawing is essential to me, however not within the classical sense. I received my MFA from New York Studio Faculty, which is an atelier-based faculty with an enormous emphasis on drawing from life. It was an unbelievable expertise, and I really feel very fortunate to have had it because it concerned drawing from a reside determine or from a nonetheless life day by day, with a whole lot of concentrate on going deeply into the drawing course of, and in addition a whole lot of dialogue of formal points. I used to be fortunate sufficient to have had really wonderful academics, and it was an schooling within the depth that drawing and portray can have. Nevertheless, as wonderful because it was, it additionally took a very long time for me to let go of that language in my head and discover my means again into my very own course of. I feel it’s actually essential to check, however equally essential to overlook all of it! Proper now, I draw earlier than I start a portray, from my creativeness or from photographs, however I additionally draw regularly all through the portray course of. Drawings of the portray, little work of the portray, figuring out the problems. My sketchbooks are fascinating for me to look again on as a result of they comprise the evolution of every portray. I can see the levels it went by means of and the issues I used to be figuring out. It’s usually in these sketches that the concepts for one more portray come from. After I can I nonetheless work from life, however it’s extra as a observe of its personal versus one thing that feeds into what I make in my studio. Up till Covid we had a drawing group within the village I reside in the place we’d have fashions come as soon as every week. It’s a very good muscle to work.


Julie Karpodini. Scott Playing Guitar in the Living Room

Scott Taking part in Guitar within the Residing Room, 2022
Julie Karpodini
Flashe Vinyl on paper 47 x 64.5 cm | 18.50 x 25.39 in


Julie Karpodini in her studio in Chelva, Spain 2019


Lisa: You’ve talked about that work will change drastically on the canvas as they’re painted. What determines these adjustments?

Julie: The adjustments, large and small, are decided by different adjustments. It’s very a lot trigger and response, and a seek for a composition, color and feeling that feels proper. It’s the entire strategy of portray in a means. The start is commonly virtually good to me, and from there it simply turns into a communication with the portray, and a strategy to attempt to get again to that good level. Each painter is in search of that second the place ‘it really works’, the place for no matter purpose every part holds collectively. The hope (for me) is that the portray isn’t killed on the trail to that second. I’ve all the time had a private challenge with going too far, and it’s not all the time within the work finest curiosity. Nowadays I attempt to make smaller, extra concise adjustments, however that’s simpler mentioned than completed! I’m nonetheless all the time shifting the composition and the colors till it feels proper. The motion of portray, the dance of it, is form of a steadiness between the unconscious and the acutely aware thoughts. If you end up making adjustments from solely an analytical place it’s terrible (for me). The most effective occasions are when the adjustments are virtually instinctual and are clear. One factor occurs after which the subsequent, and I don’t actually need to suppose too exhausting, it simply presents itself. These moments are uncommon although, and in-between them I’m trying, trying, drawing, after which shifting. When it really works finest the portray is in cost and I’m in a transparent sufficient place to belief what occurs. At its worst I miss that time, proceed altering after which should work backwards someway. Generally you get that ‘good 5 minutes’ and every part simply is evident and I’ve had occasions the place a portray is completed as quick because it began. Every thing simply labored out. Getting out of your personal means is essential. There’s a Philip Guston quote I heard lately that I really like; ‘If you end up within the studio portray there are lots of people in there with you – your academics, pals, painters from historical past, critics… and one after the other in case you are actually portray, they stroll out. And in case you are actually portray YOU stroll out’.


Julie Karpodini. Paros.

Paros, 2021
Julie Karpodini
Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm | 47.24 x 35.43 in


Lisa: What’s your favoured floor on which to color, and which paints do you wish to work with?

Julie: I like a really clean canvas, so recently I prime with an acrylic based mostly primer, then moist sand and repeat not less than thrice. The result’s a really clean floor on which paint may be pushed simply. I’ve additionally began stretching the canvas flat on a big panel board, which permits me to alter the composition and scale as I’m going (up to a degree), in order that the ultimate dimensions usually are not selected from the get go. I’m additionally engaged on paper lots nowadays. I simply received a roll of Arches Sizzling Pressed Watercolour Paper which I’ll prime with a transparent acrylic primer. I’m actually having fun with engaged on paper as a result of it provides me a whole lot of freedom with the composition. I can add and subtract to get the dimensions proper and I’m additionally collaging on high. It’s given me a recent begin. Up till lately I solely painted in oil paints. I really like Williamsburg Oil Paints (once I first moved to New York I discovered a bunch of half used Williamsburg Oil Paints subsequent to a rubbish dump in a small wood field, and since that introduction I’ve all the time liked working with them every time I can afford to!). I had a child two years in the past and in the course of the being pregnant I attempted utilizing water-based oil paints, which was enjoyable, and lately I found Flashe Vinyl, which is completely a distinct world for me, and has been very invigorating. I really like the matt high quality of it, and it challenges me suppose in a brand new means, so it’s been a great change. I additionally like that I can oil paint on high of it.


Julie Karpodini. Neil and Eric

Neil and Eric, 2020
Julie Karpodini
Oil on paper, 50 x 41 cm, 19.68 x 16.14 in


Lisa: You will have travelled around the globe as an grownup, learning each within the UK and in New York, and now residing within the mountains in rural Spain. How have adjustments in your atmosphere impacted upon your portray observe?

Julie: The principle means I feel my work is affected is thru my studio house. I used to be very nomadic up till pretty lately and that’s not actually useful for having a congruent studio observe. I’m not somebody that has a straightforward time making work on the go, since I usually work for a very long time on single items. New York was wonderful, (as was the UK) however affording studio house was exhausting, and I saved having to maneuver to extra reasonably priced areas, additional out of the town. In the long run it was very exhausting for me. I got here to Spain, to this village on a residency, and met my accomplice right here. We purchased a big previous residence seven years in the past, primarily due to the wonderful studio areas in it! He’s a musician, so it’s essential for each of us to have this house to create. I feel my work is admittedly growing now, most likely for the primary time! It’s been a protracted gradual journey for me, and I get nearer to the place I wish to be. One other enormous change on this atmosphere is that it permits for reasonably priced little one care. If I lived in NY, I don’t suppose we’d have the ability to survive financially and still have a baby in daycare. As a feminine artist with a baby, having reasonably priced daycare inside strolling distance (and a accomplice that shares little one care with me) has meant that my studio observe has continued comparatively uninterrupted. Residing right here permits me to be in my studio day by day, and to have a great high quality of life. So, the adjustments usually are not actually in material or colors (though I’m certain that subconsciously occurs), however extra within the change to a sustainable life as an artist.


Julie Karpodini. Jenny and Rachel Years Ago

Jenny and Rachel
Julie Karpodini
Flashe Vinyl on paper, 62 x 63 cm | 24.40 x 24.60 in


Lisa: Your work have stunning color harmonies inside them. Are you able to inform us how you choose your palette, and is that this decided earlier than you load your brush and begin placing paint to canvas?

Julie: Thanks! I suppose this pertains to the sooner query relating to beginning a portray. I’m very a lot a colourist, because it actually leads my work. For a very long time, I used to be working with a really broad vary palette, however proper now I attempt to begin with a color thought, usually from a sketch, and I solely put out the colors on my palette that relate. As I proceed, I add what I would like. So sure, it’s decided earlier than I load my brush, however as with every part it’s all the time altering. Proper now, I’m engaged on a big piece with stunning heat reds. The color concord is from a sketch that actually labored, and naturally within the portray it’s completely completely different, so I’ve needed to utterly change my unique thought and discover what may work within the new piece, with utterly completely different colors, however nonetheless remaining conscious of the vitality I appreciated within the sketch. There are a whole lot of fortunate errors, a whole lot of trial and error and in addition a whole lot of instinctual choices made.


Julie Karpodini in her studio in Chelva, Spain 2022


Lisa: Please may you describe your splendid setting for a portray session?

Julie: A super setting? I suppose that might be a full day in my studio with out something to attract my consideration away. We have now a toddler, studio practices and different jobs on the facet. We’re nonetheless renovating our residence (it’s about 200 years previous so I feel the renovations could also be by no means ending) and we’re additionally attempting to arrange a small artist’s retreat – so there are a whole lot of issues happening in life. I’m in my studio each day, for a set period of time, so I actually should be conscientious with the work. I’ve to not be distracted by emails that should be written and electricians that should be known as and so on. There’s a lot I wish to do, however there actually isn’t time for all of it, so the perfect setting is only one the place I can shut the door on every part else and still have continuity and time to see work develop. I’ll not get that in the meanwhile for full days, however I do have an area the place I can attempt to depart every part on the opposite facet of the door for a number of hours, so that’s fairly splendid for me.


Julie Karpodini. Gardener

Gardener, 2018
Julie Karpodini
Oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm | 51.18 x 38.18 in


Lisa: How essential is it to you to obtain recognition by means of competitions such because the Jackson’s Portray Prize?

Julie: It’s wonderful for me! I’ve primarily been fee based mostly for a while, so I don’t actually exhibit lots. The draw back to residing in a distant village and having this wonderful studio is that I’m actually very faraway from the higher artwork world. Jackson’s Portray Prize was an enormous shock for me. To have my work seen and appreciated was extremely validating.


Julie Karpodini. Elvira

Elvira, 2019
Julie Karpodini
Oil on paper, 32.5 x 31 cm | 12.79 x 12.20 in


Lisa: Do you ever get caught with a portray? And if that’s the case, how do you get unstuck?

Julie: I get caught on a regular basis! An excellent night time’s sleep and a recent eye is all the time good. Turning a portray the other way up, or it by means of a mirror could be very useful because it abstracts the weather once more, so you can begin to see in a means that pertains to the portray as a complete and perhaps not a lot what you’re caught on. I’ve mirrors arrange in my studio in order that I’m all the time backing away and it by means of its reflection. If a portray holds collectively the other way up, then I’m fairly pleased with it. If you work on it the other way up you’re compelled to make relational adjustments in response to the portray itself versus rational thought, or what you suppose the portray wants. One other good thing is to eliminate one thing that feels too essential, too treasured. If I’m actually caught the one factor that works is a big change. Opening it up once more in an enormous means. Generally I like one thing and work round it, however can’t get it proper. In the long run the factor I’m working round must go. It’s exhausting at occasions to not be treasured however it’s also the one strategy to get readability, to get honesty. I cycle by means of all of those strategies to attempt to resolve the bigger issues. I’m additionally all the time drawing and portray from the portray. It’s a great way to see new prospects and in addition to see the fantastic thing about the shapes which can be already there however perhaps should be introduced ahead, to make clear the entire. If none of this works, I put the portray away for some time, out of sight, after which after a number of months strive once more. One other factor that may work is to depart it out, however work on one other portray. Generally once I see it out of the nook of my eye whereas I work on one thing else, I’ve an aha second. I lately have began with my work on paper to make any giant color and compositional adjustments on one other piece of paper after which strive it out. I can preserve the work brisker that means particularly with the Flashe paint as a result of it loses lots when it’s overworked. If I can’t make the color change I would like immediately on the paper, I’ll collage it in.


Julie Karpodini. Elvira and Yayi

Elvira and Yayi, 2021
Julie Karpodini
Oil on canvas, 27.5 x 26 cm | 10.82 x 10.23 in


Lisa: Reflecting on the 12 months up to now, how has your creativity developed this 12 months? And the way do you envisage the event persevering with into 2023?

Julie: This 12 months I’ve actually modified some essential points of my work and I’m pleased with the route that it’s headed. I really feel like someway new floor has been damaged. 2023 can be an thrilling 12 months for me as I’ve a solo present on the finish of the 12 months, so that may be a large incentive to remain centered when I’m in my studio!

I’ve an upcoming solo present in 2023 on the Maya Gallery in Tel Aviv.

Observe Julie on Instagram

Go to Julie’s web site


Julie Karpodini. Barry and Michele

Barry and Michele, 2021
Julie Karpodini
Oil and Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm | 39.3 x 39.3 in


Julie Karpodini. Watering

Watering, 2018
Julie Karpodini
Oil on canvas,130 x 97 cm | 51.18 x 38.18 in



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