I recently had the pleasure of interviewing artist Julia Osterc Loving Rd. Her art and mine are featured in a book/journal that just launched today, WARRIOR SOUL: a journal to inspire your fiercely alive whole self. Link at the end of this article. :)
I thought it would be great to ask Julia a few questions to get to know her better.
1. How did you get into art in the first place? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?
I recently called myself a "born again artist," while having a discussion with a classmate and that seems to describe my experience pretty well. As a child, I remember loving art. I can recall one Christmas when I got one of thos big crayola art sets in a case with lots of crayons, colored pencils, paints, etc. I was thrilled with this. Unfortunately, I don't think I picked up a crayon or even doodled with a pen much after elementary school until I finally had children of my own to play with and teach how to hold a crayon.
I fell into the role of being straight "A" student and people pleaser and doing what others said I should be doing without ever trying to listen to the whispers in my heart. They were there all along. I was valedictorian and went on to get a master's degree all while just following others' suggestions for what would make me successful and land me a decent job.
When I had kids and chose to leave my prior career behind to be a stay at home mom, everything changed. That's when I started playing with art supplies again, but still only with my kids.
When my mom passed away in 2010 after losing the battle with ovarian cancer, my world was turned upside down and inside out. That's when I started creating again for the sake of creating and for healing. That's when I stated Loving Rd in her memory. That's when I found that art could lift me up and help me process the grief and brokenness and turn it into something beautiful. I could acknowledge the bitter aspects of life while still choosing to focus and be grateful for the sweetness. Instead of turning to anti-depressants or sleeping pills when I struggled with grief and insomnia, I turned to art.
I found my way back to the joy of creating that I had long forgotten. I found mysterious messages coming through the art to speak to my heart and soul. I found a way to honor my mother's memory and her love of life. I can hear the echo of her love and joy and vitality coming through in my art. I knew she would want me to teach my kids to love life, as she had shown me, and not focus on the grief and pain. I knew in my heart that I had to get through the grief, the tears and the fears and let wonder and love guide our lives. Art, including writing and journaling has been a huge part of being able to do that.
Julia and mom
Julia and happy hands!
2. What are your favorite tools to use and surface to work on?
I adore them all! I’m drawn to play and experiment with anything that can be used for expression, including found and natural items, recycled and re-purposed items, along with more traditional art supplies. I’m currently loving the magical flow and unpredictability of water and acrylic inks on canvas, metal, and wood. Here are a few works in progress.
Yet, my go-to tools can change as fast as my mood and the crazy weather changes here where I live in the southern Blue Ridge mountains. It depends on which way the wind blows. I’ve also recently enjoyed making festive clay holiday ornaments and some with inks on recycled canning jar lids. :)
3. Where to do you see your art evolving?
I’m currently hosting two online collaborative e-courses and have loved the process of putting my material together. It’s like all these other past parts of me, many from so long ago they feel like past lives, have finally come together in a harmonious and meaningful way to enable this art development.
I hope that I’ll be able to participate as a guide in many more online art courses. I’m a guest artist guide in the upcoming Mixed Media Mythology hosted by Sarah Leonard. All courses I’m involved with are listed here: https://lovingrd.wordpress.com/art-school/.
I also hope to share and reach many more people in an inspirational way with the art that flows through me. I’d love to fill more homes and lives with smiles and soul food via artistic prints and products. I want to inspire the kind of energy and vibes that have touched me from the art of others, and now from my own creative process.
I’ve had visions of co-hosting creative gatherings, both locally and around the world, and that both excites and overwhelms me a bit. I’ve had book ideas as well. I have many scribbled and passionate notes in several journals about all of this. :) Thankfully, the well of inspiration seems to be flowing freely so I hope that divine energy will work with me and continue to guide and bless this path while still allowing time, attention, love, and provisions for my family.
4. Who is (are) your fave artist(s) and why?
Now, this is a really tough question for me because I sincerely appreciate every voice and soul and think that we are all artists. My kids and my nieces have that special child’s fingerprint in all that they do, which I adore. When I first started Loving Rd, I envisioned their art being featured as well and I have collaborated with them on a few pieces that have later been made available as prints and printed on mugs and tote bags, too. :) The sweet souls that have participated in the collaborative courses I’ve hosted (Art of Gratitude and Brave Boots, Brave Hearts) are making my heart sing with their lovely creations. My husband fills our home with the most beautiful music that feeds my soul (he’s playing the piano as I'm writing this!). He even let me do the artwork for his album.
In my home I have art by Josephine Wall, Kelly Rae Roberts, Tracy Verdugo, Alena Hennessy and others. In addition I have framed my children’s and my niece’s art. My Grammie has been a painter all her life (she’s in her nineties now,) and I’m grateful to have special paintings in our home like the watercolor she did of a postcard I sent her from Austria when backpacking across Europe.
I love the vibrancy of Van Gogh and have been blessed to visit museums featuring many more of the greats, like Rembrandt and Picasso in Europe along with viewing art at the Louvre. I also very much appreciate the beautiful art created by indigenous cultures all over the world and across the ages. I’m grateful that my parents collected art from our travels and many cultures, art that filled our home as I was growing up. I can even call my cat an artist and adore the gesso footprints he’s left on the sidewalk by our front porch. I see nature as a spectacular artist and love both manicured gardens and wild forests, rocks, and waters. Obviously, I view all of life as art and all of existence as creative.
Yet, if I had to choose a favorite it would be my momma, who taught me the art of gardening, exploring, playing, living and loving, in addition to buying me crayons.
5. What are some suggestions and inspiration you can give to artists just starting out expressing themselves?
The same advice I give myself over and over.
Trust your own voice and hands, and the divine to meet you there.
Wonder what would happen if I tried this or that? Look at those awesome lines the shadows are making, etc., PLAY, get messy and experiment A LOT!
All shapes and subjects and inspiration and places and colors are fair game for all of us!
Practice and Play makes Possible!
6. We are currently both contributing artists to the new book, Warrior Soul, available now on Amazon. Would you please share a bit about your contribution to this offering?
I call it ‘warrior within’ and would like to share a bit about what ‘warrior’ means to me. When I use the word warrior here, it is not to describe a military soldier. It is more about how we greet life, especially the aspects that can be painful, such as abuse and pity. It is about finding strength within to keep greeting life with open arms in spite of being cracked, wounded and broken at times. It’s about getting to know ourselves, taking the time and effort to listen and look within, to have the courage to follow our hearts, to trust the divine light in each of us. It is about the printed ideas on my favorite pint glass: Dare, Risk, Dream. Now that I’m writing this, I realize that these ideas are what inspired my Brave Boots, Brave Hearts e-course.
I first came across an idea/definition of a warrior that resonated with me from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I found the following description online at http://www.toltecspirit.com/:
“The quest of a Spiritual Warrior is for Personal Freedom. Personal Freedom means freedom from fear, illusions, and the fear based beliefs in the mind. In essence it means to win the war over the beliefs in the mind. It is with Personal Freedom that we are free of the human condition of emotional suffering. Spiritual traditions around the world have their own names for this state of awareness including nirvana and heaven. It is a state that is simply described as living your life with unconditional love, gratitude, and respect, for your self, and for others.”
I might add to be free from self pity, guilt, and grief, which are the scars that have affected me most personally… to find ways to thrive in harmony with one’s inner selves and all of creation; all that IS. If this kind of warrior ‘fights,’ it is for wisdom, presence, peace, freedom and harmony.
I wrote a blog post sharing the story of this specific piece, along with a dedication here:
Link to purchase Warrior Soul book/journal. CLICK HERE.
Thank you so much for interviewing me, Maria! Brave Blessings, Julia
Thank you Julia for sharing something about your art and life with my readers! :)
You can connect with Julia on social media via these links:
Links to all Shops from here: https://lovingrd.wordpress.com/shop/
I hope you liked this glimpse of an artist's life!