Happy Birthday Eric and Larissa is Super Cool

Similar to my previous entry "An Ode to Kelly", this is an Ode to Eric and Larissa. Another best thing to happen to me in 2013 is hanging with Larissa and Eric. I’d known them both for several years. Eric and I first met when Matt G, Pat, Matt, Paul and I were making Thesis back in 2008. Eric and his friend Ian came out to a shoot we were holding in my sister’s dorm on Livingston campus. We needed extras to film a party scene and they were helping us out. The partygoers needed to appear to be naturally talking in the background while Matt G was acting out a scene. Eric, Ian and I ended up having a conversation about pizza bagels – a very solid start to any friendship. I met Larissa shortly thereafter when she and Eric had just started dating at Eric’s birthday celebration at Captain Hook’s in Seaside. But this really was a friendship through our mutual friend Matt and it stayed that way for several years... until this summer!
This past June, I was recently and happily single and was looking for any friends who were just down to hang. I was over Matt’s house hanging with Holly, Matt G, Eric, and Jed playing videogames when Eric mentioned that his friends played volleyball every Sunday during the summer. He was throwing the invite out to us and I was psyched. However I wasn’t sure if it was thrown out to me individually or us as a group, still feeling out my new found re-emergence into friend world after the end of my relationship. My ex really didn’t like doing many things with my friends and I was trying to get back into the game... awkwardly I might add and worrying whether people liked me. Ridiculous, I know. Who doesn’t love me?
I should add that I LOVE volleyball. Love, love, love, love volleyball. Nothing better than diving for the ball and getting it over the net. In high school our gym teacher offered us two extra points to your overall grade if you bruised yourself playing volleyball and five extra points if you bloodied yourself. You better believe I got all seven of those points.
Matt and Holly couldn’t go the first week, so I didn’t go. I wanted to but I was feeling uncharacteristically shy and uncertain. The next week I wanted to go so I texted Eric and asked if I could come as my own independent unit. Eric said absolutely. After that I was a weekly regular. Larissa played volleyball too and I remember seeing her and wanting to be friends but feeling out of my element and just hoping she liked me. This volleyball thing was like eighth grade for me I swear. I just wanted the cool kids to like me.
Towards the end of the summer the turn out for Volleyball was lacking and Eric called it off. I was really bummed about this because it was a ton of fun and I didn’t want to stop hanging out with that crew. I guess I had made a good enough impression at that point though and I was invited to a wrestling match at Eric and Larissa’s and then many subsequent football Sundays. Then Larissa received a promotion at her job freeing up her weekends and the friendship started snowballing. I signed up to go on vacation with them the following summer. Larissa helped me make my ice cream cake for my birthday party and then let me drunk cuddle her when she slept over after my party. Eric and I planned a full day Lord of the Rings marathon. Larissa was my date to a holiday party. Eric agreed to read my screenplay and potentially help me make it. We pretty much locked this friendship in.
Now the reason for this Ode to Eric and Larissa: yesterday was Eric’s birthday. We celebrated at Captain Hook’s in Seaside again – bringing this whole thing full circle. Pumped about my new awesome friendships I wanted to do something nice for his birthday and I am poor. So what to do when you are poor? Exploit my talents and paint a sports insignia. Also stop buying so many damn beautiful dresses Julie! The painting cost me nothing but time and enabled me to waste several hours melting my brain in front of the TV. Like I say with most of my paintings because I am ever so modest, this one rules! I finished a week ago and literally all week I have been looking at in my room thinking how flipping great I am at painting. Like seriously, I am amazing. Everyone should be so lucky to win my friendship and get a painting!
Not to forget Larissa in this, I told her I would love to do something for her too. We agreed the Giants logo kind of sucked. She said maybe I could paint her some lemons on 4 by 4 inch canvases. I so graciously told her that I could literally “shit out” those paintings so I would do that anyway and to think of something better.
Larissa, I await your request!
Eric, happy birthday!

So glad we are friends guys!
Heart your friend, Julie

An Ode to Kelly

K.P.K. (Kelly) and Sweet D (Me)One of the best things to happen to me in 2013 was Kelly moved to Red Bank. I kind of already had decided we were going to be best friends and had put some good face time in with her family – I helped her out of a jam on her birthday with her mom and brother and I helped her move into her 3rd floor apartment on a day that was hot as balls in July without any AC with her dad. After that it didn’t take long for her and me to develop a co-dependent heterosexual relationship. We were so enamored with our friendship that we gave ourselves our own celebrity couple name: Jelly (Julie + Kelly). Brangelina got nothing on us!
This year was our first Jelly Christmas together. Naturally I wanted to do something special for her to celebrate the occasion. But what to do? I was going to frame a picture of me and her from my birthday (pictured below). That didn’t seem enough. I wanted to do something a bit more special for my fantastic lady.

One day at work Kelly put a baby picture of herself up at my desk (pictured below). I was looking at it and talking to Renee when it dawned on me. What is something special that I could do for my best friend Kelly? Well, duh! I could paint a celebrity couple painting of us!
So I got to work on it, covertly asking her random questions via text: What is your favorite color? Blue. What is your favorite outfit? Black jeans and a regular v neck shirt. I used knowledge I already had about her – she wears gold jewelry – and I started painting.
When I finally finished it up Sunday night, I was so excited to give it to her but knew I had to wait until our dinner date Thursday. This past Thursday we went to Goldie’s in Asbury and enjoyed a delightful Prix Fixe dinner and exchanged gifts. Kelly, knowing me so well, got me black nail polish and top coat, a jewelry dish for all my new rings (a dish I almost bought myself earlier from Anthropologie. She knows me well!) and a journal. The journal was by far my favorite present. Kelly told me she thought I should start keeping a journal because I have amazing stories. I had to agree with her on that – one day I’m sure my offspring will want to know about the shenanigans their mother got into in her youth.
Then I got to give her my present. I saved the painting for last – first giving her a Markel towel, then vitamin c packs because I don’t like when she is sick,  and then the framed picture of us. I was so excited for the painting. I think I was smiling like a total idiot as I handed it to her. She loved it. She didn’t think it was weird. It was a success!
As with all painting that I do, they require a write up. So this one is an ode to Kelly. I am very lucky to have her in my life and we will be friends forever. Also, she is an excellent wing lady.

Some of the reasons I like Kelly:

-       She’s allergic to Christmas Trees
-       She teaches me helpful life skills – how to season things and how to paint my nails so they don’t chip
-       She likes to dance
-       She knows how to cook
-       She is lactose intolerant so she will go to vegan restaurants with me
-       She encourages me to better myself
-       She is always down to party
-       She likes cuddling on the couch and watch movies
-       We can talk about anything

<------- This picture.

A Shure Wedding

The Parents of the BrideThe Bride and GroomThe Parents of the Groom










Today is a special day. Today my friends Gina and Joe are getting married. I couldn't be happier for them and to be a part of this day. I am the maid of honor - pretty pumped about that. I get to make a speech and I think it's a good one. I get to wear three inch hot pink heels and I think I can walk in them. I also got tapped by the bride and groom to complete three paintings - one of the bride and groom for the sweetheart table, and then one of the parents of the bride and one of the parents of the groom to be given as gifts.

I procrastinated like whoa on these and spent this past week leaving work and immediately going home and painting knowing I had a very specific deadline for their completion. In the end I was able to finish them in time and I think they came out super adorable.

Right now I'm currently sitting in the bridal suite with Gina and the bridesmaid waiting to go get our makeup and hair done. To get in the wedding spirit we are watching Mama. It's going to be an awesome day full of love, laughter, dancing, cute paintings and feral children.

Congratulation Gina and Joe!

Lesson(s) of the Day

Two Junes ago, Megan, Kara and I went to Chicago for a best friend weekend of deep dish pizza, aquariums, and a Cubs game. While we were there, we also went to an art museum.  We wandered in, saw some classic - American Gothic and this diner painting whose name I can't recall.

American GothicDiner PaintingMe and Kara looking cute











Then we stumbled across one of the coolest exhibits I have seen - art by Roy Lichtenstein. I was immediately a fan. Similar to my love of Andy Warhol and Romero Britto - Lichtenstein's art work is colorful and totally unique. Also similar to my love for Warhol and Britto - I can't afford any of his work. But, as with Britto, I can recreate his work.

Drowing Girl by Roy Lichtenstein

Upon seeing Drowing Girl (pictured to the right), I was immediately enchanted. It's Oil and Magna on canvas. I don't know what Magna is, but it sounds cool. Like magma, but art stuff! I don't know exactly why but this painting just speaks to me. Maybe similar to the theme of my last post, I get her. She's beautiful and probably awesome and jerkface Brad has done something to her. Maybe he isn't returning her texts, or is leading her on, or maybe he has decided he no longer wants to do anything with her, and she is drowning, and rather then letting him know she would just drown. The perfect metaphor for dating. Cause dating can be a stupid power game. If someone rejects you, you don't want them to "win" by knowing they upset you. Or you don't want to seem to easy, you have play hard to get. And it's overwhelming and annoying and stupid. We all have moments where it gets like that. And to see a beautiful and just ridiculous piece of art that embodies all that is pretty cool.

So naturally I want this hanging somewhere where I can see it every day and just smile at a little dose of levity. I do think dating is a ton of fun, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself when ridiculous things happen. At my party this past Saturday I was telling some friends about the guy who blew off our date because he "got bit by a tick" and then later tried to flirt with me by using the way he rejected me - singing me the Brad Paisley song "I'd like to check you for ticks". That is dating comedy gold.

So almost 15 months after falling in love with the painting, I have finally sat down tonight to start working on this. I want it to be as perfect as possible so I can hang it in my room next to my Andy Warhol print of the screenprinted guns (its a pink print which makes it girly). So for this one, I sat down this evening and sketched it out to scale on several pieces of paper which I will then cut to use as stencils on the canvas. It's going to be awesome, and I am very excited for this project. I can only hope that I can start dating someone named Brad.

My SketchAnother Sad Lichtenstein GirlClose up













And all this comes to the lesson of the day. While I was working on this, I had another canvas out and started painting something on it. I also have an open wound on my hand from the ice cream cake I made for my birthday. I was finishing it up Friday night with my friend Larissa. We taste testing the Jell-o shots and both had a couple hard ciders. I was a little toasty and decided to scrap the excess ice cream that had melted along the side of the serving platter off with a really sharp knife. I also decided to do this scraping with my right hand in the direction of my left hand. So naturally I cut two of my fingers open. I also ran out of Hello Kitty bandaids today so the wound was just open to the elements as I was painting. I got acrylic paint in my wounds. It was horrible.

LESSON OF THE DAY: Bandage your fingers wounds before painting. Or if you don't have bandaids, just don't get acrylic paint in your cuts.

So that's that. I've grown as a person today and I would also like to share with you that I am in desperate need of a desk (see picture to left). I typed this entire entry while sitting on the floor which reeks of beer because someone spilled a beer on my carpet and I haven't cleaned it up. In fact, that leads me to another lesson for the day.

SECOND LESSON OF THE DAY I JUST REALIZED NOW: Don't be a dirtbag Julie, clean spilled beer up from your carpet.

Yup, productive Monday.


Summer Happenings and the Coolest Kids in Town












A lot of stuff has been going on for me art-wise this summer. My goal was to complete at least 12 paintings before the end of the year. From heart paintings alone, I have far exceeded that number, with roughly 30 paintings under my belt for the year. Not too shabby. Where I need to step up my game is with updating this site. So here it goes, in bulleted form, to update you, my reader, on what has been going on in the art world of Julie:

  • I gained fans. There names are Drew, Mason, and Avery. And they are the coolest kids around. One of my favorite co-workers requested that I do some paintings for her kids. First up was Hatsune Miku for Drew (above - far right), then Charizard and Pikachu for Mason (above - far left), and in the works "a princess in a rainbow dress with a gummy bear on it in front of a castle... verbatim", which I am unfairly to Avery dragging my feet on. However, I should be finished with it by the end of the 3 day weekend. I also have to add, that in addition to them being my fan, I am their fan. They are cool kids. I really want their parents to go on a date night and ask me to "babysit". I say "babysit" because really I just want to hang out with them and talk video games, anime, and Dr. Who and maybe see if they would like watch Fruits Basket, which is only the cutest show ever. Sailor Moon is too big of a time commitment.
  • I farmer's marketed it up in Asbury with That Sounds Delicious. My friend Kara and Jenine make delicious whoopies pies, which you can buy HERE. They invited me to hang with them and try and sell my paintings. I thought this would be a good test run for my September 21 art tent as part a Jersey City street fair. Pictures of my booth and one of my happy customers is below. It went well. I sold 11 paintings and 3 photographs. A lot of them were to friends, but several were to strangers which is always a cool feeling. My art is in the home of someone I don't know and they appreciate it. Pretty cool. The one issue I realized after the fact was that when I thought the canvases cost $4 a piece and was selling them for $10, I was in fact very wrong. The canvases cost about $9.50 a piece after shipping, tax and paint. So, upping that price for Jersey City.
  • I am doing the centerpieces for Gina and Joe's wedding. Their wedding theme is perfect couples. I am doing 15 paintings in my fun little caricature way of these perfect couples. I've done one: John Locke and Ben Linus - pictured below. This is the ONLY painting that will be debuted pre-wedding and you don't even get the final picture, so stick around and check back in November. My negotiated terms for the paintings were I get to pick my table (John Locke table - duh), they buy the canvases, and Gina give me a copy of a picture she took in St. Petersburg of the Church of the Spilt Blood (plus a modest fee that will just be returned to them as a wedding present cause I am the Maid of Honor, and I am doing the shit out of their wedding!)

And that is about it. Everything that is going on in the art world of me. Next week Avery's princess painting will be done so that will be posted, and then come September 21st I will post all the heart pictures I painted. It's going to be heart-nauseating!

My booth at Asbury Park Fresh Kara with her purchase Instagramming my art work! The Perfect Couple



39 Reasons My Dad is the Best: A Father's Day List With Pictures

#3 Message from the Management #5 Dad's stone collection









 1. He leaves disclaimers on things that aren’t working.

2. He is adamant about no talking or texting while driving yet is the only one in the family to get a ticket for talking on his cell phone.

3. Nothing bothers him more than people not refilling the toilet paper drawer. (See photo)

4. Sometimes he tries to fix things and will instead makes them worse – once the toilet flusher was sticking. After he was done working on it still stuck but now the toilet would randomly circulate water.

5. He collects stones and petrified trees. (See photo)

6. In college, his roommate thought he was a spy.

7. He does NOT curse and hates the word “sucks”.

8. He is always there when I need him.

9. He is really, really smart and builds robotics and solar panel chargers for fun. (See photo)

10. He likes playing cards, and always wins at casino. (I would like to win just once!)

#17. Dad and Me eating Dobish Torte #15 Water Fountains #9. Something Roboticy












11. He once pronounced chipotle chip-oat-al.

12. He used to sell kettle corn. (See photo)

13. He cares about animals.

14. He nicknamed our dog Throck-a-Doodle.

15. He bought water fountains for our house. (See photo)

16. He cares about proper grammar.

17. He has a secret candy stash that consists of 3 pounds of chocolate and his justification is that we might randomly want  to make a Dobish Torte. (See photo)

18. He likes mugs. (See photo)

19. He is very generous.

20. He taught me how important family is.


#26 Geodes #12 Kettle Korn #17 The 4.5 Pounds of Chocolate in his stash










21. He used to punish Ellis and me by making us hold our arms out to the side for 5 min.

22. He used to have a fro. See photo)

23. To make sure I wasn’t getting the wrong messages from music videos on MTV, he made me write a report on 10 music videos.

24. He always walks in on the wrong part of the conversation/movie.

25. He likes his socks folded a very particular way.

26. When we go to Illinois, he would make us spend hours searching for geodes. (See photo)

27. He’s easy going.

28. He once asked me to water the chlamydia, er, he meant the chlamydeous (it's a flower).

29. He asks you to do something, and if you don’t, his feeling will be hurt.

30. You better take the recycling out, or else!

#22 Fro #18 Mugs Mom makes him keep in his office










31. One time there was lightning out, and he made me sit in the car for 10 minutes before I could come inside so I didn’t get hit.

32. We are not allowed to shower during a thunderstorm, because again, the lightning might kill us.

33. He has an unnatural 6th Dad sense if anyone has touched the thermostat.

34. He is very concerned with how we heat the pans while making eggs. It's always too high.

35. The dust lint trapper on the dryer is his own personal crusade.

36. He will give us a ride anytime we need, even in the middle of the night if we need it.

37. He loves his kid’s girlfriends, but gives the evil eye to all boyfriends, so Kathryn is good.

38. He told Kathryn once that a metro sexual was someone who had sex on the metro.

39. He is my dad.

Happy Father's Day Everyone!!!

My dad.

MCP 2013: Mario World Map

And this year's Most Challenging Painting award goes to..... MARIO WORLD MAP!!!!

















This painting was so challenging. In theory, it is an awesome idea. An awesome idea from my interent friend Swagman. In completion, it is an awesome painting. In the hours it took me to paint it, it was so flippin' tough! There is soooooooooooo much little detail. I did not mentally prepare myself for this painting. I just saw the idea, fell in love with it, accepted the job, and then started. It took a lot of repainting, abandoning a color because I didn't mix enough, and then mixing far too much. I better paint some things that require green and blue, because I have large yogurt containers full or mixed colors.

Last year, the 2012 MCP painting hands down went to Barretts on the Bay. Both that painting, and Mario, took way longer than I anticipated and took many "I just can't do this today" days. But ultimately, they have both ended up joining the ranks of my favorite paintings ever. They also have both broken the metaphorical wall in my creative mind. At moments in both I thought I couldn't do it. I would give up. It would never be completed and never look good. Yet, they both were completed and (fingers crossed for Mario and Swagman) loved by their owners.

This painting also joins the ranks of paintings that go to people who are not immediate friends or family. I've sold two paintings on Etsy.com to complete strangers. This by no means goes to a stranger, but someone that I have not met in person. I've only met Swagman through the Internets. I, and the Gaming Chronicles crew, met Swagman last year when we did the Sonic Video Game Marathon for Child's Play Charity. He was one of our faithful audience members and really made the marathon a ton of fun for us.

He joined us again this year for the New Vs. Nostalgia Marathon, again for Child's Play, and while in the chat, he and I discussed this exact painting. Two months later, it is complete and sitting on my bedroom floor waiting for me to give it to the good old UPS. And I am so paranoid about getting this to him! The only paintings I have ever shipped have been 8x16 inches. They arrived fine and I probably did not pack them nearly as well as I have packed this one. Nonetheless, this painting is 2 feet by 2 feet, and it was 2013's MCP. So it better get to Swagman safely. I do not want to have to redo it!

Positive shipping thoughts everyone please!

A Gameathon Success!

KirbyCrashmanWaddle DeeMegaman








This past weekend was the Gaming Chronicles Nostalgia vs New Video Game Marathon. A group of friends and I played video games for 84 hours straight while streaming it over the internet to raise money for Child's Play Charity. And raise money we did! Over $1,600!! Child's Play's mission is to get video game systems and games into hospitals for children who are ill so that the hospital is not such a scary place. So what better way to raise money than to play video games. It was a weekend of tons of laughs, a Reddit Internet Flash Mob, Megaman the musical, and little to no sleep.

Punchout Streaming LiveI joined Thursday night after a pretty big day at work. I walked in on a total life high ready for more. I was there as the resident Gaming Chronicles staff artist. I was going to paint live as prizes for those watching online and donating. Painting is the only thing that got me through the first night. Planning to stay up the whole night, I was about ready to tap out at 2 AM. I pushed through, knocked out Kirby and Megaman, then took a quick 2 hour nap from 4:30 am to 6:30 am, then got back up to be Ian's (aka Grenn Balze) relief as he took off to work. Matt aka Capital M and I rang in the morning - me painting, him playing Kirby's Dreamland (nostalgia). Once this was beaten, Matt, Oliver, Holly and I worked our way through Kirby's Adventure (new). We quickly all agreed this was the cutest game ever. In multiplayer, if say Kirby (Oliver) got health, he could hug Waddle Dee (Holly) or Menonite (me) and share health. Cutest thing EVER. At this point we had made some new friends - shout out to Farronox, our official Quote Technician. He started up Gameathon Quotes, tweeting the more hilarious and cracked out things we said in our sleep deprived gaming states. Once this game was done, Holly donated to get the customized Waddle Dee painting pictured above.

Later Friday night I got to play Spyro (my fave!) and amuse the masses with my temper tantrums and spazz like gaming. The real highlight of the night was when our good friend Tom Hanley came over to play Punchout, a game requested and donation paid for by our friend Boy Named Sue, who was back from last year. Tom Hanley beat the game, but had a hard time defeating Mr. Dream. The rematch was scheduled for Sunday night.

Saturday during the day - stuff happened. To be perfectly honest I think this was the most cracked out day for us all. The no sleep of Thursday and Friday was catching up to us, as can be seen in this picture of Jed, asleep amisdst all the mattresses. Naps were occurring left and right, anyway possible. The only painting I was able to do Saturday was the Crashman painting above commissioned via donation from Matt.

Matt hugging a blanket with 925 viewersSaturday night - none of us saw coming. The first day Matt, Joe, Holly, and crew had promised if we had over 10 viewers they would do a happy dance. Goal achieved, they set the bar higher. Over 100 viewers we would put on Megaman the Musical. Not a likley goal, unless... INTERNET FLASH MOB! Late Saturday night into Sunday morning, little unsuspecting Gaming Chronicles marathon had made their way to the front page of UStream (the site we were streaming through). As Ian played Metroid the viewers started jumping. 6, 10, 20, 80, 120! Megaman the Musical was happening. It didn't stop there. As we were singing and dancing, the number over viewers rose to over 925. Nothing like making a fool of yourself to a huge group of people! It was hysterical and one of the funniest things I've been a part of in a long time. In walked user "Le Reddit Army". I was totally out of my element with what was happening, not being as Internet savy as those who would stage an internet flash mob, I simply sat back, laughed, and sang opposite Matt when called upon. I can only imagine what those 925 people were thinking. I'm sure they thought it would just be people sitting around playing video games. Instead they got us, dancing.

After techincal difficulties during the day, this was definitely a boost to our spirits. We got Internet Flash Mobbed!!! Cool.

Sunday, we ended on a strong note. There were two paintings left for me to do. The only thing that kept me sane Sunday morning was the fan input painting. I had a heart painting that had yet to be completed and I put it out to the viewers to decide what should be painted in that heart. The winning idea ended up being Matt's - Tom Hanley and Mr. Dream - the ultimate matchup. But not just Tom Hanley, the idea was to get a picture of Mr. Dream and one of Litlle Mac, then put Tom's hair on Little Mac's face. And I did it. And I laughed the entire time time because it was just too good!

Little Mac and DocTom Hanley is my Punchout Hero

Mr. DreamTom Hanley is Little Mac










We decided that rather than raffling this off to the lucky donator, this painting needed to find a home with everyone's punchout hero Tom. It was presented to him an encouragement to defeat Mr. Dream. Which, to make this article totally anti-climatic, I have no idea if Mr. Dream was defeated. I had to leave. Work Monday was already going to be tough enough after barely sleeping all weekend, but if I stayed till then end on the last night, I would be truly dead. I went home early and went to bed, satisfied from an amazing weekend of amazing friends, charity and painting. My goal of at least 1 painting a month for 2013 was already half way there. In one weekend I completed 6 paintings. The last one not shown here, it was decided that we would present it to Mike and Jerry at PAX 2013. That was my amazing guy friends' idea, to hopefully help bolster me to artist stardom through some PAX exposure.

The coolest thing about that was Monday we still recieved more donations. We had already passed our 2012 record of $1,230. Through more generousity Monday from family members and Gaming Chronicles friend Swagman, we were able to raise a total of $1,625. Not too bad for a group of friends doing something they love.

The Doctor is Retired

A couple weeks ago, my friend Christine Rochelle asked me to do another painting. My first painting I did for her was last year for her now fiancée (congrats again!) of him fishing at Cuttyhunk Island. This year she needed a painting for her Mom's retirement as a school counselor. Her mother had an image of Lucy on her office door reading "The Doctor is In". Christine wanted a painting of it saying "The Doctor is Retired".

Not only was this painting a ton of fun, but it was an interesting task to have to not paint straight lines. Generally my paintings have very straight black outlines. This time I had to make my hand shake. While this is relatively easy task, it was very strange. For once I didn't mind if someone came in and sat on the bed next to me while painting. In fact, this time is was encouraged.

Upon handing it off, I couldn't have been happier with this painting. It was a good one to end 2012. I really didn't paint much this year. This makes #8 for the year. Whereas 2009, 2010 and 2011 I averaged about 28 paintings a year. I'm going to try and focus on art again in 2013. I don't know why I lost focus this year. Some of it could be work related, I got a significant promotion in June. It's more demanding, but also more rewarding. I also was involved in several weddings. While a ton of fun, are also a lot of work.

2013 has to be a year of better balance in my life. Balance of work, weddings, fun, and painting. My goal is at least 12 paintings for the year. One a month. I think I can handle that and hopefully continue to create things that can be part of others homes.



Julie Britto Strikes Again

Yet another Romero Britto painting assignment! The first one I did was a Britto inspired engagement painting (click here to see). This time an old soccer friend wanted a replica of an actual Britto painting. Steph sent me the below picture of the painting and asked if I could do it. And I did.

My Interpertation

Romero Britto Painting












It was a great painting to work on and great way to kick of my inspiration coming back. I had a hard time painting this past year. Some of that I think had to do with not liking my painting space as much. Let's face it, an apartment that nearly kills you with Carbon Monoxide does not inspire imagination or creativity. It kills it, almost literally.

Being back at my parents has been great so far. I moved out for a year, had a great year being on my own, but ultimately I decided it was too hard to do it on my own. And I was lonely. I decided to move home for a year until I could a. find a roomate (Kathrny maybe?) b. buy a house (am I ready for that much adulthood?) or c. just needed to get out.

So far so good at home. I have a bigger room (with heat! and cable!!) so my prospects are clearly looking up. And the room has lead to a great painting already. I think this Britto assignment has been an omen of good things to come. 

I do miss my apartment and being on my own, but having laundry at my fingers, my dog and someone to cook me dinner occasionally really kicks but. And I can save money! Which is good because of potential life choice b. buy a house and also I am finally going to make my movie. I am currently in the process of collaborating with some talented people and will hopefully have a script written and a production under way. All in all life is pretty good. I leave you with some fun recent pictures. My new favorite of Ellis and me sticking our heads out the window during Hurricane Sandy.


Out with the Old, In with the New (Ideas - Hopefully)

I have been creatively blocked for a while now. I'm not sure what is it. I haven't felt like painting in a while now. I try, but just nothing wants to come out. I have no new ideas like I used to. I try to paint, and I just end up throwing out several canvases because what I have painted is just total rubbish. 

I'm not sure what it blocking me. Is it too many other things going on in my life? Not enough time for myself? Pressures of work and life? Or is it my space? I've had several issues with my apartment. I do love it and think it is great first apartment, but the Carbon Monoxide issues to say the least, I think has created a non-creative environment. 

"Cake for Everyone" 2010 So cute and happy. Belongs in your house!"La Planete Sauvage"













My lease ends September 30th. I'm leaving soon. My sister Kathryn and I are going to move in together. I am really looking forward to this.

One: I don't like living by myself. I get lonely and create scenarios in my head where some one breaks and and tries to murder me. To assuage these fears, I sleep with a switch blade by my bed and I create obstacles in front of doors so if someone breaks in I will hear them trip over/smash a door into my obstacle, then I will stab them. Seems like a good plan to me! 

Two: I feel like my apartment blocks creativity. There is just not a space that I like to paint in. My parents house I had my bedroom, the garage, the TV room, the basement. I created great things there. I don't here. Not sure why that is at all. It worries me I've just lost it. I know I haven't, I just have to get back there and make that a focus.

One of the ways I am trying to get there is I really want to get rid of some of my old artwork. I've had it for too long just sitting around, reminding me of what I can't create any more. So I post this here, if you are looking for some artwork, check out my etsy store here. If you like something but you don't want to pay what I have it listed, let's chat. There are certain pieces I will not bargain on. They help me create and I want what I want for them. However, there are several other pieces I would prefer to pass on. If it speaks to someone out there, and you think it would bring some harmony or life to your living space, I would like you to have it for what you can pay for it. I know times are tough for all of us out there. Growing up and becoming an adult is hard, scary and expensive. Paying for art is not always something that factors into the equation. I get that, and I want to get rid of some of my artwork and not have to move it with me to the next place. Below (and above) are some of the pieces I specifically would like to get out of my collection, so if you want it, make me an offer!

"Bryan" 2008 - I'm over the ex, I'm over the painting. Do you want to pay me some money for it?

"Untitled #1" 2008 - Isn't the blue just so calming? And look at that curly cue! Don't you want this somewhere that isn't my apartment leaning against a wall behind my unused rock band drums?

"The Series"Take one. Take them both.






"Weighing the Gold, Watching You Sink" 2010 - Purple and Gold, doesn't get more regal than that!"Sunrise of the Phillipines" 2008 - I just don't like this one. I don't have anything creative to say here.

"The Wave" - 2009 - Probably my favorite of these ones, but for the right home, I could be willing to negotiate.


House on the Bay

Markel, my day job, truly supports me both financially and creatively. All my commissioned painting as of late have come from my co-workers and supervisors. My most recent painting above, entitled "Barretts on the Bay", was commissioned by one of my favorite people I work with, Tom. He's really funny, smart, and makes work a better place to be. He brought about what is known around Markel as "Argyle Fridays" (see below - Tom is the one with his leg resting on mine) where anyone who wishes to participate wears some form of Argyle on Friday. Tom is dead serious about it too. Totally silly, totally awesome. 

More to Tom's credit, he is someone at work who has taken a true interest in helping me learn more and challenge me. It seems only appropriate that when he commissioned a painting from me, that too would be something that would challenge me, this time artistically not insurancely. Anyone who looks at my artwork can see I do a lot of abstract or bubbly, heart paintings. Not too much of the realism.

When Tom asked me to paint a picture of his family's beach house that was being rebuilt, I knew I could do it, but I also knew it would be more difficult, take more time, and require me to think more about my painting. Each part of the house was a challenge to paint. The windows, the shading, the trees, the pebble yard. How could I match the color? How could I make the plants look alive? As with most paintings, there was a time I thought it wouldn't come out. And as with most paintings, there comes a turning point that the painting starts to take shape and I can see what it will become. 

I delivered the painting today. Tom loved it. I hope his Father, the intended recipient loves it. And yet again with my art, I find it so cool to give back to those around me and to have something I made become part of their home.

Argyle Friday

Picture of the Beach House

Wouldn't You Me Like As Your Assistant?

This past Christmas I was poor. Really, really poor. Poorer than I've ever been since graduating college and working at my big girl job. There was one reason for this poordom: I had just moved out. 

While it was the best decision of the year, it made the prospect of Christmas presents a bit scary. Especially that now at work I was working closely with my Underwriters and knew I would be getting many bottles of wine. I wanted to give something to them as well, but where there was 1 of me, there were 8 of them. Even baking wise, that was going to get expensive. I decided to exploit myself being an artist. On one hand I could get them all relatively cheap gifts (not accounting for time put in), and perhaps I could get another paid art job from this.

"Heart" "Baxter & Georgie"












At this point, I was also about to get my back surgery again. Bye, bye nerves! Burn those suckers out. This meant I conveniently had 2 days off work to just sit around, watch TV and paint. Not only did I enjoy it, but everyone loved the gifts. One of my younger female Underwriters ran over to my desk and hugged me. It's nice to see that each of my paintings are lovingly displayed in everyone's cubes.

Also, I ended up with another painting job from one of my favorite Underwriters. Said favorite Underwriter commissioned a painting of his family's beach house as a present to his father. It is a challenge, but one I am enjoying and rising to.

Painting I am working"Frylock"


Cuttyhunk Island

Patrick Perrotto is my friend. He is a cool dude. One of my favorites. Someone who has been a fan and supporter of my artwork from the moment I met him. So a few weeks ago when his lovely girlfriend, Christine Rochelle, asked me to do a painting for him as her Christmas present to him, I couldn't have been more excited for the opportunity to paint something for him. To make it better, she was asking me to paint a painting of him.

Pat is a huge fisher. This past year, he took a trip to Cuttyhunk, MA to go fishing with some buddies. Many pictures came out of the trip, but the one that Christine liked most was one of Pat out in the middle of the water, fishing from some jetti rocks that are almost completely underwater. She emailed me the photo and asked me to paint my version of it. 

Here is the picture:

And this is what I came up with:

It was a fun project to work on. First off, it was for Pat. So that ruled. It was also for Christine who, upon hanging out with more and more lately, is one awesome lady. And it allowed me to be a part of their Christmas magic, which was very cool for me.

It was also a challenge. When I got the picture, at first I was like "I can do that!". Two weeks later with the canvas hardly painted and Christmas fast approaching, it changed to "Can I do that?" I knew the most important and challenging part was going to be giving life to the water. I needed it to look like the water was moving, like it was softly crashing into the rocks around Pat as he fished. It took a calming day at my parents house while watching a Law & Order SVU Season 12 marathon to get it. 

After the hand off to Christine, I anxiously awaited the report of how Pat liked it. Christine said after opening only a corner Pat said "You got a Julie painting!", then realized it was him, then walked all around the apartment trying to figure out where to hang it. I can't wait to go to their place and see it too!

Miami Dolphins Painting of Foreboding Doom

One of the larger on-going painting jobs I have right now is for a 7 year old boy's sports themed bedroom. I have 6 paintings I am working of for 6 different teams. The first completed is the Miami Dolphins.

I currently have very mixed feelings about this painting. Why? Because on my Fantasy Football team Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills is my quarterback. The Bills played the Miami Dolphins today. How many points did Ryan Fitzpatrick put up you ask? Over his projected 17.56? NO!!!! 7.96!!!! What is that? Last week he only put up 4.84 out of his 22.51 projected. I didn't care so much because I destroyed my opponent last week 147.14 to 90.34 so Fitzpatrick's shameful showing didn't matter.

It's widely known in my league that my boyfriend runs my team. There are no illusion that I know what I am doing. My first week I accidently dropped Arian Foster thinking I was benching him when he was injured. So when this week Ryan felt I should leave Fitzpatrick in I trusted him. I thought I should put in Alex Smith (my other QB) instead, but no, Ryan said I should leave Fitzpatrick in because Miami's defense was horrible. APPARENTLY NOT!!!! Do I even dare torture myself and look up what Smith put up? Am I that masochistic? Well, another browser is currently being opened on my desktop...

23.38. Ugh.

Whatever. I didn't stand a chance this week anyway. Foster (who I did get back at the cost of Tony Romo and the gain of Fitzpatrick - good decision?) and Brown had a bye. Calvin Johnson didn't do me proud the way he normally does. Michael Bush was the lone star of my team this week. Lucky for Ryan, he picked Bush up for me in a stroke of genius one week. I hate losing.

Winning. That's what I like. Winning. 

Baseball in the Everglades/Strange Days

For those of you who don't know, I work at an insurance company (breaking news, I know). I was recently promoted (more breaking news... not!), and I really, really, really like my job (woo hoo!). Who would have guessed... Julie + insurance = happiness?

One of the perks of my job is that word got out that paint and I have received several commissioned jobs from various Markel employees. The above painting, is probably one of my more meaningful painting as of late. Why you ask? Well, there are 2 reasons.

First, this is the painting that got me really excited about painting again. I am very pleased with it and it was definitely a challenge. I didn't know how I would do at painting the everglades. As I glance up, I can answer: pretty flippin' well.

Second, this painting was commissioned by the president of my branch, and she has ordered 8 more paintings (holla!). This equals more money for immediately, which could not be more needed as I have decided that I am moving out of my parents house in 3 weeks. I've decided the place too, despite having not seen it yet, and I'm so set on it, I've already started packing. This better not fall through...

Anyway, I digress... The second meaningful part continues. Not only has it led to 8 more paintings, it has allowed me to network with the president of my branch, and she is a very cool lady. I now have one more person I like that I work with, but I can further make my mark on my company. She knows me and by knowing me, knows how much I like the company, my future aspirations of moving up, and knows I have a strong work ethic. Pretty cool stuff.

As I am writing this, I am sitting at a counter in the kitchen of Quincy University's Friary (which I just got mayorship of on Foursquare. I'm mayor of the home of God's advocate, can you say the same?) Many of my friends do know my reason for being out here (he's currently playing cards with my sister Martha, thus my typing now). My great Uncle J.J. is a priest who lives and works at Quincy University in Illinois, and he is dying. His doctor's have given him 2-3 months to live, so I am trying to make the most of any time I have left. Yesterday he and I had a few moments to spend alone. We discussed a lot of things, one of those being that I was sad he would not be the one to marry me. We talked about my relationship with Ryan and then he came to say that he had never seen me so happy. Something as simple as this article and him saying this and being here, I agree. I have never been happier in my life and I am grateful for every day. I hope I can always hold on to this feeling, because I can honestly say that every day I am grateful for my friends, my family, my boyfriend, my job, my hobbies, being alive and just everything. I am especially grateful to be here right now, spending time with my uncle.

To end on a happier note, and at my cousin Jennifer's insistence, I want to share a moment that we had this morning, and all surrounds a movie that Jennifer and I found in the Friary last night. Everyone here pretty much goes to bed around 8/9. For us, who stay up a bit later, this is boring. So last night we went to the TV room and tried to find a movie. The Priests' and Brothers' collection is a strange one: Existence, Saw, a copy of The Green Mile and Ali which have not been opened, the entire Golden Girls collection, The Shawshank Redemption and last, and most importantly, Strange Days starring Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, and Juliette Lewis. Jennifer and I decided this seemed like a semi-decent cast and after reading the back covered, we decided, why not? If it was bad we would turn it off after 5 minutes.

We watched 20 minutes of this film. In those 20 minutes of film, this movie was nothing but sex, violence, and drugs, and it was terrible! Why did we watch 20 minutes you ask? WE COULDN'T TURN IT OFF! The entire 20 minutes we were just ripping on this film, and it was hilarious. Why was this in the Friary? Why was this one of the opened films? How many times had they watch this? Why did Juliette Lewis get naked for this film? Why did she roller blade in her underwear? Why did her character roll topless over to this sink and splash water on herself seductively? Is this a move men like? Why was this movie made? As reviewed on IMDB, was the statement that there were "at least five climactic scenes toward the end, which must break some kind of record" true? You can see the many moral and life changing questions we were confronted with. Ellis chimed in with many a hilarious comment, stating that if he was friends with any of this actors, he would continually invite them to hang out to watch Strange Days, saying it was his favorite movie. We postulated that the people involved in the film must regret this and have started a campaign to retract and destroy all copies of this film, naturally overlooking Quincy University's Friary, because seriously, why did they have this film?

This morning, Jennifer brought this up to JJ. We had to know why they owned this film. JJ pleaded with us not let anyone know of this blight against the Friary's name. Amidst laughter, he charged me, as Mayor of the Friary to keep the PR up and not let this leak out. But as Mayor of the Friary, I can not be derelict in my duty and not inform the world of this horrible movie.

All in all it was delightful morning of laughter shared with our family, with our Uncle JJ. and one of the memories that, if I were Ralph Fiennes, would use that weird drug S.Q.U.I.D to recall later.

In closing, I'm pleased with painting and, why was Strange Days in the Friary?


Adventure Time!

 8 by 16 Inches, 2011. ADVENTURE TIME can be purchase from my Ety.com account - PURCHASE HERE.

I've been trying to finish this painting for at least 6 months. Last week, I was on vacation and planned to do nothing with my time. Just sit on the couch and veg. I had been so tapped out with painting, having consistent commission jobs since March that I just needed to walk away from painting. It wasn't fun anymore. I felt as though I left one job to come home to another. I was so against painting for a while, that I haven't done write ups on any of them, and the one write up I did was completely half-assed and I couldn't have cared less. It is most likely full of grammatical and spelling errors, and I just didn't care to re-read it.

Being on vacation and on break from painting for a while was great. There was no pressure to complete a single painting by a certain day. Apparently that was all it took. My desire to paint returned almost immediately. I finished a painting for Ryan that I have been working on for at least 8 months (the Mets logo). Then I started a new painting. And then I sat down and finished the long awaited (possibly be me only) Adventure Time! painting pictured above. It helped that the painting I had finished, Florida Gators, kind of rocked and can be checked out HERE.

I am ready to get back to painting. I have 8 more commission paintings in line. And several owed paintings that I would like to start on. However, I need to approach these differently this time. I have a job. I have a life. Priorities change and events you can not count on pop up. The enjoyment that I get from painting, I refuse to ever compromise that again by not giving myself the time I need to complete a painting. I want to always want to paint. It was a scary couple months. I really was not enjoying it anymore. Luckily my last commission painting, which I will do a write up on shortly, kind of brought it back. I'm ready to move forward and to find new inspiration and motivation. 

I also plan on doing more Adventure Time paintings, cause this one kind of rocked. And I do love Marceline the Vampire Queen!


In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle










Yet another of my Markel commissioned painting. These paintings were for my co-worker Melissa who is currently my #1 customer by a long shot. After these 4 paintings her total commission number is at 12 paintings. She has been a huge supporter of me over my carreer at Markel. When she wants her child's room decorated she thinks of me. She appreciates a part of me that is so important and she helps to foster it by continuing to commission jobs from me. As I said, very cool. I like that I can have these relationships with people. That we can touch each others lives' in small and different, but highly profound ways. 

I'm not really in a writing mood at all today, but wanted to get this up. These paintings I did based on this label for Cocalo Baby Nali Jungle Removal Wall Appliques. I think I may have found my niche - children's painting.

Got kids? I can't paint them something!

Art + Facebook = A Marriage of Convenience (P.S. Riley is the cutest kid ever)

I hate facebook. I am just not a fan anymore. First it was the snow and everyone's comments. You're trapped in you house and can't survive without the government plowing your street, I get it. Just wait till technology fails and you have no where to complain. See how that goes for you. Second, everyone feels like it is their forum to spout out their belief, regardless of how ignorant or how much no one cares. Third, I'm just over it. I seriously ponder de-activating on a regular basis, but one thing holds me back: ART.

I can't deny it, this world is all about networking and facebook is great for that. I have received several art commissions from facebook. Like my most recent painting:

Riley, 2011 
It all stemmed from the engagement painting for Brooke and John. As I do after completing a painting, I post a blog about it, showing off the painting, telling the story about it, and any thoughts I feel are relevant and worth sharing at the moment. Whether you agree is of no importance. This was no different with Brooke and John, and to ensure that people actually see that there is an update to my site, I posted it to my profile on facebook. Not sure how it got to my future client as I am not friends with her on facebook, but it did, and I couldn't be happier.
Riley, so you can agree on her cuteness.I was sitting at work on day when I got a phone call. It was the mother of my old co-worker and film co-star Kristine. She had seen the post through somewhere, which is awesome that apparently I am advertising and accessible to people other than my very carefully selected facebook friends (Not! I have no idea who several of my friends are. You could send me a request and I would assume I met you somewhere and just say yes - unless you are a creeper, then I will detect it and delete you!).

Anyway, I was asked by Kristine's mother Doreen to come over for lunch and discuss a painting for her granddaughter Riley. I went and was immediately dropped into a childhood world of Wonderpets, Yo Gabba Gabba and Elmo. It was a cool project. My artwork and style really caters to paintings for children's rooms. I also learned I can paint Guinea Pigs, really fraking well.
I had a secret spy at the party too, my friend Lisa, who knew about the painting and reported to me about Riley's reaction to the painting. She said upon opening it, Riley, the cutest little 2 year old (look to you left and nod your head in agreement), looked at it and just said "Wow". I think that says it all right now. I nailed it.
It was a fun project. Although I don't see Kris as much as I used to when we worked together every day in the good old Markel fileroom (or as much as I would like to for that matter) it was nice to be able to be involved in something that was going to be a part of her daughter's life. And it was nice to be involved in something that would mean something to her. She's a wonderful person and she has a wonderful family and it's just amazing to be able to be a part of that.
That's really what I love about art so much. Through a gift that was given to my the universe, my own determination, God, or sheer luck of my genetic makeup (thanks mom and dad!), I am able to be a part of other people's lives in a really profound way. I am able to give them something that makes them happy, and I hope, makes them smile every time they look at it. That is what I feel art does. It brightens the world we live in. I feel so blessed that this is a gift I have been given and am glad I am able to share it with my friends and their families.

In sumation: Art = Good, Facebook = a necessary evil. I will now post this to Facebook.