"As a contemporary landscape painter working in oils and encaustics, I aspire to convey not only the scene but also the moment and mood. The moment is fleeting but the painting allows us to live in that moment a bit longer, to linger, to reflect, to contemplate, to enjoy.
I am inspired by the interplay of light on the landscape, which is ever elusive and always changing. Painting softly allows me the opportunity to recreate that one particular special moment when the land, light and atmosphere seamlessly fuse.
Reflecting a serendipitous moment in time can be, however, a deceivingly slow and deliberate process. Both of the media I prefer, oils and encaustic, involve applying layers upon layers of paint. And even though encaustic, painting with hot pigment-colored wax, is known as an especially process-intensive medium, every layer spontaneously changes the piece, so it evolves over time with a life of its own. I find this element of working intriguing.
Simultaneously, my work in oils is highly influenced by my early classical training-- particularly the study of light on form. Each landscape is painted in transparent layers with sometimes up to 40 layers of paint in order to recreate the subtle play of light on the landscape as well as to control the incremental changes in tonality.
As an artist, I approach each painting believing that it is not enough to paint the literal view. My goal is to also capture the essence of the landscape and hopefully connect you viscerally to that place and time."
Studying art in college helped prepare Julie Houck for 17 years of traveling the world as a professional location photographer. Houck’s travels throughout Europe, Asia and across the United States during her career as a photographer reinforced and expanded her knowledge about composition and instilled in her a fascination with the importance of light.
In 1995, Houck decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a painter. “I decided to redirect and pursue what I truly loved.” Now as a contemporary landscape painter working in oils and encaustics, Houck aspires to capture not only the scene but also the moment and mood. In order to do this, Houck has continued her study of the classical principles of directly observing color, light and form in nature.
She has studied with contemporary realist painters at the Atelier of Classical Realism in San Francisco with David Hardy, the Academy of Fine Art in Seattle with Anthony Ryder and most recently, in France, at the L’Ecole Albert Defois with Ted Seth Jacobs. Houck studied en plein air with John Cosby, Kevin MacPherson, Don Demers and Kim English.
Houck’s landscapes reflect the influence of these artists as she hones her classical technique of painting in numerous transparent layers in order to recreate the subtle play of light on the scene. Her desire to capture the essence of the landscape is evolving into compositions dissolving into only the barest, most minimal components—the sky, horizon and land. These larger works are taken from smaller more reactive plein air works that serve as points of departure for the more complex studio imagery.
An award winner at the National Paint America Competition, Houck has also been a recipient of the David Warren Memorial Scholarship Grant, a Hawaii State Foundation of Culture and the Arts Acquisition Award as well as many exhibition prizes for painting.
Houck’s work is part of the permanent collections of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Hawaii State Art Museum. She was one of the featured artists at the commemorative Artists of Hawaii exhibition at the Honolulu Academy of Art in 2000 and is an invited artist in the World Tour of Contemporary Landscape Artists.
A Signature painter of the American Impressionist Society, Plein Air Painters of Hawaii and International Plein Air Painters, Houck’s works are increasingly being displayed at prominent galleries in Hawaii and on the U.S. Mainland. She has been published in International Artist, Southwest Art, Maine Magazine, HI Luxury and American Art Collector magazines.
A popular and well-respected instructor, Houck teaches plein air painting In Maine, on Maui, the mainland and in Europe.