A LOVE OF NATURE:
JULIE SWINTON FISHER
It is Fisher’s love of nature and her desire to be creative that landed her chasing her dream to be a full time artist. However, it was a career as a Paralegal that lead her to paint.
Fisher was born in Detroit, MI, and lived in the suburban areas around Detroit until high school. She was the middle child, with an older and younger brother. At the age of 13, her mother remarried and she gained a brother and sister. It was at this time in life that the family moved to White Lake, Michigan. Fisher hung out with her siblings and friends, playing baseball, riding bikes, swimming, boating, ice skating, fishing and doing what kids used to do before the internet. She began being creative early in life. Fisher liked to draw, sew, macramé, crochet, paint rocks and experiment with other creative activities. When she was in high school, she took an art class and learned that she loved to sculpt, carve, draw, paint and make jewelry. Fisher also loved music, and sang in choir, played a flute and a violin.
Although Fisher’s mother was not artistic or creative at all, her father was a designer and liked to work with leather, macramé, throw some paint on a canvas (literally) and he was quite creative. Fisher’s step father was a musician and played drums. Her younger brother followed in his Dad’s footsteps and still plays the drums. Fisher’s oldest brother sings, acts and is a great writer. So for a mother who, in her own words, did not have a creative bone in her body, all three of her children are artistic.
When Fisher was in her early 20’s, she worked as a Paralegal. It was her job as a Paralegal which led her to taking oil painting lessons. A co-worker of Fisher’s would notice her at her desk, sketching on the corners of documents. The co-worker suggested that Fisher come to an oil painting class with her. Fisher took her up on the offer, and her very first painting seemed so natural and she totally enjoyed herself. Fisher was hooked. Fisher continued to take lessons off and on for about five years.
Once Fisher started her family, like most mothers (who also worked), she had very little time for painting. Once her sons were grown, she began painting on a more regular basis. Although her sons were heading off to college and she was painting again, life took another curve. Fisher had a niece that was in the Foster Care system, so she decided to adopt her niece. Her niece is special needs and takes a lot of time to raise, but Fisher makes use of the time while her daughter is in school and spends the day painting in her home studio in Goodyear, AZ.
Fisher said her inspiration comes from nature, so she is never at a loss for what to paint. She loves sunsets, flowers, mountains, oceans, animals, cloud formations and trees. Fisher take photographs almost daily. She loves the way shadows are cast and the way light hits objects. When asked why she chose nature as her subject, she said “I am not sure if I chose my subjects or they chose me. I have tried to paint buildings, people, still lives and other subjects, but my love of nature always wins over. There is something special about the feeling I get when I am painting a flower; the paint just magically flows on the canvas with such grace and ease, I know that I am meant to paint them.”
Fisher’s style is realism and she paints with a lot of thin layers, glazing and using dry brushing techniques. She said she believes she began to paint in thin layers in case she did not like the result. Painting thin allowed her to cover up areas easier than if the paint was on thick. Fisher said that if she put a large amount of paint in an area on the canvas, all of a sudden the blender in her surfaces, and she begins spreading the paint around, blending it in.
A few of her favorite masters are Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe. Fisher said that she attended the Monet exhibit in Phoenix several times. Each time, she would go home and attempt to paint like Monet, in an impressionistic style. She decided it just was not for her. Fisher admired O’Keeffe for obvious reasons, as she too loves to paint flowers. When Fisher began to paint, Thomas Kinkade’s work was everywhere. She admired the way he captured light. She loved all of the beautiful trees, flowers and houses that Kinkade painted and she loved all of the details he put in his work. Fisher began to paint with a lot of detail in her work. She is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and said that she would work on a painting forever, picking it apart and making sure every little detail was perfect. However, in the past few years, while taking lessons from Johannes Vloothuis, she began to realize that sometimes less is better. She began to paint more “painterly”, instead of trying to make a painting look like a photograph, she began to leave out some of the unnecessary details. Fisher credits Vloothuis with teaching her a lot of important lessons about composition.
While Fisher’s portfolio is almost all realism, she also has some abstract paintings. She indicated that she really enjoys the process of an abstract, and it is a totally different experience. Fisher indicated that she plans to continue to learn, to grow and to evolve as an artist.
When Fisher is not in her studio painting or taking care of the marketing end of the art business, she enjoys baking. She has quite a reputation for having the best brownies and her family and co-workers have come to rely on her to bake brownies for special occasions.
You may also find Fisher at a local flea market or antique mall, as she enjoys interior decorating. She finds one of a kind objects to use in decorating, as well as beads and stones which she uses to make jewelry.
The only thing that Fisher has done for as long as she has been painting, is working as a Paralegal. Although she works very little in the legal field at the present time (trying to switch to full time artist), she still has a few attorneys that she works for. The Paralegal work is perfect, there is no set schedule and she works from home, in between the layers of paint drying. The legal work allows her to buy more art supplies. Fisher indicated that although her work as a Paralegal has nothing to do with art, it is how she found her way to oil painting. She credits her legal career with teaching her to be organized, resourceful, task oriented and helpful to others. All of these traits help her with the business end of being an artist.
Fisher can also be found teaching acrylic painting at Michael’s. She loves to share her love and knowledge of painting with others. She especially loves to teach children, as she hopes it will encourage them to be creative. She also hopes it will instill a desire in all to keep learning and to enjoy the journey.
Many customers have told Fisher that her paintings look so real and that the flowers look like they are coming right off of the canvas. Fisher said that many people admire her paintings and tell her they are beautiful and that she is very talented. “Little do they know, it has taken a long time and a lot of practice to get this talented. I just laugh, because no one is just born talented, it takes a lot of work. However, this is the kind of work that I love! I hope to keep working and producing paintings that others love too.”
Fisher tries to give back to the community by donating her artwork to various nonprofits and organizations. In turn, these organizations auction her paintings to raise money. Close to her heart are the Chrysalis Academy, 4H Diamonds in the Ruff organization and Arizona Bass Federation.
Fisher has paintings in galleries and competes in juried shows around Arizona. She belongs to the West Valley Arts Council (WVAC), Arizona Call to Art, and What’s Happen’n Art Movement (WHAM). You can view her work at her website, JulieFisherFineArt.artspan.com”.
Whats Happen'n Art Movement
West Valley Art Council
Call to Art
Art is Alive 2015
West Valley HQ Gallery
Nov 2015 - Jan 2016
Botanical Exhibit March, 2017
Peoria Library Art Event
Feb. 2016 - April 2016
"Feeling Blue" Exhibit
Dec 2015 - Jan 2016
Surprise City Hall Exhibit
Nov. 2015 - Jan. 2016
West Valley Symphony Art Exhibit
Jan. & March 2016
Nov. 2016 thru March, 2017
Call of the Wild - Goodyear, AZ
March 2016 - Oct 2016
Call to Art - "Alive" Exhibit
Call to Art -"The Journey"
Desert Springs Community Church
April 2016 - Oct 2016
Tails, Scales & Feathers
June 2016 - July 14, 2016
Surprise City Hall Exhibit
May 2016 - July 2016
Art is Alive 2016