In the fall of 2018, we spoke with Roycroft Renaissance Artisan Julie Leidel as part of Modern Bungalow’s Makers Series.
Julie told us of her inspiration and her process. She shared a slideshow presentation about the influential artists that came before her, and how she is innovating from the past.
Julie Leidel has been a Colorado resident since she was four. Her love of the Colorado high country has led her on a path to capture the natural beauty all around us. In the interview below, Julie shares more about her work.
What was your inspiration for your Colorado series of gouache paintings?
I really want my artwork to allow people to fall deeply in love with Colorado. Colorado is full of amazing vistas that take our breath away. As an artist, I love to remind people of the beauty we have right in our own backyard and to capture the essence of falling in love with this incredible state.
How do Colorado’s landscapes inspire your work?
The vast beauty and variety of the Colorado landscape is a wellspring of inspiration for me. I joke with my clients that I’ll never run out of ideas for paintings, but it’s true. From our farmlands and meadows, to our mountain streams and 14er summits, there’s enough beauty in our state to keep me more than busy for the rest of my life.
What inspired your painting style specifically?
The Arts & Crafts Movement (1880 -1920) and the WPA of National Park posters from the 30s and 40s has been a huge point of inspiration for me as an artist. With simplistic and flat shapes of color, my work is a representation of how your memory perceives a time, or a place. Our memories don’t capture every detail, like a camera would. Instead, we get a warm glow of recognition when we have found a connection to nature and a specific chapter of our past. This interpretation allows our own personal experiences to fill in the gaps visually, and that leaves room for our own story to be told. I enjoy watching people look through my work with a spark of remembrance, a flood of memories, a desire to rediscover, or go explore someplace new.
What’s the best thing about living and working in Evergreen?
My husband Brian and I with our two children Abby and Brady moved to Evergreen two years ago and it’s heaven on earth to us. The crisp mountain air, forests teeming with wildlife, stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, and the stars at night continue to take our breath away. The work-life balance makes more sense when you just look out every window for inspiration and relaxation. Currently, we are extending my studio to include a 700 square foot outdoor patio which includes covered and uncovered portions for more plain air painting opportunities. We are also creating a nature trail around the property and it’s already been adopted by much of the local wildlife. I love that they share their forest setting with us so graciously.
You were accepted as a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan in 2016. Tell us about what that means to you?
The Roycroft of East Aurora, NY began as a community of artisans and craft workers founded in 1885. Roycroft meant “Kings Craft” and this community functioned in the same way many of the guilds did across Europe. The work of the Roycrofters had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century. In 1976 community members wanted to revive the Roycroft campus and the philosophy of Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters and create the Roycrofters-at-Large Association (RALA). In order to be accepted as a Roycrofter, the following five criteria are at the core of how each artist is measured: High quality hand craftsmanship, excellence of design, originality of expression, professional recognition, and artistic growth. I’m honored to currently be one of about 72 artists around the nation that have been accepted to this prestigious group, continuing on in the same spirit of the Arts & Crafts Movement. The Roycroft Renaissance Double-R trademark can be found on my original paintings since my acceptance as a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan.
Learn about other Modern Bungalow Artisans here!