Seductive Quality of Light and Paint
Tay Valley Pass, oil on panel, 18 x 20” © Julie HImel

Tay Valley Pass, oil on panel, 18 x 20”

Julie has recently turned her attention to landscape painting. Her landscapes explore the relationship of the viewer to the perceived solitude and evocative absence or trace of human activity within. An implied narrative is created as the images are painted with the gesture of movement, as though the viewer is passing by the scene.

To the Wedding, 36 x 48”, oil on canvas

To the Wedding, 36 x 48”, oil on canvas

This painting describes togetherness while the characters in the scene absent and only represented by their place settings. The viewer is left wondering what is about to take place, or what has passed here. The light acts as a metaphor for conversation, bouncing the relationship of the objects to their surrounding space off of the surfaces of one another. It is ultimately a portrait of of familiar relationships, but the human image is removed.

Portrait of Bob Reimer, 20 x 20”, oil on panel © Julie HImel

Portrait of Bob Reimer, 20 x 20”, oil on panel

This painting is an example of Himel’s portrait work. Bob Reimer, the late subject of the painting, was a coworker of Julie’s while working for the City of Calgary as an art instructor. He was an accomplished ceramic artist and a great inspiration to Julie as an artist. Impasto brushwork and the cropping of the facial features amplifies emotional energy. This piece is owned by Calgary’s Civic Art Collection.

Image Credits

All Images Are © Julie Himel


Julie Himel Artist Bio

Julie HimelJulie is a Toronto painter who dwells in the personal. Her beautiful paintings are painterly and have a seductive quality of light and colour. Julie’s young daughter says of her technique, “you use a big brush and too much paint…”. This may be the case in her daughter’s eyes, yet it is the surface of rich paint that invites the viewer to reflect upon the light, the reflection and the quietness that the imagery evokes. The lushness of application of paint can be seen in her artistic influences from Lucian Freud and Tom Thomson, while her domestic imagery can be traced to Mary Pratt. Yet, Himel has said that in addition to these visual influences her “listening to Jeff Buckley sing ‘Hallelujah’ reminds (her) to make every brush stroke honest.” Perhaps the most interesting aspect of her work is the theme of presence vs. absence. In this absence there is an anticipation or expectation of arrival of the characters of the narrative. The fragility of light and selection of the delicate subjects adds to the ephemeral nature of the pieces. There is a psychological tension of expectation to this contemplation. Is there something about to happen? Or is this the after affect? (Excerpt taken from Marjolyn van der Hart’s writing for the ‘TOAE Feature Artist 2014’.) Himel has been also looking outside of her domestic space and exploring evocative landscapes of late. Most often backlit, with a heavy hand of emotion and equal amounts of anticipation as her still life work.

Julie Himel has a busy and full art practice; portrait commissions, still life, landscape work, and several exhibitions each year. As well, Julie is currently teaching mixed media art classes privately to children. She has taught all age groups and levels, privately and institutionally. The innate and fearless approach to creativity in children is inspiring and keeps her challenging herself with new creative projects. Working with children is also a reminder to approach each new piece as an opportunity to learn and push forward.

Julie carries a Diploma of Fine Art from Langara College in Vancouver, a Bachelor of Fine Art Honours Degree from York University, and a Graduate Diploma from the Toronto School of Art. Her award winning paintings can be found in private collections internationally, public collections including The University of Calgary, Calgary’s Civic Art Collection, Westfield State University, the Armenian Centre Art Collection Canada, and several corporate collections nationwide. Julie works from her home studio in Toronto.

Blog / Website: Julie Himel

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