Of Scottish and Welsh ancestry Julia was born in Zimbabwe, where she grew up on a farm. From an early age she developed a great affinity for animals and the countryside. She schooled in Zimbabwe and Zambia and subsequently settled in South Africa, where she trained as a nurse and midwife and, later, in Operating Theatre Nursing Science. She married a South African and has three children, all of whom have emigrated. Julia and her husband have now emigrated themselves to Minneapolis, where they can now watch some of their grand-children grow up.
Artistic talent lies on both sides of her family, notably that of Anne Spence Black, an accomplished artist whose paintings are held at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Paris Salon. Julia’s mother, who herself studied at Lady Michaelis Art School in Cape Town, was a source of great encouragement and inspiration to her.
Drawing came naturally to Julia, and as a child, she spent many hours with her pencil, paper and paints. As far back as she can remember, the subject of her drawings has gravitated towards that of animals.
Living in Africa for most of her life, Julia had ready access to its wildlife. She gathered much of her reference material for her paintings herself, and could often be found with her camera photographing animals during visits to South Africa’s many National Parks. A further source of motivation to capture images of wildlife through art is the devastating reality that, one day, certain species may no longer be around. Julia is committed to the conservation of wildlife and has donated pieces of work to this end.
In addition to using wildlife as her subjects, Julia enjoys painting animal companions or pets, and readily accepts commissions to this end. A few photographs of a beloved pooch or kitty – or indeed another species – and a chat with its owner about the animal’s personality and characteristics are all that is required.
In capturing their beauty and unique attributes, Julia strives to portray animals – both wild and beloved pets – in a lifelike manner. She gives painstaking detail to her paintings, paying particular attention to the eyes, which are often perceived as windows to the soul.
Julia is at her happiest when surrounded by the marvel of nature. Portraying the beauty and atmosphere of the ever-changing landscapes of Africa - and now of Minnesota - brings her much pleasure.
She has held solo exhibitions and has also exhibited in various locations throughout South Africa over the years. Her work can be found in the homes of various countries, including Australia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States of America.