JULIA LYNN KAY
The subjects that interest me most have always been those that are alive: people, plants and animals. For a long time I was primarily a painter of portraits and figures, and although I sometimes distorted wildly and almost never used realistic color, I always worked directly from a model. More recently I have been painting mostly non-human animals. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to get them to stay still in a pose, and so I have learned to work from photographs. I prefer to work from my own photographs but I have also worked from pictures taken by other people including those found in books, magazines and on the internet. I use multiple photographs in developing a painting, but there is usually one "key" photograph which has inspired me with the animal's expression and form, and which sets the tone for the painting overall.
The animals I find it most fun to paint are those that are in some way unusual-looking, and which many people may regard as "ugly", though to me they are quite beautiful. I love bats, rhinos, elephants and giraffes, for instance, and dogs with very distinctive characteristics such as large ears, tiny legs or bulging eyes. I love the sway-back of English Bulldogs, the Roman nose of Bull Terriers, the fierceness against all odds of Chihuahuas. The appearances of different animals also reflect back at us archetypes of different human personalities, and I like to play with exaggerating the traits of the animal that will bring this out.
I have completed work in a variety of scales, from traditional easel paintings on paper and canvas as small as 18 X 24 inches to murals and mural-sized panels as large as 8 X 32 feet. I enjoy working small and I would also like to work larger. I recently completed a privately commissioned mural on an apartment building consisting of two 8 foot tall guard dogs, I am in the process of applying for a grant to paint a large highway underpass, and I am looking into ways to become "Artist in Residence" at one of the local zoos. And, of course, I continue to paint colorful, sometimes surreal portraits of the animals around me.