Inspired People – Juliette Crane
Artists are inspired people. But what makes them create what they create? What lights the fire that produces such wonderful work? Here are a few questions that will hopefully inspire some answers.
Today’s inspired person is Juliette Crane, a wonderful artist with a gift for multi-layered, inspirational works. Juliette has permanently changed my way of working by sharing her technique. She is often on my mind when a piece of art isn’t evolving in the direction I had intended it to go. I usually end up asking myself, ‘What would Juliette Crane do?’ and the answer is always ‘keep going until it works’. She has truly inspired me and I have several pieces of art completed that I would have otherwise trashed if it wasn’t for her sharing her determination. It is fantastic to have her here to share some of the inspiration behind her beautiful creations.
Who are you? What factors in your life have led you to create? Was it an epiphany moment or something that has always been?
I’m a Mixed Media Painter and I just love anything full of imagination and color! I’ve always been doing something creative (making cards, jewelry, sewing, writing, gardening, baking, floral design), but if I ask myself what I always wanted to do, but never thought I could, I would say painting. It’s always been a way for me to best express myself.
Art is therapy for me. It’s a healing process. I’m super emotional and affected by everything around me and creating art allows me to put all of that into one place and work through it. Before I begin any painting, I take a moment to listen to what I’m feeling and set the intention to express whatever that emotion is. I’m always trying to express my feelings and move through and grow from my own experiences, and usually that comes through on some level whenever people see my work.
Where are you from, where do you live, and how does your location influence your art?
I’m from Wisconsin and now live in Madison, just a few hours from where I grew up. Living in Madison allows me to live pretty simply and slowly, which, I think, gives me the time and freedom to create and reflect.
Were you ever distracted away from your art and creating by the need to make a living? Have you ever stopped creating?
Oh yes. For years! I always painted and loved it so much in high school (it was a fabulous outlet for me). But even when I went to college, I went to study environmental biology. I painted everything I could in my dorm room. I got this huge sheet of paper and pasted it above my bed and whenever I was bored, I’d work on that drawing. Then when it was done, I started in on this blank, white cabinet I’d brought with me. I drew this super colorful abstract scene with colored pencils. I’m sure that cabinet got thrown in the garbage when I moved out of the dorms. That’s how I felt about my art for years (until fall 2009). My paintings ended up in my basement or in the garbage because I thought, “what good is it to create?” I knew I needed to create for myself (because I couldn’t not do it), but I never thought anyone else would want to see my work.
I’ve held all sorts of jobs-as an arts and technology reporter, editorial assistant, photographer, graphic designer, floral designer, landscaper, web developer and programmer…I couldn’t find my place. But I’ve realized having all of those jobs helped prepare me in different ways for what I do now.
What do you create? Do you have a niche or do you spread your creativity across several disciplines? Do you have a preferred subject?
I’m a painter/ I’ve always loved working in paint, but I also love combining all sorts of materials together – spray paint, pastels, sheet music, glitter, charcoal…I love them all! And whenever I create a piece, it’s somehow magical, dreamy, full of imagination and whimsical. Right now, I’m painting lots and lots of owls and whimsical animals!
What inspires you to create? Do you have any techniques to find inspiration?
I’m inspired to paint because I find so much joy in the process. It helps me figure out and work through my emotions. I am super lucky to have so many wonderful supportive people around me too. And I get a huge amount of inspiration from them as well. Knowing that people are inspired or somehow feel a connection to my artwork is most meaningful and always keeps me creating.
I’m inspired by everything around me, so I try and get out of the studio and experience as much as I can. I love being outside, traveling and meeting new people, having dinner parties. The whimsical and imaginative style of my work comes from what I feel in my heart as I experience these things in everyday life.
I always wish I had more time to create. I try to schedule at least two afternoons a week into my schedule-just for painting. I usually end up in my studio in the evenings or weekends, but I have to be sure to write it in my schedule too. It’s super hard to find that balance. Because of course there’s always other things that have to get done. I’m really protective of my time. Whenever I jump online for anything, I check the time and give myself a time for when I must wrap up the task. Otherwise my time slips away and I never get into the studio. This also keeps my perfectionist from taking over. I don’t watch much tv (if I do, it’s online without commercials). And I write up my work schedule each week, usually on Sundays. I’ve tried keeping to a weekly routine and it never works. What’s best for me, is knowing my tasks for the week and spreading them out throughout each day. then I know I just need to get those things done and I can allow time for spontaneous things to filter in. That way, the creative side of me stays happy and doesn’t get bogged down by the task-driven side (that side never procrastinates).
I have a wonderful green-painted studio with lots of windows! I love that everything is super convenient in my studio. I have everything out, and organized but not in a ‘I have to put it all away neat and clean when I’m done’ kind of way. I’ve finally accepted I’m not a neat and clean person. I need to make things easy for me to use and clean up if I’m ever going to put them away or get any work done.
I have cloth shoe racks in two closets in my studio. I fill the spaces with my collage papers and supplies. Each slot is messy, but it’s organized so I can find sheet music here, or origami paper or book pages there. Then I have as much out and ready to go as possible on my studio table. I used to put my paints away in the closet to “clean up.” But they always just stayed out and messy on my table. Now I have a cup for PITT pens and another for paint pens, a dish for pastels and another for pastel colors I always use for faces, then a box for glitter, one for glues, and one for paint tubes. All out and ready to use.
I finally made room for all of my etsy shop (print and packaging supplies) in another room. Now I don’t have to worry about keeping those things clean. You can see it all here:
What do you enjoy doing the most?
I really just love painting (especially outside). I love letting myself get into a few piece at once, moving from one to the other when I become uninspired or wait for paint to dry. And I love seeing what happens. It’s always a new discovery to me and I’m always taking a step back and wondering, ‘now where did that come from?’ so often images just fit together from the character to the background and they become a scene I never intended, but somehow makes perfect sense. I love that. That’s usually when the title comes to me.
Do you have any advice for other artists?
My advice to others is to follow your instincts and build a supportive community for yourself, whether it’s locally, at home or online. And keep going. If you know your passion, go with it, honor and nourish it. If you think you don’t have anything you’re passionate about or ‘good at’ just keep trying thing s and something will click or lead you to the next amazing thing. Just follow whatever it is that makes you happiest, and if you want to make a career out of it, ask lots and lots of questions and create your own path. Don’t think there’s one way of doing something. There’s always a way.
Do you have any questions for other artists?
I always wonder what inspires other artists and what they enjoy creating most.
Where can you and your art be found?
etsy shop: http://juliettecrane.etsy.com
I’m also super excited to be teaching painting classes now too! I’ve been teaching a few How To Paint An Owl Workshops locally and now I’ll be launching my How To Paint An Owl E-course on March 28! And registration is now open with an earlybird price if you sign up this week. If anyone is interested, all of the details (along with photos from past classes) can be found on my website: http://juliettecrane.com/workshop/index.shtml