Julie Hedrick: “Dear artists: Be brave, audacious and loving.”

Portrait by Robin Holland

When did you first know you were an artist?
As a child there wasn’t as much a “knowing I was an artist:” It was more just being around artists all the time and feeling at home in my father’s art studio as well as in other artists’ studios. My earliest and happiest memories are painting and talking about making things with my dad. I was about 16 when I knew it would be my life: I spent the summer apprenticing with the famous Canadian portrait and abstract painter Joyce Devlin in her studio. It was strenuous work and I loved every minute of it.

What is the favorite medium(s) you use to make your art?
My favorite medium is paint—any surface will do, plaster, wood, canvas, paper.

What are the most interesting new trends in your field? Is your work changing as a result?
COVID-19 is the most powerful trend these days. The effects of isolation, powerful changes in the world and a reckoning. I feel my work changing and I think every artist is feeling it profoundly.

Tell us a little about your creative process – where/when do you get most of your ideas and how do you know a piece is “finished”?
I’m an intuitive. My ideas amass and swirl in. They come from everywhere—being in nature, long walks in the city or country, poetry, history, conversations, listening, world events, my current place and time in life. I take it all with me into the studio and start mucking around. It’s often a thrashing until I find serenity, balance.

The work I am doing now is entirely different from the work I created when I lived in the East Village in NYC or the work I created when I was a young art student living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I have learned about my process over the years; sometimes it can be difficult to see fresh new work in perspective. I’ll abandon an annoying artwork to the corner of my studio only to discover it a year later with an “ah ha” of excitement and possibility.

The Golden Bowl, 2014, Oil and metal leaf on canvas

Do you also teach or are you strictly a creative artist? Who was your most influential mentor and why?
I didn’t follow the path of art teacher although in retrospect I probably would have enjoyed it. I have been strictly a working artist for the last 40 years. I was influenced by my father, Robert Hedrick, a renowned Canadian abstract expressionist sculptor and painter, and also by the Canadian artist Joyce Devlin, who is known for her large murals and her portraits.  She is a close family friend. I spent hours watching them both with rapt attention.

The extraordinary and visionary artist Gillian Jagger once said something very touching and inspiring to me: “Julie, you are a painter’s painter.” The first time I met her was at her annual Solstice party in one of her cavernous barn/studios. Gillian Jagger’s art touched and moved me. To me, Gillian’s work is best described as heroic. She taught me not to be afraid in the studio. Sadly, Gillian passed away last year.

How has being in Kingston inspired, enhanced or changed your work? If you live or work in the Midtown Arts District, what do you like best about it? How long have you lived in Kingston or the Hudson Valley?
In 1985, my husband Peter and I were driving back to our tiny apartment in the East Village in NYC from Toronto in an old moving truck we’d borrowed. I had just dropped off artwork for my first solo exhibition in Toronto and we were hustling back. We pulled into Kingston to get gas and discovered an abandoned church for sale in the Rondout. It was love at first sight! Kingston felt like home because of its beauty, history, diversity, the Hudson River and, most critically for us, its affordability. Kingston was a gift: The seller held our mortgage (we never would have qualified for a bank mortgage) and the church gave us space to dream and create our future.

I believe from the core of my being that in times of great turmoil art provides a hugely important role in revealing windows through which transformation may occur.

Julie Hedrick

What are you working on now? Anything coming up you’d like to tell our readers about?
It is 2020 and we are all practicing isolation and distancing, I am working on a new series of canvases I am calling my sanctuary paintings. The series is a direct response to this time and is also a carryover from the Sanctuary exhibition at Kingston’s City Hall last year that I co-curated with Laurie De Chiara (ARTPORT Kingston) and Janet Hicks (One Mile Gallery). More than 50 artists participated with their unique visions of what sanctuary meant to them.

I recently finished a 16′ gilded and painted wooden sculpture for ‘The Ripple Effect,’ an outdoor exhibition at ARTPORT Kingston. My piece is titled ‘The Golden Bough ~ Together Apart.’ It can be viewed at ARTPORT on weekends.

You are curating the Kingston Annual 2020, a new fine arts exhibition and competition to premiere this September. What is your approach and philosophy about the artist selection process?
I am very excited about the Kingston Annual show! There are an incredible number of artists at this time in the Hudson Valley and I believe that the artwork being created now is unique. I am looking forward to viewing all the submissions and will ultimately choose 25 artists.

I have invited Judy Pfaff to be our special guest artist, and her work will be exhibited in the first gallery space at ASK, which is visible from Broadway. Judy moved to Kingston in 1993 and currently lives and works at her studios in Tivoli, NY. Judy Pfaff is a local treasure. Her work has been exhibited to great acclaim around the world, and we are so fortunate to have her participate in the first Kingston Annual exhibition.

What would you like to say to artists who want to submit their work to Kingston Annual 2020?
Dear artists: be brave, audacious and loving. Be patient and be true! You are important and I look forward to seeing your work. Only 25 artists will be selected for this show and all submissions are appreciated.

Julie Hedrick
79 Wurts St.
Kingston NY. 12401



Represented by Nohra Haime Gallery

Julie Hedrick: Persephone Rising
Julie Hedrick’s new body of work is an oasis amongst these troubled times. Hedrick responds with a palette of pink and peach hues, the sacred colors of rebirth. Functioning as a personification of feminine energy, power, and creativity, these works explore and honor Mother Earth. View the show here.

The “Persephone Rising” pink series.

I clean my brushes after every series and take a picture. This is a picture after my pink series. I have spent years focusing on one color at a time or sometimes three as I did for Alchemy series, black, white and gold.

Preparing the artwork in my studio for a show of me and my Dad’s art curated by Janet Hicks at One Mile Gallery in Kingston. It was the first time we exhibited our work together. I had to bring his work from Toronto.