JulieAnn Derby | Artist

JulieAnn Derby | Artist

Pure.  Eternal.  Liberated.

 

Bio

JulieAnn was raised Catholic in the American Midwest and comes from a large family.  Both her parents worked full-time and there were high expectations.   The domestication process 1 started at an early age.  Whether it was by rules and expectations at church, home or school it was clear what women “should be”.     

 

“I learned from a young age to find a way to contribute, to help, the importance of discipline and hard work…and that life can be unfair.  My early exposure to Catholicism introduced concepts of heaven, hell, good and evil into my mind.  These impressions were often infused into images on my canvas.” 

 

JulieAnn started winning art contests in elementary school.  She was accepted into the NY School of Visual Arts during her senior year of high school.  This was quite an accomplishment given that she was diagnosed as being legally blind in one eye at the age of two. 

 

Although she aspired to be an artist from a very young age, it was not an option.  Her parents insisted she get a degree with industry demand.  This required a practical college degree.  Accordingly, she focused her energy on Aerospace engineering 2.

 

“Exploring the unknown, learning complex methods and creating structures provided a foundation for my work as an aerospace engineer and as an artist.  There is a relentless desire to understand and navigate new terrains.“

 

Engineering school demanded discipline, precision, and a consistently dynamic and engaged mind.  JulieAnn was told multiple times that women lacked the intellectual capacity required for engineering.  She excelled academically and eventually earned a MS in Aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.  At the time, less than 5% of engineers were women. 


“In my spare time and on vacations, I studied and created art.  Those close to me noticed a sense of purpose and calm when I was creating.  Art was my passion.  I could stare at Georgia O’Keefe’s work for hours and revel in the energy of a Keith Haring painting.   Both of these artists brilliantly employ color and harness life on their canvases.” 


When she was 21 years old, she started working full-time as an engineer and eventually moved into the field of information technology.  Although her career progressed, something was missing.  JulieAnn’s desire to be an artist never waned. 


“On paper, I was living the American dream yet the rebel in me yearned for a more creative existence.  As each year passed, I found myself feeling increasingly trapped.  I also felt a growing sense of anger and frustration at how my life was unfolding”.


In 2002, she took her first oil painting class while pregnant.   

 

“Becoming a mother changed my life.  When I first saw my son, my heart cracked wide open.  I was overwhelmed by intense emotion and humbled by the power of the divine.  I also knew I had to find a way to devote myself to creating.”

 

“I am often overcome with emotion when I see JulieAnn’s work.  I have a very strong response to her paintings.  There are many layers in her work that require several viewings to comprehend.”   -Private Collector, Manhattan NY


In 2005, JulieAnn moved to the east coast with her family.   In the midst of busy schedules at work and at home she began practicing yoga in earnest to help adjust to the changes.  Unexpectedly, JulieAnn gained an extraordinary sense of energy and insight from her practice that she then brought to the canvas.  She began painting yoga to capture this vitality in its physical form and the journey of the yoga painter3 began. 

 

Yoga poses that formed the subject of her paintings sparked conversations and inspired others towards a more meaningful way of life.  JulieAnn’s first yoga painting was released in 2011.  The response was tremendous.  More yoga paintings were created with wearable art and people began to follow and collect her work 3. 

 

By 2014, she decided to leave corporate America and commit to creative pursuits full-time.   JulieAnn was commissioned by Lou Mars to create the cover image for his upcoming album.  The work received rave reviews and appears today on iTunes.

 

Being a primarily self-taught painter, she knew she needed guidance from a master to take her work to the next level.  JulieAnn was accepted into a mentorship program with Ms. Laurel Stern Boeck.  Ms. Boeck is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost portrait painters.  She taught JulieAnn the science and techniques of oil painting and how to better portray human anatomy.

 

“Ms. Boeck was a generous teacher.  What I learned from her during my mentorship cannot be found in books.  She pushed me to see differently and taught me how to better communicate on canvas.  I also am grateful that she opened my world to the work of William-Adolphe Bouguereau.  He showed me it was possible to capture spirituality in a painting with exquisite technique.”

 

To further her formal artistic training, she also became a student at the Art Students League of New York and completed summer painting workshops.  JulieAnn received coaching from acclaimed contemporary painter Amadea Bailey.  She began to create large abstract work and focused on introducing her work to a broader audience. 

 

“Amadea gave me exercises that challenged my childhood belief systems.  She gave me permission to explore many other sides of myself.  As a result, my art became much richer and more authentic.  Most importantly, she taught me to trust my intuition.  Amadea’s coaching was essential in helping me embrace the full spectrum of my voice as an artist and preparing me for success in the art world.”


In Nov 2015, JulieAnn first publicly displayed a collection of her work in Hartford CT.  Her painting “Seek” was selected out of hundreds of paintings for a special viewing event.  


“JulieAnn’s work is exceptional.  ‘Seek’ is a masterpiece.   It represents the archetype of a third world child in all of its longing, oneness and shyness.  I am completely transfixed by her work.”    -J. Bond,  Greenwich CT


Today, JulieAnn is living her life as an artist.  She is among those blessed individuals who could discover the divine touch in artistry.  In Nov 2015, JulieAnn first publicly displayed a collection and an edge for yoga studios.  She currently lives in Simsbury, CT with her husband and son.


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Footnotes:

1  “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Domestication is where we learn how to live and dream from the outside (i.e. parents, the church, the media), creating our belief system. 

2  Aerospace engineering encompasses the human effort to fly in the atmosphere of Earth and outer space as a single realm.

3  The Yoga Painter (TM) stands testament to a story of transformation that tied art and spirituality with one single thread. The journey of the Yoga Painter is the documentation of the life-changing story of aerospace engineer JulieAnn who could link yoga and painting with the attainment of happiness.