What a Wonderful World
There is more to Julia’s Carter’s work than just paint on a canvas, much more. Ingrid Nelson caught up with the talented and vivacious local artist to discover the magic behind her paintings that have taken her around the world.
Ask Julia Carter how she would describe her paintings and she sums it up perfectly in just four words – “landscapes for the soul”.
“My work is full of love and happiness,” says Julia. “When I started my painting journey, I was so grateful and happy and I wanted to put that energy into my work. That positive energy goes in and radiates out into the world wherever it’s needed.”
Born in England, Julia was destined to follow a creative path, it just took a few twists and turns to find her true calling.
“When I was a child, I was always creating and making things and getting into trouble for making a mess,” says Julia. “Often it was with my grandma, we would make peg dolls and sew and make jewellery together, that was very precious.”
Having completed a literature degree in England, Julia decided it wasn’t for her so she took a year’s sabbatical to Australia and had planned to study graphic design on her return. However, all that changed when she met the love of her life.
“That was 30 years ago when I came to Australia, met my husband George and fell in love instantly,” she says. “From that moment, everything changed. I didn’t care what I did as long as I was with him. He is a massive influence on my work, as is his mum Carmel, who has sadly passed on; she was the epitome of love and kindness.
“I became a preschool teacher, which was very creative, there was so much art and fun and creativity in the children. We used to have exhibitions of their work.”
Life changed in an instant for Julia when an accident at work left her badly injured and facing months of rehabilitation. Little did she know, it was also to be the beginning of an exciting new journey that would open many new opportunities.
“One day I came to school and the workmen had taken the veranda away at the back of my classroom and when I stepped out I fell a long way onto concrete and injured my back and leg. It was a long journey to recovery and in that time I began painting and realised it was what I wanted to do forever,” says Julia.
“I discovered that people wanted to buy my work and I ended up going all around the world with my paintings.”
Julia’s work has taken her to London, Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Germany and Italy, where she has exhibited in some of the most prestigious art galleries.
“It really has been a dream come true, I have to pinch myself sometimes,” says Julia. “I was visiting my mum in Paris and we walked down Rue de Seine, which is full of galleries, I said ‘one day I might get to show my work here’, and the next day I was invited to exhibit at a local gallery!
“When I was invited to the Florence Biennale last year I also received an invitation to show in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, so I used the images I had taken the first time I was there and painted from those images to continue the story. That was such a highlight for me.”
Ask Julia what her most rewarding moment of her career has been so far and I’m not surprised it’s one that makes a difference to the lives of others.
“My biggest privilege and honour is to have a very large painting in the Wesley Hospital Foyer where it can help other people to feel uplifted and calm in challenging times,” says Julia.
A spiritual person, Julia begins each painting with a meditation to prepare the canvas and create the right energy.
“It’s like icing a cake with all the texture, it’s part of the process. I put all the little extras, like hearts and birds and ladybirds. My work features lots of hidden things, leaves representing time passing, bluebirds representing destiny and the hearts are the positive energy.”
Whether it’s a tree of life in full bloom, a stunning Parisian scene or a beautiful Noosa landscape, Julia says every painting takes on a life of its own.
“Some paintings come together quickly and are a free expression but some evolve and take me on a different direction.
“Sometimes it takes longer and is more challenging than I expected but I always know that I won’t stop until everything comes together. Sometimes I get a tear and think ‘that’s it, it’s ready’. It makes me feel so alive and so lucky to have created something from a vision.”
When she is not showing her work around the world, Julia is happiest creating magic at her beautiful studio in Noosaville, and lucky for us it sounds like she is planning on spending a lot more time in the place she loves to call home.
“My work is about trying to remind myself and inspire others to reflect and live their best life because this moment, right now is all we have,” says Julia.
“Grace and gratitude is so important. It helps you focus on your life’s abundance. A beautiful flower, the rain, your health, friends and family, that’s all there is.”
Listen to the full Julia Carter interview on our Everyone Has A Story podcast.