Julie Stubbs Stipple Art December 2014

Two subjects that particularly inspire East Valley artist Julie Stubbs are also among the top reasons luring visitors to Boyce Thompson Arboretum -- plants and birds -- and a range of Julie's unique stipple pen-and-ink artwork will be featured in our visitor center gallery during December. Stipple is the intricate art of creating an image with tiny dots; perhaps familiar to most viewers as the Wall Street Journal's portrait style -- Julie Stubbs uses her talent for field-guide quality, lifelike renditions of owls, vultures and songbirds.

Julie and her husband, Dan, live at the base of the Superstition Mountains - surrounding Sonoran desert provides inspiration for her art.

Few artists are skilled in stipple work -- how did Julie begin?

"Before graduating from Mesa High School, I needed one final credit, I was looking for something easy and signed up for an art class - Virginia Durham was my teacher, she's an acrylic painter - an inspiration -- and she set me on the path to a career creating art. She encouraged me to study art in college, where a required drawing class introduced me to stippling. I was not a big fan of pen and ink drawings, but discovered that drawing with individual dots allowed me to create both dramatic shading and fine details. After college and raising two daughters -- Julie returned to her art and rediscovered stippling.
Beginning with a light pencil sketch on white Bristol board, the long process of drawing the image with tiny individual ink dots with archival ink pens. “I can’t count how many times someone has asked me if I drew that with a computer! No, it is all done by hand, one dot at a time. Then the second question is, "how long did it take?” Smaller images can take a few days to a few weeks. The larger images can take a few years, being worked on intermittently every few months.
Images are printed onto artist paper then each is hand colored with Prismacolor artist pencils and blended with a kneaded eraser. “When I first started coloring my birds I added just a hint of color. I soon learned that adding layers of color made for a brighter image and the birds popped on the paper. I also keep my backgrounds to a minimum to further enhance the image of the birds.”
Julie photographs native Superstition Wilderness birds for use as studies -- and creates works based on photography by friends and neighbors. Most of her subjects are familiar birds seen around desert foothills and neighborhoods -- one exception is “Swoop” a Eurasian Eagle owl. Julie had the privilege of meeting Swoop "up close and personal" a few years ago, including the thrilling chance to hold the owl on a leather gloved- arm; in the photo at right.
All of Julie’s art is custom matted and framed in her studio. “I offer my unframed prints double matted to fit a standard frame. I want my customers to be able to get my drawings up on their wall as easily and quickly as they can so it can be enjoyed.”
Julie is a member of the National Audubon Society. She is also a member of the Artists of the Superstitions which is a member of the Arizona Art Alliance. In the cooler desert months, Julie enjoys participating and selling her art in several outdoor art shows and birding expos. Julie has also illustrated several book covers with drawings using the stipple technique. To contact Julie Stubbs or see more of her art, visit her website www.julie-stubbs.artistwebsites.com. There you can see her bird drawings along with paintings of domestic animals and paintings of old neon signs found in the area.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is at highway 60 milepost #223 near the historic copper mining town of Superior, a drive of about 45 minutes due East of Mesa. December visitors are admitted from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; no visitors are admitted after 4:00, and the Arboretum closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. New exhibits begin each month and may be seen daily during business hours; the Arboretum is an Arizona State Park and daily admission must be paid to enter the Visitor Center where our gallery is found. A membership may be purchased in the gift shop on the day of your visit.
Review Recent Exhibitors
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Julie Stubbs
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Elaine Dube
Becky Joy
Christine Debrosky
Then And Now BTA Photography
Paul Landau
Preston Cox & Tammy Knight
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Paul Kinslow
Rick Cameron