Monday, August 7, 2017

"About Face"

"About Face", opens August 18th at Commonwheel Artists Co-op,  and is filled with a whimsical and amusing series of portraits celebrating views we all know by heart, but rarely see. Representing all ages and walks of life, "About Face" presents 100 small portraits of the back of people's heads. The portraits feature local residents and artists, including Kris and Liese Chavez, Phil Lear, Deb Komitor and many more. Even if you don't know the people personally, they are bound to remind you of someone!

I hope that you'll join me for this fun evening. 
Come and hear about my journey in painting this series.

When: Friday, August 18 2017, 5-8pm

Where: 102 Cañon Avenue
Manitou Springs, CO 80829

For More Info Call: 719-685-1008

Joining me are potters Arlene Woods 
and Nancy Morse with face-related pottery.

Show Ends September 11, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Traveling Chickens

Something fun was organized and circulating on the internet. Two hens and one rooster (sometimes 2) were visiting artists around the world. I should mention that the chickens are ceramic. To participate, an artist just had to sign up on a waiting list and wait her turn for the chickens to arrive. Each artist's job was to paint them and report a little about their stay. I signed up two years ago, and, at long last, the chickens finally knocked on my door. I knew that I wanted to paint them on top of my whale, and I did just that. But as I painted, I realized that I would have to explain why chickens were riding a whale on a river in Colorado. It took me a little time to concoct that story, but here it is!

Señor Azule, Ms. Chick, Mama Chick and her brood were feeling winter’s chill and decided that a trip to Cancun would be just the thing to warm their cold feet and beaks.  One day, as they were taking a dip in the Gulf of Mexico, they made the acquaintance of Margarita the Whale.  Margarita was making her daily round trip swim from Cuba (she worked out each day to maintain her girlish figure).  As they shared stories of their travels, Margarita mentioned that she often swam from the Gulf of Mexico and up the Rio Grande to visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  “A river from Colorado to the Gulf!” exclaimed Señor Azul. The chickens, having never seen the Rocky Mountains, all agreed that they would love to travel there someday. Margarita, being as adventurous as the chickens themselves, offered to take them on the trip that morning. So the chickens hopped on her back and away they went!

As she swam, Margarita explained that the Rio Grande is formed by the joining of several streams in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, just east of the Continental Divide. From there, it flows through the San Luis Valley, then south into the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, passing through the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos.  The river then continues south through the desert cities of Albuquerque, and Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The Rio Grande ends in a small, sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, the river forms part of the Mexico-United States border.  Its total length is almost 2000 miles.  Needless to say, the chicks often grew restless and Mama Chicken would swim alongside Margarita to allow the chicks to burn off some energy.

Once they reached Colorado and The Rockies, Ms. Chick was astounded by the red rock formations and the height of the mountains.  Margarita explained that, hundreds of years ago, the mountains were once entirely covered by oceans. She described many of the fossils that had been found proving this and also told them that dinosaurs had once roamed there as well. She even stopped to show them many of the dinosaur tracks imbedded in the rocks.

Slowly but surely, the little troupe felt the winter cold seeping back into their bones and they wanted to return to the warm sunny beaches of Cancun. While the trip into the Rockies had taken quite awhile (Margarita had been swimming upstream) the return trip went quickly since they simply shot the white water rapids back. Lying on the beach later that day, they all toasted their adventure with a pitcher of margaritas (their friend’s namesake) and agreed that perhaps they should venture below the equator someday.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Cleopatra                                              12x12 oil on panel

Described as an alluring temptress of surpassing beauty who was brilliant to look upon, Cleopatra is always portrayed as sexy and captivating.  The Cleopatra that you see above may not exactly fit her namesake's description, but she does have an irresistible charm of her own.  She's a service dog as well. Doesn't she put a smile on your face? This recent commission is intended as a Christmas gift for her owner.

Now's the time to contact me if you are interested in a painted portrait of your own pet or as a gift to someone special for the holidays.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Reverie

"Summer Reverie",  12 x 12 inch oil

This little girl was in costume at the living history museum and her white bow stole my heart.  I loved capturing the light on it and on the apron.  When I see it, I feel the heat of summer and hear the cicadas singing.  Remember when summer felt endless?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Getting the Work Done

Colorado Springs artist, Laurel Seibels Justice has been doing a wonderful series on how artists work in the midst of life as we know it. Her latest profile tells a bit about my process.

"On how artists get their work done: this is my friend Julie. She is in that stage of life where aging parents and traveling with a retired husband can be distractions (enjoyable distractions, but distractions nonetheless) to getting to the studio. When asked how she handles the time away from her studio, she replied, “Being away breaks my focus, and it takes me a few days to regain it.  When I feel unfocused and unready,  I drag my unfocused and unready self to the studio and get to work; gradually, my head gets back in the game." This idea confronts the myth that artists are some sort of exotic creatures who just exude inspiration and motivation to do their work any ole' time. It's been my experience that there's a lot of "showing up" in spite of "everything" going on, that brings art/music/writing to life. Here she is showing up to the sketchbook doing thumbnail value studies for her next painting."

Speaking of getting the work done, I'm continuing to work on a series of what I plan to be 100 small paintings.  Here's a detail shot from one.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Holiday Open House

I'm having a terrific time preparing more work for you to enjoy at the upcoming Holiday Show at The Second Floor Studios and am looking forward to visiting with everyone!  I'm also privy to the new work that my fellow artists are planning to show, and you are in for a real treat!  This week, I'm working on small pieces that will fit anyone's budget.  Here's a 5 x 5 inch titled "Day Dreamer."

Daydreamer   5x5" oil

Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6, 2015, 11am to 6pm.

The Second Floor Studios, 2418 W. Colorado Avenue
Above the Michael Garmin Gallery.  Entrance faces Bancroft Park. Just follow the signs!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holiday Open House

As many of you know, I haven't participated in the First Friday ArtWalks in 2015, which means that there hasn't been any public access to my studio except by appointment. I'm excited to be inviting you to stop by my studio on the the weekend of December 5th and 6th to see all of the work that I've created in the last year!  I have plenty of paintings that would make great Holiday gifts, including florals, still lives, figures and many local landscapes.  Stop in to visit with me and find your new favorite painting!  11 am to 6 pm each day.

Studio L
The Second Floor Studios
2418 West Colorado Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO  80919

Here's a taste of what awaits you:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Singing Hollyhock 4

Singing Hollyhock 4                                                5x5 oil

This will be my last hollyhock painting for awhile.  In this piece, I concentrated on simplifying the petals as much as possible. I'm very pleased with the result!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Summer Sisters

 Summer Sisters   6x6 inch oil

After having fun painting "portraits" of individual hollyhock blossoms, I turned to painting them in the abundance that we are accustomed to seeing them.  This series has been a fun way to explore painting with pinks (I'm more familiar with reds) and the way that they create beautiful purples.  I also discovered the wonderful glow that adding orange gives them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Singing Hollyhock 3

Singing Hollyhock 3   5x5 inch oil

In this little painting, I fell in love with the grayed pinks and lavenders that created the blossoms on the left and the spark of yellow in the center of the main flower. In the original painting, the flowers are a softer pink and don't look as blue as they do here. Sometimes, Photoshop baffles me....

Monday, October 5, 2015

Singing Hollyhock 2

Singing Hollyhock 2   6x6 inch oil

This hollyhock painting is slightly larger than the other two in the series.  It measures 6x6 inches versus 5x5 inches.  Although it's difficult to capture in a photo,  what excited me when painting this is the discovery of how much red and orange I could use in the foliage and still have it look green. The colors in the original paintings are just a wee bit softer than they look here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putting on the Dots

Putting on the Dots     6x6 inch oil


Whenever I play with patterns, this little guy shows up front and center. This time I think he's imagining how he would look in orange polkadots.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Singing Hollyhock 1

Singing Hollyhock 1  5x5 inch oil

I've been doing a series of hollyhock paintings, and have enjoyed playing with the light and shadow of the petals.  All artists fall in love with little areas of their paintings, and those areas are sometimes away from the central focus. My favorite  "gems" on this piece are the bud in the upper right and the blossom in the lower right corner!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jersey Girl

Jersey Girl   6x6inch oil


It's hard to say which is warmer, the golden afternoon sun or the soft brown eyes of this lovely Jersey girl!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Coral Queen

The Coral Queen     6x6 inch oil

Starting bid is $40

This summer, I had the opportunity to paint in some beautiful gardens in the Old North End of Colorado Springs.  It was a sunny and hot afternoon, and this coral rose reflected the heat of the day.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Berries and Cream

Berries and Cream                6x6" oil

Berries and cream come to mind when I see red, luscious strawberries like these. You can almost smell their intoxicating fragrance!  What would summer be without them? Starting bid is $45.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Daisy Sunbath

Daisy Sunbath                      3x4 inch oil

Daises and sunflowers are my favorite flowers. They are simple in design and color, but their happy faces bring happiness and cheer. This little daisy charmed me with her upturned face soaking up the sun.

Opening bid is $20 or you can buy it now for $45.  Let me know if I can help you with framing!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bumble Cafe

"Bumble Cafe"                        3x4 inch oil   (Image slightly larger than the actual painting)

One of the great sounds of a summer garden on a warm day is the buzz of bumble bees collecting nectar from the many-colored "cafes" that they find.   How to simplify the wings and still have them read properly was a challenge, especially on such a tiny canvas.

Opening bid on this painting is only $20!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Amber Eyes

"Amber Eyes" 6x8 inch oil on canvas panel

$40 starting bid

The last two years has been a mixed bag of big events in my family, ranging from my sister's cancer, my son's wedding, my father's severe stroke, my husband's retirement and other major celebrations. My focus has been on painting in my available time and I gave myself permission not to spend as much time on the business end of art.  This post begins my return to connecting with all of you online, so I'm resurrecting my once a week blog post.  I'm excited to share my latest work and the progress that I'm making in the studio!

"Amber Eyes" was painted from a photo that I took about 5 or 6 years ago. The image has stayed in the back of my mind all this time as one that I wanted to paint.  I ran across this pretty tabby while roaming through a tack barn here in Colorado and I fell in love with her sweet nature (That shows in her eyes doesn't it?). Being in charge of rodent control in the barn meant that she only had sporadic company, so she was happy to great all visitors!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Caught by Surprise

Caught by Surprise    6x6" oil

$40 starting bid

Bunnies run rampant in my yard.  I plant only rabbit (and deer) resistant native plants, but sometime the bunnies just can't resist nibbling away.  This is the look on one bunny's face when he heard me coming.....

I will be open for the OCC Art Walk this Friday night, June 5.  I won't be open for Art Walk on a consistent basis this season, but will let you know when my studio will be open for those events.  I've been concentrating on three new series.  One is a month by month plein air painting of Pikes Peak, another is a return to some of my surrealistic/magic realism subjects, and the third is a fun project I'm calling "About Face."  The series features 6 x 6 inch portraits of the back of people's heads.  The idea is that our family and friends are just as recognizable from the back as they are by their facial features themselves, especially if they are wearing a favorite hat. Come take a look at the first finished pieces. There's an example below to give you an idea.

ArtWalk is from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at the Second Floor Studios in the Michael Garmin Building, 2418 W. Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, CO.  Our entrances faces Bancroft Park and you'll find me in Studio L.

About Face, No. 1

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pikes Peak Studio Tour


Julie Kirkland Fine Art

Mark your calendars now for the

2014 Pikes Peak Studio Tour

Saturday September 20th, 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday September 21st, 10 am to 5 pm

7224 Big Valley Ct, Colorado Springs

I'm welcoming you to visit my home studio during
  the Pikes Peak Studio Tour.

Many of you have stopped by my Old Colorado City studio in the Garman building, but the tour is a chance to see me in my home studio.  In past tours, I've set up a quasi-studio for demo purposes because my actual "studio" has been more of an art storage facility with a narrow path to an easel in the corner.  I spent this winter unearthing and organizing what is now a very pleasant creative space that I'd love for you to see!

As part of the tour experience, I'll again be giving away an original painting.  Be sure to register for a chance to win it when you stop by!

I'm excited to have plenty of new paintings to show for the weekend!   A brand new selection of prints and cards will be here for you to enjoy along with some old favorites.  Start your holiday shopping and look for my blank Christmas cards featuring the image of my watercolor,"The Gift." I have items starting from $5, so you're sure to find something that you like.  

The Gift

Flowers, figures, animals and landscapes, my subject matter offers something for everyone. Come see what has been inspiring me these days and how my work is evolving!


If you are unable to make it during the tour weekend, you can find me during the October 3rd OCC Artwalk

5:00 to 8:00 pm
Friday, October 3rd
2418 West Colorado Ave, Studio L
Upstairs in the Michael Garman building

Hope that you're happier than a pig in mud!


Follow Julie Kirkland Fine Art on Facebook

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Soul Food

Garden of the Gods, Sept.4     6x8"       Available Sept. 20-21 during the Pikes Peak Studio Tour

Plein Air painting feeds my soul.  I've been working so diligently this summer on all kinds of things and have been whining in my head about how summer had passed me by. Yesterday, I put on my big girl panties and called my friend, Karen Storm (  She's set herself the goal of painting in the Garden of the Gods for 30 days in a row.  The sale proceeds of her paintings will go to a friend who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  Great idea, right? Anyway, she had invited me to join her, and I arranged to meet her this morning.  Just a couple hours of painting outdoors and my summer was redeemed.  Despite the work left to prepare for the Pikes Peak Studio Tour, I'm going to save my heart and soul by painting outdoors with Karen as often as I can.  Today, I actually created a piece that I can frame for the tour.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Pikes Peak Studio Tour: Behind the Scene

I'm excited to once again participate in the Pikes Peak Studio Tour coming up on Set 20th and 21st.  Twenty artists have been juried into this year's tour and I think that you'll enjoy meeting each one of them. While many of you visit me frequently in Studio L in Old Colorado City, only a very few have seen my home studio.  The last two times that I hosted the tour in my home, I've set up a quasi-easel work station, but the door to the actual studio has been closed.  Maybe 7 people have even seen the room since we moved into this house.

I use the word "studio" loosely here, because, while I had a corner to work in, it was really an art supply storage room that I could barely walk into.....(many of my fellow artists are now nodding their heads in sympathy.). But, I spent the month of January excavating the room and creating a comfortable studio in which people can now walk without injury!

However, even the cleanest studio comes unglued when preparing for a big event, as this picture illustrates.  Creating lots of new work creates a lot of creative clutter.  Paint, canvases, paintings, creating, photographing paintings, matting, framing, eating, frame making, sleeping.....  But I promise that the floor will be clear again for the tour, so please stop in and see things like my frame storage and flying pig collection (my business name is The. Flying Pig Studio). Oh yes, I'll also have my artwork.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Paint Your Dreams

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Pablo Picasso

"Paint Your Dreams" (12 x 12 inch oil on gallery wrapped canvas) is my submission to The Second Floor Studios Art Invitational.  Artists were given three different photos of the same subject to choose from:

I chose the first photo, and liked the idea that the boy was literally painting his shadow; flipping the orientation of the photo seemed to heighten the sense of that.  I also chose to change the color of his shorts in order to make him pop out a bit more.  You can see here that I have the shadow shape blocked in.

At this point, I began to think of how children use their imagination to act out their unfettered dreams of life's possibilities, and how their personal talents and dreams are carried within their hearts wherever they go, a part of them as natural and necessary as their shadow.  Picasso's quote came to mind and I envisioned this child painting his dreams and imaginings.

I tried the concept out using Photoshop to work out the general idea. I put in a take off of Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night".

And then I just went for it and created the painting (top of page).  Do you think that the finished piece communicates what I had in mind? Visit The Second Floor Studios on First Friday to see it and other artists' interpretations of the same subject.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Until the Cows Come Home

Until the Cows Come Home      6x6 inches   $95 unframed

After a very exciting trip to Burundi, Africa, I'm finally back in the studio with some concentrated time to work.  I'm currently painting images of my trip, and look forward to sharing them with you.  This little study was completed before I left.  It's a familiar scene from my home town.  I love the looseness of it, and how I managed to capture the late afternoon light.

Friends, if you are in the Pikes Peak region, First Friday is next week, May 2nd from 5 to 8pm.  I'll be in my studio and would love for you to take a peek at my latest paintings!  Let me know if you need directions to get there.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Bombshell                                   6x6 inch oil

The woman in red just tickles me!  She's "living out loud" and doesn't care a wit for what the other women think!  This piece sold to an east coast gentlemen who collects paintings of 1940-ish street scenes with people in them.  I'd love to see his collection!

I'm currently painting this scene as an 11x14 inch painting.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pensacola Beach Sunset

Pensacola Beach Sunset                       8x10 oil

I painted this piece in memory of my mother-in-law who was buried in December.  She lived most of her life in Gulf Breeze, Florida, just a stone's throw from Pensacola Beach.  The evening before her funeral, my family and I witnessed this beautiful sunset on the beach and it seemed a perfect memorial to her.  It now hangs in our home to remind us of her.

If I seemed absent online in 2013, it's because my husband and I have entered a season of helping with family illnesses.  Besides my mother-in-law's Alzheimers, my father experienced a devastating stroke last April and my sister is battling breast cancer, so I've spent a lot of time in California with them and will continue to do so for a period of time.  

2013 also brought the early retirement of my husband and the pursuit of his "encore career."  David will be working with a non-profit that empowers poor women in mostly developing countries.  He loves international travel and will be doing a lot of it.  I'll be tagging along on a trip now and then, and am looking forward to the paintings it will inspire.  I loved painting portraits of the people of South Africa when I returned from that trip, and am looking forward to painting more beautiful faces.

Meanwhile, painting has seemed to happen in short bursts, and posting seems not to have happened at all.  In March, I hope to show you the pieces that I have accomplished since last fall.  The 2014 ArtWalk season begins next month, and you'll be able to find me in my studio on First Fridays.  I'm also once again participating in the Pikes Peak Studio Tour next September, so you'll have a chance to visit me in my home studio then.

Sorry for the length of this post--I've blatantly broken my "one paragraph post" rule, but I wanted to touch base with you all and assure you that I'm still painting and hope to be back on a regular basis when circumstances allow.

Thank you all for your encouragement and support!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Kind of Man

My Kind of Man                                                         6x8 inch oil

I've had this Pillsbury Doughboy in my still life props collection for years now, but lost track of him for awhile.  When I stumbled upon him, I put him on a shelf and didn't even notice him for the longest time.  One day,  he winked and smiled at me, and I knew it was time for his portrait.

He's currently hanging in Abend Gallery's Holiday Miniature Show in Denver.  If you can't make it up there in person, call the gallery to purchase him.  Just mention my name, and the title of the painting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hambone                                      6x6 inch oil          $150

Another painting of my pig friend, still splashing around in his puddle.  He is currently at Poor Richard's Restaurant in Downtown Colorado Springs.  Hanging along with him are many other small animal paintings, and my famous donuts.  You can purchase him through the Pay Pal link above, or by visiting the restaurant.