Words: Geoff Crockett
Issue #13 - 2022
One look at artist Julie Lucht de Freibruch's website, www.smartcoconut.com.au and it quickly becomes obvious there is a strong creative streak here.
A shuffle through the exhibition works and online shop highlights Julie's penchant for capturing the essence of landscapes and architecture with a semi-abstract style that invites the viewer to voyage deeper into the canvas and let their eyes trace the artwork all the way back to the horizon.
Her colour choices, for the vast majority of her listed works, are bright, tropical and inviting - art that would immediately give a happy lift to any wall on which it was
Skim through some of the other tabs and you find Julie the talented graphic artist, Julie the blogger and Julie the car reviewer.
Dig a bit deeper under the Art tab and check out The Big Picture - An Experiment in Cultural Cartography (2018) and you’ll discover a mind map offering Julie's point-in-time interpretation of the links between concepts of creativity, marketing and psychology from contemporary thinkers in the world of business, art, wellbeing and creativity.
You see, aside from being an artist, Julie also has an honours degree in psychology.
Julie said art has always been a part of her life. Her Dad would paint watercolours as a hobby, and as a youngster, she could constantly be found generating art and being creative.
When it came to making a career out of art though, Julie said she didn't see it as something to pursue, turning instead to science and psychology in a bid to build a career.
The psychology study morphed into a role in publishing and then graphic design.
“I’ve just gradually been inching my way towards the things that I really like to do, Julie said.
When her children came along Julie said she gave up a full time graphic design job to spend more time with them, and it was then she began to paint more seriously.
I thought I'd explore my purpose a bit more. I realised that I really love painting,' Julie said.
"I started completing artworks and put them up on Instagram and was getting lots of positive response. El Capitano, on Hastings Street, commissioned me to create a mural, and Montville Gallery contacted me and wanted me on their books.'
So it is that for the past four years or so Julie has spent more time on her painting, presenting exhibitions in 2019 (Wild Things), 2021 (Tropical Houses) and now in 2022 -
For Julie the inspiration is found in the world around her - a beach scene, a Queenslander-style home, or a rolling landscape that reminds her of the beauty of where we live and evokes memories of other landscapes from her well-travelled past.
'They are very much landscapes and compositions that I've seen, but I've stylised. I don't want to paint something realistic - we have cameras for that. I don't have the patience to paint something super realistically,' Julie said.
Julie's memory bank of landscapes includes life growing up in Belgium, a couple of years in Bahrain, two years in France, and even three weeks in Zaire before she and her family were evacuated because of some type of military action.
She met her husband, lain Curry, in the United Kingdom and they lived there together from 2003 to 2006 before making the move to the Sunshine Coast near Noosa.
In terms of process, Julie said she snaps photos of scenes that capture her imagination as she is out and about exploring with her family, including her children aged 10 and 7.
She then uses the best of those pictures as the basis of a thumbnail sketch in acrylic on watercolour paper.
If she feels the sketch works, Julie will commit to creating a bigger piece and see where the painting takes her on canvas using fluid acrylics.
'The thing is, in order to paint something, I need to really be excited about painting it. If I feel the magic that a landscape has and can record that, the painting will work.
Julie said she continues to learn more about art and her own style every day, and counted herself lucky to be able to spend the time to build her practice with the support of her family.
Julie's current collection, Finding Magic, can be found at Montville Art Gallery, Paper Pear Gallery (Wagga Wagga) or online at www.smartcoconut.com.au