Hidden in The Soul of a Child

Our third installment in our collaboration journey is a mixed media piece done by Julie Beck of JulieBCreative and Kim Vredenburg of KimVGlass. Julie attached one of Kim's electroformed skeleton keys with a large glass cabochon to her painting. The theme of the piece is the education of children using the key set against a beautiful rural and rustic scene. We asked Julie and Kim about this project.
Please tell us a little about yourself and what kind of art you make.

Julie: I am an acrylic painter. I am happiest when I'm sitting in front of my easel, painting away while the day slips by...although I normally paint at night...so I guess it's "as the night slips by". My paintings range in all types of sizes, but I like to work in either square canvases, or very horizontally long canvases, bold colors, and nostalgic and/or rural imagery.

Kim: Up until last year I taught elementary school but once I retired I was able to devote more time to my glasswork. I've been working with glass for over 20 years, starting with stained glass and eventually lampworking. There is something so intriguing about melting glass in a flame and seeing what one can create with it!

Can you tell us how you got started on this project and how it has evolved?

Julie: After Arts In RI decided that we were going to do collaborations, I went through all the people participating and landed on Kim. She has skeleton keys that are flat on the back so I knew it would be a simple process to attach to a painting. She started out by making the key, and lucky for me, she had me make decisions along the way. I got to choose colors for the glass, from a selection of keys, as well as which glass cab I wanted when she was done. All those decisions ultimately led me to what color scheme the painting was going to be.

Kim: When the Arts In RI team members were discussing doing collaborations, I remember thinking that there wasn't one member that I couldn't envision working with. They are an extremely talented group of artists! That being said, I was thrilled when Julie contacted me about collaborating with her.

What inspired you about your partner's art?

Julie: I've used skeleton keys in the past for still life subjects, but I liked the blue patina she had on some of her work. Also, her use of color is really vibrant. I stick to bold vibrant color for the most part, so it seemed a perfect fit.

Kim: I love Julie's style, her subject matter, and her use of colors!!! I hoped that combining her work with mine would produce a fantastic mixed media piece....and I think I was right! :-)

How did you ultimately decide to make what you did?

Julie: I sketched out my idea before I started. Once I had the idea down, Kim made the key, and I got to work!

Kim: When Julie and I first started discussing integrating my glass into her work, I just KNEW I had to do an electroformed key. I was positive that it would meld very nicely with Julie's style and subject matter.

Can you give us some insight into your brainstorming process?

Julie: I started with the sketch and an idea. Kim and I talked over the idea and what the look and feel was going to be. We agreed on this type of scene...so the brainstorming process was the catalyst.

Kim: We used Etsy e-mail system and "talked" via Convos until we were able to meet in person. When we met, Julie brought her sketchbook with her and drew out various alternatives. Our project started to take shape at this point.

Did this collaboration stretch your creative limits?

Julie: Absolutely! I normally stick to bold earth tones, but Kim's colors for the key pushed me into a less explored color scheme. It sounds like it's not a difficult thing but in reality, it takes a lot of reworking and layers to get just the right color to match.

Kim: Did this stress me? Yes :-) I wanted to make the perfect piece for Julie and the glass doesn't always cooperate. Did it stretch me, definitely! The color scheme that Julie and I decided would look best with her work incorporated some colors that can be difficult to work with in borosilicate, and not some that I work with regularly. So, I was stretched "technically".

Were there any roadblocks or setbacks?

Julie: Surprisingly no!

Kim: No, this was a totally fun experience!!

Did you find this to be a rewarding experience and why?

Julie: This was a really great challenge and I am already on the lookout for next 3D item I can use in a painting. It not only forced me to work with different colors, but also got me thinking in a whole new dimension.

Kim: Absolutely! When I'm working alone in my studio I can feel a bit isolated (which is not necessarily a bad thing) and it felt good to expand outside my glass world!! It is really great to work with someone so creative!

Julie has created a time lapse video of her painting this work of art here

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3 Responses
  1. Valerie Says:

    Very nice article! The two pieces are gorgeous together. Fabulous!!

  2. Julie Beck Says:

    this was such a fun project!

  3. Venbead Says:

    I admire the talent of these two members so much. what a wonderful collaboration!