Julian lives in the hills of southern France close to his subject, the ancient volcanic fields and secret valleys of the Auvergne. He paints in oil finding this medium the most versatile for his painting in this very changeable landscape. His first references are usually made in watercolour or quick pen and ink sketches.
The artist explains: ‘I paint quickly, in a rhythm which might, in an intangible way, reflect that of nature. I am conscious of changing light, a breeze, of moving foliage and trees and the continual motion of the skies. But the driving force is really my enthusiasm in 'finding' this new composition. In these large landscapes there may only be a small area which attracts me, and in effect which will form the initial inspiration. This might be a contrast between hilltop and sky or a chance break of sun on a mountain side, which can form the central interest of a work. I feel that we accept much of what we see in a landscape without analysis, a splash of rouge or ochre can be accepted as perhaps distant heather or open earth. And in painting too, I do not feel it is necessary to explain these features in detail, and likewise in the peripheries of my paintings, where the eye is not focused but still conscious of form and colour, I simply suggest contours and other features by painting tracts of colour with a palette knife.
Painting is sometimes like a walk in an unknown countryside, where one is inquisitive to know where the path may lead. The shapes and colours of the land around are new, with several options of paths to follow. I may turn back on occasions to take a different route. These overlaid sensations of light and colour, new forms, even temperature and smell form an evocative train of inspiration. In visualising a new work, I draw on this information almost abstractly in terms of light and contrast, line and colour until a living design is found. I find however strong the original ideas for the composition were, the work will always find a new life of its own causing me to sometimes omit certain features or to exaggerate others, with the result the work will often have strayed far from the original subject although always remaining identifiable.”
Julian’s aim is for the observer to be part of the vista, to feel the next approaching weather front, the warm scent of the surrounding bracken or cut of the January wind. With a splash of colour or a simple suggestion of contours, you are encouraged to continue the journey through the scene, to explore what lies beyond.