October 12, 2011
New Mexico has long been recognized as a place of great beauty, majestic landscapes and rich culture. It is no wonder that a place like New Mexico attracts numerous artists from around the globe.
Julie Blackstone, OBU assistant professor of art, recently traveled to the “Land of Enchantment” to stay in OBU’s cabin at Glorieta Conference Center and attend a ceramics workshop in Santa Fe. OBU’s Faculty Development Funds paid a large portion of the expense allowing Blackstone to continue her education and learn new skills. During the time spent in New Mexico, she traveled around the state and captured some of its beauty in a series of paintings.
Blackstone has taken many classes in Santa Fe before, including classes on art and culture of Santa Fe. She has painted in Santa Fe for several years.
The latest series of paintings were intended to resemble postcards because they bring to mind pleasant memories and simple beauty. The series of paintings, called Postcards II, was displayed in OBU’s Geiger Center during the summer.
Most of the paintings were done en plein air, meaning they were painted outdoors on location. They are referred to as quick “sketches” with paint, usually done during a brief session. The other paintings were done later using photos taken during the trip as reference.
The various locations of the paintings include landscapes and buildings of Abiquiu, Echo Canyon, Chimayo, Ghost Ranch, Pecos, Santa Fe and Taos.
“Many of New Mexico’s greatest and most famous architectural gems are churches,” said Blackstone, who included church buildings or church ruins in five of her paintings. “Nevertheless, though church buildings remind people of their connection to God, New Mexico’s big, blue sky, the majesty of the mountains, the grandeur of the canyons ... all provide an artist –- or anyone else, for that matter –- with further evidence of the glory of God.”
Blackstone earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Central State University (now University of Central Oklahoma). She has taught full-time at OBU since August 1997. Her career has included international study and experience at art studios and colleges and schools across Oklahoma.
Before becoming an educator, she worked as an intern with an advertising agency in England, and was an artist and designer with Glasshaus Studio. She has taught private art lessons for many years, and worked as a volunteer ceramics assistant in OBU’s art program for nearly 15 years. She has had her work accepted at numerous juried shows, and is a two-time winner of the Handweavers’ Guild of America Award for Excellence. She annually contributes art for fundraising for non-profit organizations in the area, including Habitat for Humanity and the Unity Hospital Foundation. She is an active member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Shawnee.