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Interview with Artist Julie Kluh

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Julie Kluh grew up on Puget Sound in Olympia and spent many days on the beach next to the bay. She says she loved it then and loves it now! She must have for she soon embarked upon a ten month journey on her sailboat, in her mid-twenties, after she studied art in college. Here she began to merge her loves…love of painting with a love of the sea.

Painting the ocean became the most beautiful expression of what she loves. She speaks eloquently of how the ocean has always been a place of healing and regeneration for her. It has been life-giving and life-affirming in unspoken ways. She says, “The Ocean brings me a sense of belonging, comfort and possibility. Being a child near the bay has led me to where I am today, back by the bay and painting it too!” One can nearly smell the salty air as she describes her gifts, technique, style and inspirations. Enjoy her writing as well as her lovely art at: The Artist’s Gallery in Olympia, WA.

“The greatest gift I have given was one I gave myself. I was often told I was talented but spent years denying it. My parents put me through art school, another honored gift, however, claiming my worth and ability as an artist was harder to receive. The internal act of acknowledging my strength, my eye, and my desire to create has been the greatest gift of all, without that I would not be where I am today. Somehow it hit home for me while reading Big Magic, a book by Elizabeth Gilbert. Thanks Liz for that!

I use oil paint, which I was taught to use at the University of Washington where I got a fundamental understanding of how to deal with them. Oil paint is rich and I love how it mixes and the levels of workability as it dries.

I create the real looking light of seascapes, and try to stay true to the colors I see. I love how the sun lights up the waves displaying what can often be a rainbow of colors, however, my palette is often blues, greens and grays and I love the soft and peaceful combinations they make.

I am inspired by many living artists, however, I am totally enchanted with Vermeer, who I paint nothing like and Sorolla, who is to me one of the ultimate masters. Sorolla captured light by the sea in what appears to be the most casual and confident brush strokes. I’m sure his effort to create work that looks so carefree, yet capture light so realistically took a lifetime of dedication.

My style is realistic and although I believe there is a style that comes through, I would argue that when you see my paintings in real life and get a closer look at the brush strokes, it is quite loose and it is clear to see it is painted. Style is one of the most interesting aspects of artists to me, as each artist really does have their own way of seeing and making marks, it naturally expresses itself without really doing anything. I hope to continue to refine my style, simply by doing and experimenting and working to make it suit my taste.

Trust your own visual taste and don’t let the opinion of others bring down that vision. No matter what, other opinions of what you create should hold little to no value. It seems useful to take advice, and it can be, but letting it go in one ear and out the other is actually very important. When it comes to your art, you have to remain solid in what you see, believe and trust your vision. If you start to create based on trends or others opinions you weaken your ability to create your true vision. Your specific vision that is coming out of your heart and head and hands is unique to you. Some will not understand and say you should do it differently, some will be blown away. When it comes to putting your art out into the world, trusting your own instincts on what looks good to you is the most important lesson. Hold your vision!”

Check out her website at

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