Painting with Passion and Purpose
As a young teen, I started painting walls when my sister married and moved away. I probably painted the walls three or four times before I moved out of my parent’s home.
To earn airfare for an after high-school vacation, I painted the exterior of our house. It was a big job, but all that painting got me very comfortable with a paint brush. In some form or another I have painted ever since.
My interest in faux painting began when my children were just babies. The thought of re-wallpapering rooms after struggling to remove nursery wallpaper was unappealing. Many people were doing sponge painting and so did I, but I went further with a seascape mural with clouds in one room. Throughout the years, I taught myself other techniques and experimented with a variety of tools. My work ranges from faux techniques donning the walls of homes and businesses to abstract wall hangings and murals in my local church and even across the ocean.
Several years ago I traveled to Kiev, Ukraine with my daughter and sister to help with mission work. Before I went, I was asked what I could do…and what I liked to do, and I said “paint”. My job was to oversee a project transferring a local artist’s drawing onto a large cement wall. It was an effort to beautify a community and offer hope in a dismal part of town.
After raising my two children, I wanted and needed to do something productive with my energy and newfound freedom. The result was Wall Expressions by Julie — a decorative/faux-painting business, implementing some techniques with plaster-based products and paint.
Another reason for this endeavor was to raise funds for a school in Thailand, where my daughter works with Help Save The Kids (HSTK). This ministry is on the Thai/Burma border, for children of the Karen ethnic group in impoverished Burma. The Karen group is one of the most persecuted people groups in the war-torn country. The school provides these children with education that is not available to most of Burma's ethnic minorities. Help Save the Kids has some land of its own to develop a community project that uses natural resources for farming and the construction of buildings, and apply leading-edge technologies in renewable energy resources. This project will become a working model that can be replicated in other struggling communities along the Thai/Burma border.
A New Direction
It was quite by accident that I started to paint on canvas as well as walls. After painting an office in a subtle paint technique, I asked my client if I could try some wall techniques on canvas for the room. I had so much fun the next several days painting that I did several canvases to show to the customer. The paintings were a mixture of faux painting style, abstract and landscapes. That was the start of paintings that hang on walls instead of painting walls!
It was exciting to me, to expand the way that I could raise money for the children in Thailand. Either way I paint it fits in with my business name. And I know when I paint that these kids will get a portion of the proceeds for educational supplies , music equipment , or medical expenses — whatever is in urgent need.
Odds and Ends
I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and after getting married moved out to the country, almost an hour from downtown. I love being outside and I love looking out my windows to see the four seasons that Ohio has to offer. I enjoy being active and I belong to my local YMCA and visit often. Although my daughter lives across the globe, my son and his family are not very far away and I enjoy coloring, cooking and sharing nature with my grandchildren. I play percussion for my church’s worship team and sometimes am their back up drummer. That too, was a passion I discovered about 10 years ago.
To learn more about the ministry that I support visit helpsavethekids.org