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JULYA KIRKPATRICK (AM. 1917-2012)




Dallas artist Julya Kirkpatrick painted a variety of subjects in all media, however she is best known for her drawings and watercolor paintings of homes, churches and public buildings representing 19th century architecture of Texas. Kirkpatrick spent many years teaching art in public schools. She later enjoyed pursuing her special interest – the painting, research and lecturing on old buildings of Texas.

Although born in Missouri, Kirkpatrick’s childhood in Texas greatly influenced her later artistic endeavors. Kirkpatrick accompanied a degree in literature at the University of Texas and an education degree at Southern Methodist University with classes in art and architecture. She then pursued graduate work at Texas Women’s University and North Texas State University. Moreover, Kirkpatrick studied at the Dallas Arts Institute and Dallas Museum of Fine Art, working with artists such as Olin Travis and Otis Dozier. Years later, she returned to Southern Methodist University where she studied with DeForrest Judd, Dan Wingren and Jerry Bywaters. She regularly attended one of Ramon Froman’s critique classes.

Julya Kirkpatrick is a charter and signature member of the Southwest Watercolor Society. She states, “In the early days of SWS, I was introduced to the solid principles of fine watercolor painting as espoused by that trio of master watercolor teachers, Ed Whitney, Rex Brandt and Robert E. Wood and I utilize their tenets everyday.” She was also a member of the Artists and Craftsmen Association, San Antonio Watercolor Society and Texas Watercolor Society.

She has participated in a number of group shows, one-man shows, exhibits and galleries, and has received various awards throughout her career.

Throughout Kirkpatrick’s childhood, she heard colorful accounts of goings-on behind the walls of old Texas homes, thus fostering an interest in Texas’ architectural heritage. As an artist her goal became the preservation of a piece of Texas history by recording these structures. Despite the various complications, Kirkpatrick not only favored plein-air painting, but considered it a vital part of her experience. “The effect that the structure has had on its surroundings and the reverse effect of surroundings on the house creates an atmosphere that can only be captured painting directly on location.” During these sittings, she was often approached by individuals recounting stories of her subject.

Furthermore, she utilized artistic techniques such as exaggeration of select characteristics to best convey personality and mood of the subject. Kirkpatrick’s paintings impart a genuine portrayal of Texas history.

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