"There. Now I can see it!" So declared my mentor, first-generation Abstract Expressionist Milton Resnick, as he took my brush and dragged it loosely through my stiff painting. Suddenly the painting was a unified whole instead of parts. It was my first inkling that a painting has a life force of its own - and that, instead of inflicting myself on it, I could be receptive to it.
In the decades since, I have continued to nurture my relationship with the life force of the artwork, which I call the painting spirit.
To that end, I temper luminous acrylics with earthy Conte crayon - and confident brushstrokes with lyrical doodling - to create the illusion of depth and take the eye on a joyride through that space.
Each painting begins with a specific dream or spiritual experience that I want to amplify. Often working with eyes closed, I move between visualization and layer-building, including gesture, washes and wipe-aways, and mark-making.
Once the painting reaches a critical mass of interestingness, I nudge its spatial depth and flow - always listening to the beautiful and mysterious painting spirit, so it sings with a clear vibration.
I watch for the moment when the whole painting opens up like a hologram and something thrilling comes to life that I've never seen before!
In this way, the completed painting becomes a harmonious, dynamic portal that invites the viewer to sense the spiritual vibration behind it.
Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Sedona-based artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann creates luminous abstract paintings in acrylic and Conte crayon.
Her work explores themes of spiritual dreams and visions.
Educated on both coasts, Engelmann holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) from Barnard College in New York City, where she had the good fortune to study with first-generation Abstract Expressionist Milton Resnick.
Two decades of teaching abstract painting have honed Engelmann's specialty in helping abstract artists bring their mid-process paintings from "beautiful mess" to fulfilled completion.
Engelmann's artwork has won many awards and was featured in a retrospective solo exhibition, Being Spirit, at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Altoona, Pennsylvania. She has exhibited with contemporary galleries in Pennsylvania and Arizona, including the LaFond Gallery in Pittsburgh and the James Ratliff Gallery in Sedona.
Discover more at julieengelmann.com or
What people say about Julie's art
"I just can't begin to tell you what seeing your work does to me. I am mesmerized, amazed, in awe at your use of the paint, your wondrous luminous colors. Your work is phenomenal and inspiring."
- Annette Ballow, Artist, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
"Julie Bernstein Engelmann combines passages of poured and brushed paint that remind one of stained glass creations. Her technique relies partly on many years of study and partly on an intuitive, creative interaction with what she refers to as the painting spirit. The resulting works are spiritually resonant and ineffably uplifting."
- Barbara Hollander, Site Coordinator, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Altoona, Pennsylvania
"The paintings are like personal stories, only just their distilled essence. Each one has a very specific feeling, distinct from the others, which is unusual in abstract art."
- Donna Chesler, Owner, Gallery 527, Jerome, Arizona
"I had seen a few of your pieces earlier, as you know, but I hadn't realized how wide-ranging and yet consistent your style is. Of all the things you showed me, I think only one pair of paintings seemed related to one another; yet all were distinctly yours.... Your new paintings are really engaging--a bit like a theatrical production in that they just keep on going once the curtain goes up, so to speak. As an art critic, I think that's one of the major things you bring to the party."
- Dr. V. Scott Dimond, Curator for Visual Arts, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania
"I enjoyed reviewing your breathtaking art today. It is imaginative, provocative and unique. Your phrase 'Abstract art that speaks to the heart & spirit' is a perfect description of your work. And the titles you have chosen for each piece help to make the beauty and meaning of each piece resonate with the viewer even more."
- Gail M. Weber, Twin Cities TOSCA arts guide, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"The joy & energy is flying off the canvas" - "Fabulous and full of wonder" - "Dynamic
color explosions" - "This room is on fire!!!"
These are comments from the guest
book at Julie's shows. "I usually do not like abstract paintings, but I walked in the
room and was struck still by the depth of emotion in your work, very unexpected!""