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A picture of Julie Speed

Julie Speed


in artist, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a full time painter. My studio used to be the jail for the former Fort D.A. Russell, located on the southeast edge of the town of Marfa, Texas about 60 miles north of the Rio Grande border with Mexico. It's quiet. Here's a link to a studio tour of "Dark Skies".

What hardware do you use?

I switch back and forth between gouache paint, collage, oil paint and sometimes assemblage and printmaking.

For the gouache paintings I use water-soluble gouache over a base of acrylic stabilized gouache on heavy weight Arches watercolor paper. Usually cold-press.

For collage I use an X-Acto knife to cut, changing blades often. Then I paint the paper edges a neutral gray in order to hide the white of the edge when it's glued down. Mat gel medium for collage glue. Brayers and a rolling pin to smooth it out. Multiple pieces of thick glass with weights on top to set it nice and flat. When it's dry I can paint over and into the found paper with the gouache again and again.

For the oils I use gessoed wood (usually birch) panels sanded smooth. Liquin for a medium with small cheap brushes which I change often. I'm partial to filberts and very small liners for the details. Gamvar varnish only after months of drying. The Gamvar is also handy because you can use it on both acrylic and oil which means that when I want to combine oil and collage, all I do is put multiple coats of matte gel medium over the paper parts of the painting (the gel is 100% acrylic) and then I can varnish the whole thing at once when it's done.

For printmaking polymer gravure plates printed on a American French Tool etching press and almost always use a Kitakata chine collé. The polymer plates let me combine collage with drawing to make the image.

To photograph the work I use a Canon EOS 5D hooked up to a Godox QS400II light strobe system. It's 50 MPX so I can get pretty good detail.

And what software?

To process the photographs I use Lightroom. I've pretty much switched to Lightroom for most of what I used to use Photoshop for. It pissed me off when they switched to a subscription model.

I still have a great old non-subscription InDesign program that I use all the time for other projects. I use it to make catalog PDFs - here's a link to the latest online example on Publitas (love their simple page design). Sometimes I use it to make stills which I combine in iMovie to make videos. Here's an example from a video room I made for a show at the El Paso Museum of Art a couple of years ago.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm hoping my InDesign program will withstand the next macOS update and I don't have to switch to subscription for that.