*Artist: Julie Schroeder
Raised on the outskirts of a Canadian town in the late 50’s, Julie’s love of nature grew as she explored the surrounding woods, fields, creeks, and shorelines, bringing home everything from fossils to tadpoles. Helen and John Albert just smiled and shook their heads as their daughter brought home yet another surprise from the wilds.
“The delicious beauty of a wild strawberry, the song of a redwing blackbird and melting spring snow in the mountains still inspire me. I always loved art, and as a teenager did sketches, colored pencil drawings and using a candle to melt crayons, combined them with leaves, moss, and other natural objects. I fell in love with watercolor in my late teens, and discovered how amazing it is to express nature through this medium.”
While completing her undergraduate work in geography, her eyes turned to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She spent every summer trekking through the woodlands, meadows and peaks of the alpine country, and her love for nature turned into a passion for the wild places. This is still expressed in her art today. During her collage years, she tried parachuting, hang gliding and got her certification as a scuba diver. Exploring the ocean with sea turtles, sharks and giant manta rays has also been one of her favorite pastimes.
After getting a degree in teaching, her first job was with the Inuit in Arctic Canada. The 5 years of living with the people of the far north became one of the most profound experiences in her life. “I can still hear the Canadian geese as they return in the spring to nest on the tundra, the wind as it howls across the treeless land, the echoing sound of walking across the frozen snow and the laughter of the Inuit children. The taste of wild arctic char and bannock while we ice fished in spring is unforgettable. The blue Hudson Bay ice reflecting into frozen sundogs, the haunting sight of thousands of caribou in the fading arctic light and of course the mystifying dance of the multicolored northern lights, you’ll make them dance- so there we were on night, standing outside at 40 below (with most of the village) all looking up at the lights, everyone whistling at the sky.”
Julie has read extensively and studied under nationally known artists Jan Foss, Karlyn Holman, Barry Lovegrove, Jan Fabian Wallake, Karen Knudsen, Bob Burridge, Nita Engle and Tom Lynch. “I’ll always be grateful to Jan for her many years of patient guidance and to Karlyn for her encouragement, generosity, and for inspiring me with her endless enthusiasm and pure joy for creating.” Julie’s art has moved through different seasons in the 30 years since she bought her 1st set of “real” paints. Her painting approach has developed to a loose and free style, interpreting nature sometimes using collage along with paint. Julie is teaching classes and workshops and is a member of Northstar Watercolor Society and the Minnesota Watercolor Society.
It was during one of her summers in the Rocky Mountains of Waterton Lakes that she met her husband Dan who shares her passion for nature. Now, together with their sons, Michael and David, and their golden retriever, they travel, collect fossils and explore the natural and hidden places together. She continues to find her inspiration in nature from the cosmic beauty of space to the fragileness of a tiny flower.