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Inglewood artist finds financial freedom in Philadelphia

June 21, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By CONSTANCE SCRAFIELD

It is a great thing for a lady to be able to say: “I have been selling, promoting, creating my work and raising [my son] on the proceeds of oil painting. Mostly selling in the US over the last 18 years. It’s my passion and I’ve supported the two of us through doing that.”

Happiness is Julia Gilmore’s life during which she has done exactly that. Her extraordinary work is portraying every day objects, creating them on canvas with a pallet knife in brilliantly coloured oil paints. Over the years of living in Inglewood, she has been travelling, primarily to Philadelphia, to sell her work.

Running now and until Sunday, July 8, Ms Gilmore’s work is being exhibited and sold at the Noodle Gallery in the Alton Mill Arts Centre.

It is her Adieu with Hue, which, as she explained, “..to be perfectly honest, I don’t normally exhibit my show… don’t tend to tie it up in galleries. I have to be like a turtle, carrying my house on my back. When I go to galleries in the US, I have to take my art with me. I meet my customers there because I am at the gallery with my art. Some of my customers have become good friends.”

The how of managing to paint and, then, travel the eight hour trek to Philadelphia over the many years of living here and having a young son, was a fascinating answer: “I would put him on the bus to school on the Friday. Then, I would be back in time to meet the school bus on the afternoon of Monday. Adam lived with good friends on the weekends. I made short trips to the US while he was young.

“Once Adam was older, I started going further afield, to Texas and that… he was on his own [with friends nearby]. We have a deep respect for each other. I said to him, ‘I trust you will look after yourself ‘  And he did; it taught him a lot of self reliance.”

Ms Gilmore reflected on how her own upbringing figured into this: “I owe a great debt to my mother who instilled good values the way we were raised.”

Meanwhile, she and Adam  had “no television, computer games or a dishwasher.”

“He was perfect for Ralphie,”  she remarked.

This referred to the production of A Christmas Story at Theatre Orangeville, in 2009, Adam [Bartley] played the role of Ralphie Parker.

The story of how Adam was persuaded to audition for the part goes like this: “When my mother passed away in New Hampshire, she had laid it all out how she wanted things done,” Ms Gilmore began. “She asked me to sing Ave Maria, which I did, and she wanted Adam to read a long passage from the Bible. He had never done anything like that before.

“So, there he stood in front of the entire church, and he did an incredible job of the reading. So much so, that the priest came to him after and said, ‘If I were you, I’d get an agent.’

“When I saw the call for auditions for the play at Theatre Orangeville later, I told him he should try out. He said he didn’t know how but he went anyway – and got the part!”

Ms Gilmore’s paintings were displayed in the foyer into the theatre that year as well, during the run of the show.

She praised her son, “He has been just wonderful, all along.” She commented: “My career and my family are one.”

Chatting about the inspiration for her paintings – in a way: everything, “It’s so simple for me,” she offered, “every subject and the world around me – there’s beauty everywhere. Reality is beautiful. A garbage can or a flower -when we keep our heads up, there’s beauty all around us and, if you look – it’s everywhere.”

The “Adieu” in her exhibition title comes sincerely with her plans to leave Canada to return to her family and make a home in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.

“This is a very big change,” she admitted. “The decision to move from a place where Adam has been all his life took some soul searching.”

She too has lived most of her life in Canada.

The Canadian part of her history is, “My father moved us four hours north of Montreal because he accepted a position with Domtar, the pulp and paper company; he was disenchanted with the paper company in New Hampshire. At the time, I was the baby of the three girls.

“Eventually, we moved further south. I went to art school in Montreal. The others filtered back to the US and I stayed here. I became a Canadian citizen and – you know how it is – a new citizen is so [passionate ] about the country. It has been home to us.”

She outlined the reasons and motives for the move.

“We’re building a house in the White Mountains on four acres with a big studio for the two of us. I am moving back to my roots,” she told us.

Meanwhile, Adam is here, “doing super well, finishing his second year at Ryerson, getting straight A’s. He’s pursuing another dream and going to train conductor school – owns his tractor business…”

However, she remarked, “I’ll be going back to family and friends – we have no family here. I couldn’t build a house in Caledon for the same price and the cost of living is way lower there for the same quality of life.”

The plan is for Adam to move there when he is finished school. He is currently living with a family of friends in the city, in Cabbage Town – he can walk to school.

When he comes to live in the house in the White Mountains, “he has a million and one skills and he will find his way into [something wonderful.]”

Ms Gilmore’s plan is to go in August. “Noodle Gallery pressed me to have one more show. It was phenomenal,” she was astonished to say, “people I haven’t seen in 13 years were there. I’m so thrilled with it all.”

Returning for a moment to the momentous events to come, she said, “The thing about Adam is he’s an old soul. He gets the bigger picture and he loves New Hampshire.”

Ms Gilmore’s website is www.juliagilmore.com. There is a nice little film on it. She invites you to take a look.

         

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