I find Julie Hood in a meditative state. Her fingers lead the brush on canvas, and she is smiling to herself. This is the perfect picture of a strong soul who has found courage through her creativity.
Always on a quest to find something to make, Julie Hood began her art career as a little girl. “As early as I can remember, I wanted to become an artist. It was something I could do happily, alone. I always had very few friends, and was very shy and socially awkward. Art was my escape, and still is, from the pressures of society, and from my own mind.”
With a lack of confidence, and having suffered from anxiety and depression for most of her life, Julie found herself trapped under the control of an abusive spouse by the time she was twenty-one. Darkness followed her, But at the end of the day, she remained true and loyal to her artwork. “Sometimes, I think that is what drove me to keep working on my art, almost in rebellion to his criticism and lack of support. I had something to prove, that I could persevere and become a serious artist, regardless of the critical voices from inside as well as out.”
Finding inspiration from her faith, the beauty of the natural world, and her children’s love, she escaped the harsh reality of her hopeless marriage. Painting was an escape that helped her through her divorce, healing her from the years of pain and suffering.” After my divorce, my work changed from tight and overworked, to fun, spontaneous, bright and adventurous. I had confidence to show and sell my collection of painted furniture, and I was able to open a studio on my own. I took a drawing and an illustration class at Rhode Island School of Design. I was selling my work, and teaching at a local art museum.” Doors opened and, for seventeen years, Julie taught children of all ages – not only about the meaning of creativity, but the importance of being happy and growing as a human being.
Julie has recently retired from teaching, and gave love a second chance. She married her husband, Kerry Hood, renowned photographer from New England, almost a year and a half ago, and lives in the hands of peace. In the end we can all learn that with strength and perseverance, beautiful things can be created, even in the dark.
by Sarah Shoen
Close your eyes, feel your courage, and create beautiful things.