Julia Mason of Omaha says her journey with watercolors began in college when she was studying art education. She took a required watercolor class and was naturally drawn to the medium. She recalls, "My instructor Amy Haney was such a calm and inspiring teacher. I admire her thoughtful artwork as well as her teaching methods."
After that class she went to England with her university for a short study abroad. That is where she purchased a mini Windsor Newton watercolor tray and a watercolor Moleskin. She made an effort to draw and paint as much as she could; everything she saw inspired me. She said, "in two short weeks I had filled the notebook and when I returned I started drawing and painting from photographs I'd taken."
Julia tells "With my dear friend Kelsey who owned Paperdoll in Benson at the time we organized a "Night in the U.K." A showcase during Benson First Friday in her shop. This was my first time showcasing my art and it was so exciting to share it with others. Out of the dozen paintings I was only left with a couple and the positive response from the public motivated me to keep painting watercolors."
Fast forward to a handful of sketchbooks and four years later and she can say that what has inspired her the most to create art is the 500 students that she teaches each week. Julia says, "It's really hard work being a teacher. Like really really hard! I didn't know what I was getting myself into when I made the career choice my senior year in High School. Sometimes I don't feel like painting after a long day. Sometimes I just want to cook dinner and go to bed. Despite the challenges of teaching, some of these kids look forward to art all week. "Ms. Mason when do we have art?" Or "What are we doing in art today?" Are questions I commonly get. These questions are more frequent than the kids shouting out during my lesson or crawling on the table, or just refusing to work. The pros out weigh the bad in this case fortunately (: What these kids need is what Amy Haney's class gave me in College, inspiration and exposure. They also need a role model and to tell you the truth their work inspires me. Their beautiful spontaneous and carefree brush strokes are what remind me of what art should be sometimes. Not caring what other people think but just creating for pure art sake."
Julia loves what she does. She says it's not easy running her own business and teaching art full time, but she doesn't know what else she would pick. Her dad told her two weeks before he passed "Julia, you're so lucky to be able to do what you love." She says, "I think about that from time to time and feel lucky."