Singer/ songwriter Judy McIsaac
Artist Julie Longacre and her Cape Breton connection
Artist Julie Longacre has long had a connection to Cape Breton with a home now in Port Hood.
She has exhibited her work at the local level as well as back home in Pennsylvania and has published several books including a title called The Place I Keep, which features her sketches, paintings, and poetry.
Julie kindly dropped off a copy of The Place I Keep recently as part of our series of features in The Oran on artists and writers with Cape Breton connections.
Julie’s Cape Breton connection
“As a tourist visiting Nova Scotia for the first time in 1991, I was so impressed with the scenery, and all those trees. My first reaction as an artist was ‘How was I ever going to paint all those pine needles?’ When I arrived on Cape Breton Island, I never wanted to leave. Was it the scenic drama and moody weather that appealed to me? Whatever it was...I knew that we were a match made in Paradise (that’s how the locals refer to a perfect day in Port Hood.) I purchased a home there in 1999, opening my Harbourview Studio the following year.
“In Cape Breton, I’m inspired by the magnificent landscape of forested hills, farm lands, and quaint historic buildings by the edge of the sea all subject to the constant change in the weather. I'm quieted by the sense of peace and tranquility as I walk the pristine beaches and admire the wild rocky coast line.
“By 1997, I had a collection of drawings and water colours that I completed on subsequent trips, living at the Lighthouse Cottages by the Sea. Many of the drawings appeared in the Traveller’s Guide to Cape Breton, written by Pat O’Neil. In 1998, I was invited to exhibit my work at the University College of Cape Breton Art Gallery.”
About the artist
Her passion for painting has attracted the attention of a wide audience. In her familiar surroundings she is fondly known as an artist of the people. She not only draws her inspiration from local landscape, but returns her scenic portraits back to communities to raise money for charity.
Growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, from an early age these surroundings influenced Julie’s artistic development. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, she began a career as a fine artist, first working in Williamsburg, Virginia, before settling in Pennsylvania, where she established her name among the artists of the Mid-Atlantic States. Awards and exhibitions soon gave way to the commissions that remain the major portion of her work today.
She is comfortably proficient working in any medium, whether it be water colour, oil, or acrylic. Her preference of medium depends on the effect she wishes to achieve. Her studios are set up with a designated area for each medium, allowing her to move from one to the other with ease. She has several paintings in progress at any given time.
About The Place I Keep (A review by Larry Roeder, Town and Country newspaper)
The Place I Keep is a wonderful trip into the mind and heart of Julie Longacre. Her poems are heartwarming, amusing, and inspirational. Each one capable of provoking a personal remembrance for the reader. The poems are interspersed with anecdotes, bringing you into the sonnets that introduce you to the life of a very talented artist.
Her beautiful sketches, set throughout the work, provide a gentle pause for the mind and allow one to reflect on her words, while gazing into the simple beauties of life.
Julie’s thoughts translate well into her poems. Written over a span of decades, the book could well be an autobiography of the author. Her words reflect the moods and experiences sprinkled with the innocence of childhood and the reality of life.
Using the months of the year as a guide, the author transports us into her life, then and now. Using the cool month of November as the start of this warm journey, her pictures and words intertwine to give the reader a cleansing, and sometimes soul-searching experience. By the time our minds complete the trip through October, we know Julie and ourselves. There are no favourites in this collection – they are all favourites.
Capable of bringing life to a canvas with pencil, oil, or water colour, in a way few can, Longacre, with The Place I Keep, has added the written word to her contributions to the world of art.
Readers will thank her for sharing them.
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