Julia Loken S.B.A.


Before starting to paint professionally, Julia worked for 20 years as a botanical illustrator, making detailed pen and ink illustrations for textbooks and botanical publications. She was originally employed at the Forest-Botany Herbarium at
Oxford University, England, but then worked freelance when she moved with her husband to the United States for five years. This work continued when they returned to Oxford, now with two children.
In 1980, she turned her attention to watercolours, and with no formal training, began to paint. Her interest in botany, and her love of plants naturally led her to choose these forms as her main subjects, but she also enjoys painting a variety of country landscapes, both at home and abroad.
Indulging her passion for plant collecting, she and her husband have, over the years, created a beautiful flower and vegetable garden around their 220 year old cottage in
Eynsham, near Oxford. Here she grows many of the plants that appear in her paintings. "I am endlessly fascinated by the beauty and diversity of plant forms," she says, "and I attempt to express this wonder in my paintings by varying my style and technique, according to how I feel about each particular subject". For more than 35 years she volunteered to spend one morning each week teaching plant drawing to young children at her local village school. She also tried to instil in them a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world in our increasingly technological age. More recently she teaches adults too, demonstrating various watercolour techniques.
Since starting to paint in 1980, she has had 25 solo exhibitions in conjunction with
Oxford Art Weeks, as well as four in Geneva, Switzerland, one in Dijon France, and two in galleries in Oxford. She has also participated in many group exhibitions. In 1998, one of her paintings was chosen by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, U.S.A. for inclusion in the ninth International Exhibition of Botanical Art, which toured the United States. In 2000 she was invited to become a member of the Society of Botanical Artists. She now participates regularly in their London exhibitions, and in 2006 won the award for the "Best Painting of Plants in their Natural Setting".
In 2005 Julia had a solo exhibition at the prestigious
Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, U.S.A., and also undertook two large commissions for the Sultan of Oman. The American exhibition led to a feature article about her and her work in the American Artist Watercolor Magazine, and this in turn led to her being invited to teach a workshop to a group of artists in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2006. In June 2007, 2009, and 2014 Julia had three more successful solo exhibitions at the Gerald Peters Gallery, and she has also contributed to group exhibitions there several times each year. Julia also undertakes private commissions.
Julia is inspired by the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe, whose work she admires enormously, and who once wrote: "When you take a flower in your hand, and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else".
That says it all!