Julia Swartz Bio
Julia Swartz, a lifetime resident of Lancaster County Pennsylvania, has always had an eye for things of beauty. Whether it was genetic, her environment, or both, she has always been interested in art, flower gardens and decorating her home. Even when she was a little girl, she would borrow her mother’s oil paints and begin developing her skills in applying paint to canvas. While going through grade school and high school, Julia took advantage of what few art courses were offered.
After graduating from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1970, Julia briefly studied oil painting with the late Jay McVey of Ephrata PA, but marriage and children absorbed most of her time for the next decade and a half. It wasn’t until Julia got the last or her three children off to school, that she began to get more serious about her artistic talents. Julia joined the Lancaster County Art Association (LCAA) and began studies with tutors, Ann Fields, Fred Witmer, Dr. Ronald Sykes and Lynn Yancha and attended workshops such as those offered by Zoltan Szabo.
Julia was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s large cell lymphoma in November 1999, but after many prayers by her church, family, and friends, and after 6 months of chemotherapy treatments, the cancer was gone. Since the cancer experience, Julia has taken her artistic talent to an even higher level.
A trip to New York Art Expo and several other New York galleries in 2001 was the spark that began a serious study of oil impressionism on canvas. True to her self taught ways, she armed herself with stacks of art books, and magazines, and made many more visits to Museums and galleries observing and absorbing all she could. Thus began her current look of very textured, bold, color on color, palette knife, impressionist oil on canvas paintings. Julia loves to explore, create, and try new things so you will rarely ever see her paint the same thing twice. “It would be boring to paint it again,” says Julia. Thus her subjects are wide and varied, from landscapes to cats, flowers, figures and portraits. Who knows what will be next.
Since 2003 Julia has exhibited and sold her work in over 50 juried art exhibitions and won numerous awards. People's Choice Award from Lancaster Museum of Art 2005, 1st place Oil Painting from Bel Air Arts Festival 2005, Best of Show Canandaigua NY Arts Festival 2004, to name a few. Julia has been commissioned to paint many subjects to the satisfaction of her customers including President Judge Michael Georgelis, whose portrait now hangs alongside the other past President Judges in the Lancaster county courthouse. While it is rewarding to see the pleased looks of customers as they view their commission for the first time, what Julia loves most is a blank canvas and an idea in her mind’s eye, an opportunity with no limits or boundaries to create an image that creates a feeling when looked upon.
For many years, Julia dreamed of having her own gallery. In March 2007 Julia joined Gallery Row in downtown Lancaster by opening her own gallery. In July 2014 Julia opened a second gallery in Intercourse PA. Her husband Terry, manages the Intercourse gallery. On December 31 2015, after 9 years, Julia retired from her gallery in Lancaster but not from painting. Turning 64, with many grandchildren and an aging Father, it seemed appropriate to adjust some priorities.
Another contributing factor to closing the gallery is the status of her vision. Julia was diagnosed with macular degeneration about 28 years ago. In the last two years, she noticed a significant change in her eyesight. “I can still paint impressionistic style, and that is the style I truly love, so I feel blessed. My passion to paint continues!”
June 2019, Julia continues to paint with passion and babysit grandchildren. Her Father has since passed and Julia’s eyesight has continued to decline, however very slowly. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays you will find her painting at her gallery in the village Intercourse PA. Other days, Julia may be spending time with Grandchildren, tending succulents in her greenhouse or painting in her home studio.
May 15 2020 Julia & Terry retired their gallery in the village of Intercourse PA. For some time they had contemplated when they might retire from the everyday retail store to a website store and home studio setup. When Covid19 shut everything down, they decided now was the time to semi retire. Julia is still painting in her home studio and Terry is still making prints, framing and keeping the website up to date. They are available most days by phone, text, email or zoom to answer any questions or just to visit. 717-723-8099.