The process of composing, sketching, painting, choosing colors, judging values and all that is involved in creating a painting has been my passion and inspired me since I was a young girl.
I choose compositions and subjects that I would like in my own home…people and sites that make me feel good. Therefore, when I work on a commissioned piece, I like meeting the person(s) or seeing the site so that I can create a piece of art work with composition, colors and feeling that I would love in my own home for a lifetime.
I believe God has given me this gift to use and to keep developing each day of my life. I pray that I will always keep my mind open to new ideas and methods. I believe you grow by observing nature and studying art work that you like. The more I observe and study, the more I see and want to create.
Julia Bythewood Hodges was born in Savannah, Georgia, a fifth generation native of the city. At an early age Julia demonstrated her natural artistic talent when she won a scholarship to the Telfair Art Academy under David Reese for her sketches and perspective paintings. In 1967 Julia earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia where her love of and talent for painting and sketching continued to grow and develop.
After graduating from college, Julia traveled through Europe visiting museums and studying the classic artists and their work. When she returned home to Athens, she was inspired by the impressionists and their use of light, movement and free, loose brush strokes. She found herself especially drawn to the impressionistic works of Beaux, Corot, Monet and Sargent.
In 1976, Julia moved to Savannah where she began working for the Savannah Corps of Engineers creating architectural renderings. It was at the Corps of Engineers that Julia first began painting pastel portraits of co-workers. Julia's ability to capture the likeness and personality of her subjects made her extremely popular in the company, as well as locally in Savannah.
In 1986, Julia moved to Atlanta where she began working for Heery International, an architectural firm. She continued to do commissioned art work on the weekends. In 2006, Julia left her corporate career to follow her passion of painting portraits and landscapes full-time. She has since become involved in the Portrait Society of America and served on the Cecilia Beaux Forum which helps to strengthen the role of women as portrait artists.
Julia’s works are held in private collections throughout the Southeast and Texas. In 2015, Julia was commissioned to paint The Honorable William T. Moore, Federal Judge. It hangs in the Savannah, Georgia Federal Courthouse. Her portraits are highly sought after for capturing the casual natural expressions, poses and likenesses of her subjects in an impressionistic manner.