Love Letter to Julie Green

Julie Green, The Last Supper, 2021. Cobalt blue mineral paint, second hand ceramic plates. Courtesy of Julie Green.

Generous, to the point, and compelling—these are the words I would use to describe Julie Green as an educator and artist. From 2000 to 2021, Green dedicated her time making her “The Last Supper” project. Painting on second-hand ceramic plates with cobalt blue, Green captured the poignant essence of death row inmates. 

The first time I met Green, she was clad in a jumpsuit with a beautiful scarf wrapped around her head, holding a ceramic tea cup in the same blue. This is the color I associate with her—a lovely, opaque, deeply hued cobalt blue. Studying under her, I didn’t just learn how to paint, but also how to understand emotive color, application, and drawing with your paint. I found her to be tenacious, hard to please in the best way possible—to earn a strong grade from her was the highest honor as a student of hers at Oregon State. Even today, her lessons are interwoven into my painting. I expect they’ll continue to be throughout my lifetime. 

Some artists compartmentalize their practice from their daily lives, but Green had the ability to blend this into her every day. Green wore sweet, old-fashioned hats, unique, and spunky outfits, finished off with high top converse. She also had the ability to find beauty in simple things, like the blueberries of her garden. Green passed away this fall on October 12th, but she will live on in the memories of all those she touched. I will forever admire her devotion to her craft, as well as her insistence not just to be better painters, but better people. 

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