New Beginnings

May 3, 2024

When I first started painting my JAO style figures in the late 1980’s I wanted to make art that was simple, bold and had an immediate emotional impact. Painting live…

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In the Open Air

May 23, 2023

En Plein Air is French for in the open air. We use the expression for painting outdoors. I like to hike. I like to paint. It’s not surprising that this…

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Drawn from Life

April 20, 2023

Fall 2019, I did something I thought I’d never do, I took up landscape painting. I guess it was doubt that drove me to it. With the words of Leah…

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Circles in Circles

March 24, 2021

“Circles in Circles” is a live painting experience creatively combining video of nature with a live feed of artist painting.

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Daisies on the Mind

February 2, 2021

A poem entitled FLOWERS has graced the return of JAO blog. Please read aloud.

We bring to the sick
or celebrating
they remind us of gardens
or death

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Rooted, New Land Art

August 20, 2020

I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect with Earth and create land art at the Visitor Center Art Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I went with…

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vortex with turbulence abstract fine art painting in blue optical illusion style

Weird Enough for Ya?

July 6, 2020

Vortex with Turbulence, Oil on Canvas, 44″ x 44″ A famous quote by Hunter S. Thompson goes: “It never got weird enough for me.” Wondering if it’s weird enough for…

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blue geometric vortex

Creative Work Ethic

May 8, 2020

How do you design your day? Now that many of us are sheltering in place our daily rhythms have changed. Maybe there is more space for art projects, but how…

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undulating cobalt blue ripples

Staying Home

April 2, 2020

Undulations (work in progress) oil on board, 20″ x 20″ Emergency response mechanisms in our bodies increase our metabolism, heart rate and cellular respiration. We get ready for action, prepare…

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modular math circle with red lines, colored with pencil, mottled black oil backgroundd

Modular Math Circles

February 13, 2020

Lately, I have been exploring Modular Math Circles, inspired by this video by The Mathologer. Also big thanks to for posting modular multiplication app.

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Live Painting New Years Eve

January 2, 2020

There’s an interesting back-story to how I ended up painting at the New Year’s Eve Party. When Ryan of the Brass Messengers asked me to paint I initially said no.…

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The Dreaded Artist’s Statement

December 11, 2019

I don’t know any artist who likes to write an artist statement, but it is something we must do. I tackled the task last weekend starting with a brainstorm of…

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Real Life Spooky Thing

October 24, 2019

Last Summer at Art Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a group of us intrepid artists headed out one evening to see the infamous Paulding Light. The Paulding light…

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Keeping Up with the Present

October 2, 2019

I haven’t had time to blog lately so I got to thinking ‘bout time. I spend a lot of time trying to be present. The mystics tell us there is…

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Transformation Spiral

August 14, 2019

We did it! Thanks to the Visitor Center Art Camp (VCAC) and Team Spiral we made a giant walking spiral in Ewen, Michigan. The Transformation Spiral, an interconnected double-spiral measuring…

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double spiral make with white rocks places on green grass

Earth Spiral – Land Art

July 24, 2019

White Rock Spiral, 60″ x 55″ by Julie JAO, 2019 I am about to set sail so to speak on an artist residency in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The…

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My Life is a Spiral

July 2, 2019

My Life is a Spiral. It will turn, turn, turn. My Day is a Circle. I will learn, learn, learn. And so it is. I did a few speed paintings…

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spider's web diatom painting in yellowish green and blue

“Spider’s Web Diatom”

June 5, 2019

Spider’s Web Diatom, 16″ x 16″ Egg Tempera on Board by Julie JAO Searching for geometric patterns in nature, I found diatoms. This painting based on a “spiders-web” diatom is…

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The Allure of the Grid

May 16, 2019

The Allure of the Grid The arcs are drawn. The grid develops. The first crossings of lines come as a surprise. The gentle sweeps of the compass rock back and…

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interlocking 'S' shapes celtic key pattern black and white

How to Make a Circular Grid for Celtic Key Patterns

May 6, 2019

Digging around my Irish roots, I found Celtic Key Patterns. Celtic Key Patterns are described in my little Wooden Book as great space filling devices. Although I aspire to much…

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3 large painting with light purple background and colorful geometric shapes

Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim

April 22, 2019

The Most Visited Exhibition in Guggenheim’s History. I saw it. I flew to NYC to see “Paintings for the Future by Hilma af Klint” at the Guggenheim. On Saturday, April…

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swirls of blue, a 13-armed fibonacci spiral in phtalo blue tones

A Painter of Spirals

April 8, 2019

Back in February I posted a sketch of a 13-armed Fibonacci Spiral. That sketch was executed on canvas. That canvas hung around the studio for a few weeks before I…

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four armed squared spiral petroglyph

A Visit to Altavista Petroglyphs

March 25, 2019

Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the Altavista Petroglyph Site in Nayarit, Mexico. Also known locally as “La Pila del Rey,” which could be translated as…

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studded bike tire detail

How getting studded Bike Tires led me to Oil Paints.

March 11, 2019

First let’s talk about paint. What is paint, anyway? Paint always consists of at least two parts: pigment and binder. The pigment is the color and the binder is what…

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Harmonic Ratios

February 25, 2019

A basic theory behind sacred geometry is that there are certain ratios that struck us sentient beings as harmonic. Musicians know these harmonic ratios and even if you don’t play…

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13-armed Fibonacci spiral in blue

How to Draw a 13-Armed Fibonacci Spiral

February 11, 2019

  It is impossible to draw a Fibonacci spiral, you can only draw a close approximation of one. As it is impossible to draw a 13-sided shape, you can only…

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How to Draw Opposing Fibonacci Spirals

January 28, 2019

As you already know I have been exploring geometric drawing with the ultimate goal of using these images in finished paintings. l plan on combining the geometry with my figures…

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Keep Earth Beautiful, Process Waste Water before Dumping

January 14, 2019

Acrylic waste water contains pigments that are harmful to the environment. Rinsing brushes in the sink deposits the pigments in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Dump your waste water in…

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How to Draw the Minor Sixth

December 31, 2018

My interest in geometric drawing has led me to harmonographic patterns. My attempt to draw the minor sixth ratio, seen in the book Quadrivium, is documented in the drawings below.

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multicolored pyramid with sun like circle on top

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

December 17, 2018

On Paintings for the Future by Hilma af Klint.

As an artist I like commissions. Executing a work for an excited client brings me joy. Knowing I’ll be paid gives me a sense of security. Installing the painting in their home saves me the storage problem. But what about commissions from another world? Spirits don’t pay, not in earthly currency anyway.

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charcoal drawing of donkey, my spirit animal

Spirit Animal – An Artist’s Dream

July 13, 2018

As an artist in my daily practice I am committed to paying attention to metaphysical background of the so-called real world.

One way that I do this is by keeping a dream journal. Recently I sent a message to the universe asking for help in finding my spirit animal.

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