Local painter's work on display in McClelland Art Gallery

“Encouraging others in art is important to me,” said Julie Lemons. “Being a successful artist is having faith in God and having His love shine through my art.”

Julie Lemons, Nebraska-based artist and past president of the Association of Nebraska Art Clubs, will display her work in the McClelland Art Gallery now through Sept. 28.

Born in Wichita, Kan., Lemons grew up in the Midwest and learned to engage her creative side early on. “My mother is an artist and she taught me,” she explained. “I completed my first oil painting when I was 3 years old and have always enjoyed art. I drew horses when I was in grade school and was very active in high school. I enjoy creating interpretations of what is around me.”

Married to her high school sweetheart, Lemons moved with her husband to Lincoln in 1997 and has been based out of Bennet, just a few miles from Lincoln, the last there years. An artist in her spare time, she has worked as a graphic designer for Lincoln Public Schools for almost 16 years. “I have kind of a dual career,” she explained. “My graphic design work is a steady income and provides insurance when the economy makes it difficult to sell art.”

Lemons uses mainly soft pastels and watercolors, and specializes in painting scenes of animals, nature and people. “People and animals intrigue my heart,” she said. “Capturing the heart of the subjects starts with the look in their eyes. To me the expression in the eyes is the most important feature and usually become the focal point of my work.”

“I’m not that artsy myself, but when I saw her work I noticed the talent that went into it,” said Ray Daugherty, gallery coordinator. “The images were detailed and very well-defined. She doesn’t simply draw a good picture, she makes it come out of the page at you too.”

Inspired by artists such as Da Vinci, Monet and Van Gogh, Lemons’ main objective is to connect with her audience. “I hope to bring joy to others,” she said. “I want to spark conversation and encourage other artists to try new things.”

The McClelland Art Gallery is located in the Ortner Center on the campus of Union College, 3800 S. 48th Street. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, the gallery is free and open to the public.