Julia Holmaas painted her first oil paintings at age 10. After college, the National Park Service employed her until she retired as Chief of Interpretation at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2004. She began painting watercolor in 1992 while working as an Exhibit Curator at the Park Service Design Center in Harpers Ferry West Virginia. There she was responsible for planning numerous educational exhibits for Park Service Visitor Centers throughout the country.
Painting in both watercolor and oil Holmaas has won awards for her work in both mediums. Primary self-taught,she has taken numerous workshops with nationally known artists. Active in several art associations, Holmaas is on the board of the Southern Shore Art Association of Michigan City and The Art Barn School of Art in Valparaiso.
She teaches beginning watercolor at the Art Barn School of Art in Valparaiso, Indiana, Southern Shore Art Association, and the Michigan City Art League.
I work from life as much as possible. Working outdoors with changing light and subject matter means painting fast. I try to capture the essence of a scene rather than a perfect reproduction. The best, most fun, paintings seem to paint themselves. Watercolor is my first medium; I enjoy its spontaneity. More recently I have been painting in oil, both studio and in Plein Air.