I’m Julia of Bird in France, the little art business I started in 2017 when I first moved to France and realized it would be pretty much impossible to pursue my work with horses here as a foreigner. ( copious red tape etc)
The name came about as a play on my surname, ‘Bird’ which has given people lots of laughs over the years, so I thought it was time it came in useful!
I wanted to be an artist when I was still at school but at A level was pushed to do ‘academic’ subjects and pressured to drop the art, so all these decades later as I contemplated my crazy move to France, I decided it was now or never to have a go.
I love old things, the idea of something vintage having another life and fell in love with the beautiful old Breton slates, that have been used on roofs here for centuries.
Friends commissioned me to create a slate house sign for them and I started experimenting with paint and different techniques to see what would work best as it’s a rough, uneven material to work on and also quite dark.
I’m a country girl at heart and although I have lived in London, I’ve always been drawn back to the countryside and wild places, where I can observe nature close up and feel the earth under my feet.
The countryside where I live in Brittany inspires my art daily, from the birds that visit my garden to the wildflowers in my fields and the resident hedgehog, although I’m not too keen on the viper that appeared near my car in the driveway last year!!
I’ve been surrounded by animals most of my life, in the mid-seventies my parents attempted to become ‘self-sufficient’ like a popular tv series of the time called ‘ the good life’ so there was always a dog and a few cats curled up in front of the aga, so it seemed a natural progression when people started to ask me if I could paint their pets.
Pet portrait commissions have become another regular part of my work and I love creating pieces of treasured family members with paws.
I like to combine my love of repurposing and recycling old things with my pet portraits, so a lovely trio of dogs I did for a client in the UK is painted on a beautiful piece of old chestnut wood that came out of an old Breton farmhouse and is at least 200 years old.
I have a Facebook page that shows my work in progress and life here at Bird in France
I have a website: www.birdinfrance.com
& Instagram : @julesjnb