“The black ink touches me – the way Zen calligraphy does.  It is nothing like the mixed media work I used to do, which was big, bold and brightly coloured. Or even the environmental sculpture I loved doing with natural materials. Instead, it surprises me to work with ink - black and white - unfamiliar and unknown. There is space for daring, prayer, silence, and humility”

Julie Jarvis Ink
Ink Painter & Natural Ink Maker

My artistic process comes from a lifelong search for stillness and meaning. 

I didn’t expect to be a painter or natural ink maker

It feels like I was led to painting and ink making.  I watch lush strokes and images emerge on the paper, so often reflecting the tenderness of our forests and fallen trees, and something opens in me.

My paintings are simple – with room to breathe

I use black ink on white paper to explore darkness and light, silence and sanctuary.  More recently I have begun to use natural inks - greys and browns – which offer depth and nuance.  They also add a richness that is nourishing.

While the paintings reflect the natural worlds around me, my work is not intentionally representational.  Lines appear on the paper and I do my best to honour each one.

The names arise from the paintings themselves. This gives my body complete freedom to move without preconception – my attention following the brush as it flows freely across the paper.

The first strokes

I began painting in the forest by a lake.  I was at a dear friends cottage immersed in nature and reading a book by Diana-Beresford Kroeger called “To Speak For The Trees” and something awoke in me - A call to paint simply while raising awareness about trees.

Each day I walk among trees, read and sit quietly.  From this practice, the ink paintings emerge in quiet harmony with the world around me. 

Using Natural Inks

For my paintings I use handmade chestnut brown and silvery grey inks together with Japanese sumi and India black inks. The natural inks come from black walnuts and acorn caps.  

Sketch Paper

I began painting with sketch paper. This gave me complete freedom to explore with minimal cost or impact on trees.  Then I became quite attached to it, preferring it to more archival-long lasting papers.

Using this paper will have the unique effect of aging overtime. The paper may yellow or fade, especially if the paintings are hung in sunlight. 

At first, I was worried about this, but I have come to see this decomposition as part of the artwork. They invite reflection and are also an invitation to exchange old images for new ones overtime and experience fresh impressions.

The sketch paper prints are priced affordably for this possibility and in no way reflects the richness of the piece. 

Archival Paper

Though I continue to work primarily with the sketch paper, I am testing cotton, vellum and rice papers to explore possibilities for paintings that are more archival. 

Frames reawakened

The prints are sold unframed. However, when I find used frames or they are given to me, I renovate them and use them to frame some of the paintings. For now framed paintings are only available locally in Toronto where they can be picked up directly.

In all my creations, my aim is to connect with something true/real in the moment.