Julie Brock-Rice picked up a paintbrush five years ago and has since sold more than 150 pieces, launched her own studio/gallery and began teaching art classes to all ages.
Located in downtown Reeltown, Jules Studio 915 opened last September after extreme renovations were made on a building constructed in 1897.
“It was filled with all sorts of junk we had to move out. It’s been used a lot. We had to replace the flooring and sand and smooth the walls,” said Brock-Rice. “My husband, Butch, and I, along with many of our friends, did most of the work. Other community members and neighbors stopped in when they could to help out.”
The white walls draw all the attention to Brock-Rice’s cheerful, vibrant paintings. Her artwork consists of acrylic paint on wood and handmade frames.
The Reeltown native said one day she had the urge to buy paint and just started working.
“I had never drawn or painted before. The Lord just sent me this great sign, and I was drawn to paint. It’s been such a gift,” said Brock-Rice.
The 915 piece of her studio name is reflective of this emerging talent. It represents the Bible verse, II Corinthians 9:15, which reads, “Thank you Lord for this wonderful gift.”
About a year ago, Brock-Rice began teaching art classes at the fire department with about 20 people, which quickly escalated to where she needed more room.
“It just kind of snowballed from there. Now I teach five classes a week,” she added.
Located in her gallery-turned-studio and work area, Brock-Rice hosts art classes for different ages. She teaches kids’ classes Mondays and Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.; adult classes Monday nights at 6 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.; and classes for teenagers Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.
“People feel intimidated to do artwork sometimes, but I want them to feel comfortable. Everyone has fun and is proud of what they accomplish,” said Brock-Rice.
Before her students arrive, Brock-Rice sketches out and paints the design she will be teaching. Everyone receives an easel, paints and brushes, and Brock-Rice walks the class through the painting step-by-step.
A normal class size averages about 18 people, and Brock-Rice said, typically about 12 of those are regulars. Each class is $20 per person, and everyone gets to take home their finished products.
“We love coming each week. It’s great friendship and fellowship. We do something different, and for $20 you can’t beat that, and you go home with a project,” said Angel Thornell, a regular student. “Plus they make great gifts!”
Many look forward to this time each week as a chance to meet new people and learn a new skill.
“I used to be very active until I had to practically have my entire leg re-built. I felt like there was nothing to do, and then I discovered this class,” said attendee Rita Wilson. “It’s been a blessing to feel like I have a purpose again.”
Aside from her weekly classes, Brock-Rice offers paint parties, which she said have become very popular.
“The kids are loving it, and people are starting to come in from all over,” she added.
Julies Studio 915 is a great location to host a party with plenty of space for up to 20 kids to paint. Hosts are welcome to bring in refreshments, presents or anything else to add to the party atmosphere.
During parties, similar to classes, Brock-Rice explains each step in a simplified way and describes the reasoning behind color choice, placement and blending. Guests walk away with their personal stylized versions of the paintings.
“It looks simple at first, but then we add to it and it becomes something fancy,” she said.
Jules Studio 915 is located at 17267 state Route 49 South, Reeltown. For information, visit the Facebook page or drop by for an art class.