Editor’s Note: Kicks presents 20Q, a feature that introduces readers to people involved in the area’s arts and entertainment community. Compiled by kicks Editor Greg Little, each piece will include a short bio, photo and answers to questions that provide insight into not only that person’s artistic interests but also his or her unique personality.
Art is healing, and if anyone understands healing, it is Julie Dieterle.
Not only is Dieterle the current president of the Janesville Art League, she also is a certified physical therapist. And along with her understanding of the human form and her love for colors and creativity, she maintains a deep interest in self-awareness as one of the driving forces behind the 50-foot labyrinth housed on the grounds of Earthsong Books and Gifts in Janesville.
A Stoughton native and 1964 graduate of Stoughton High School, Dieterle points to her mother’s back problems, her father’s multiple sclerosis and her uncle’s WWII battle scars as the impetus behind her career as a therapist. In addition to her traditional training, Dieterle also practices alternative therapies such as massage, energy and vibrational medicine, light therapy and more.
Artistically, Dieterle has been instrumental in JAL’s Heart Art, Holiday Art Show and Communi-Tree efforts, and the group also will host some aspect of the Wisconsin Regional Art Program in August. Personally, she has a daughter, Tara Adams, who is a speech therapist for the Monona Grove School District, and a granddaughter, Maya, who is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing.
To learn more about Dieterle, search for her on Facebook or check out websites for the Janesville Art League, Earthsong or the Janesville Woman’s Club.
1. How did you first discover your love for art? As a kindergartner, I remember knowing all of my primary colors and loved the exercise of coloring designs. My favorite activity was drawing and coloring during my free time. I won an award when I was in second grade, and I was featured for some sewing I did in high school. I thought I might be an art teacher someday.
2. Who is your favorite artist? There are many I appreciate, but Claude Monet is of real interest. One of my friends loved Monet also. She was also an intuitive and felt he was present in her studio when she painted. I went on an art history tour in Europe and was able to visit his home in Giverny and saw many of his huge paintings in Paris at Musee de l’Orangerie. This led me to the American museum on the grounds near his home, and I saw pieces of impressionist art (by American artists who studied with Monet) on loan from Chicago’s Art Institute. His home, his colors, the natural world, the flow of his painting were all really appealing to my senses. Since my eyesight is compromised by early amblyopia, I also connected with his loss of eyesight later in life—when he painted many pieces from his Water Lilies series.
3. Where do you get your own creative ideas? I’m afraid my ideas often come from other artists and shared art on the internet. I find it hard to take my visions and translate them satisfactorily to the two-dimensional world. I envy graphic artists who can do 3D design. I have an ability to mix images and find ways to express what I want in other ways. I have a sense of color and shading that is pleasing to me—and I hope others.
4. You are president of the Janesville Art League. How did you initially get involved with the JAL? This was a surprise. I had just moved to Janesville and wanted to get more involved in the city and art. I was invited to be a representative to United Arts Alliance from the Janesville Art League and through some wonderful people who made me feel welcome. Out of naivete, I offered to be co-president with another new member. She was unable to continue, and I was then president.
5. Name a skill you wish you had. That list keeps growing. I would like to pursue more art experiences for myself and provide it for others. I wish I were more comfortable with technology to communicate with the new generations. I am thinking computer art could be the way my visions could come to life in three dimensions.
6. Do you prefer to read fiction or nonfiction? I love to read biographies and autobiographies—Gandhi, Obama, Livingstone, Custer. I want to know what makes famous people tick or what experiences lead them to their extraordinary place in humanity. I read some of the metaphysical material, especially by the Tibetan Master Khul, every day. This really guides my life. I also am a Sherlock Holmes nut.
7. Do you have formal training as an artist, or is it just something you’ve worked at for a long time? I describe myself as a “closet artist.” I love to sketch, and when I travel, I carry a sketch book with me. I took lessons in iconography years ago. This included painting with egg wash, and it was a meditative practice in itself. I really embraced the Heart Art project in conjunction with Rock County Historical Society and Janesville Art League. I found creating hearts with a real message and purpose to uplift people so important.
8. Of the works you’ve created, do you have a favorite piece? I don’t have any one piece that stands out. It gives me great pleasure to see people enjoy the art I have done—whatever it is.
9. In your opinion, what is the true definition of art? This could take a whole lecture series but, very briefly, art for me is something that moves you. It can make you smile, calm, uplift ... it can make you think. It is something that changes you, and if you find yourself seeing it or thinking about it later, that is art’s purpose—to inspire. It includes theater, dance, music and any creative art.
10. What is your very favorite food? Having a variety of food that is simply done and homemade excites me. If it is made with a friend, it is even more healthy and joyful. Dark chocolate levitates me.
11. Would you say you are more of an introvert or extrovert? I am an introvert given the choice, but I am a mama bear when I have something to say. I am comfortable being in a support position, and my forte is putting a team together to do the work and creatively plan.
12. In your opinion, does aging have any effect on creativity? I think age can expand creativity because now there is experience is behind it. Time to do it is more likely then, and one is less likely to be limited by others’ opinions. I can do it because I love it!
13. What is the current wallpaper on your cellphone? I have white blossoms from the trees in the arboretum in Madison, one of my favorite hiking places.
14. Are other members of your family artistic, or did you get all of the talent? Not professionally—they just do it for fun.
15. What was your first car? It was a 1966 Mustang, which I loved. I drove that car 210,000 miles. I have driven for many of my jobs. At one time, I was driving 1,000 miles a week for home health and my business.
16. When you go to the grocery store, what item goes into your cart whether you need it or not? Fresh fruit or vegetables. Perishable items come with me for sure whether I freeze them, dehydrate them or eat them as soon as I get home. And of course dark chocolate, especially if it is new or different.
17. In addition to JAL, you are also a board member for the Foundation for the Preservation of 108 South Jackson Street. Explain what this group does. The foundation is the umbrella organization that maintains the beautiful building known as the Woman’s Club. The JAL gallery is on the second floor. Without the foundation, the gallery and building could not exist. The Woman’s Club ultimately holds the deed and has the woman power needed to sustain and help community women come together for fun and service.
18. What is your favorite art medium? My “go-to” is pen and pencil sketching. I’m learning more about acrylics, and an artist friend gave me a mini travel box of watercolors I am ready to try.
19. Name a popular actor/singer/artist who simply doesn’t appeal to you. I would have to say any dark humor or demeaning words literally hurt, and I avoid or turn off those episodes. Otherwise, my tastes are pretty eclectic.
20. Are there any other artistic avenues you’d like to explore that you haven’t already? All of them are interesting. I played oboe, piano and recorder and taught beginning guitar. I have 6,000-plus photos on my phone, and I cook almost every day. As a life-long learner, I will continue to explore these and more as long as I can.