Salina Local Artist Julia Stanley

"Morning Flight," by Jessica Stanley.

“Morning Flight,” by Jessica Stanley.

Julia Stanley hadn’t held a paintbrush in 25 years when her mother asked Julia to paint a picture for her. So, when her mother went out of town, she sat down once again with her oil paints and created an autumn scene of geese taking to the sky over a river. She named it “Morning Flight.”

Her mother loved it. But she wanted something more. She had seen calls for entries in competitions, including Art is Ageless® at Salina Presbyterian Manor.

“She said, you need to enter that painting,” Julia said. “I said, ‘Oh, mom, a lot of other people paint better than I do.'”

That was in 2012. Julia’s mother passed away two years later. Shortly after, Julia’s friend and fellow painter, Dixie Lee Haddock, also urged her to enter the painting in Art is Ageless. This time she agreed. “Morning Flight” went on to win at the systemwide level for Art is Ageless last fall and will appear on this year’s Presbyterian Manor notecards. (Haddock also had two winning entries that are being made into cards.)

Julia learned oil painting in the 1970s, but said she had always enjoyed drawing. She once responded to a drawing test in a magazine. A representative of the Minnesota art school that placed the ad came to visit Julia at her family’s farm to encourage her to attend, but her family couldn’t afford it.

She didn’t regret not being able to go, however. Julia took up oil painting in the 1970s and painted steadily for about 10 years with a small group. Her favorite subjects are nature and landscapes.

“Once you start painting, you notice things you previously didn’t pay that much attention to,” Julia said. “I think you’re just more aware of the clouds, trees, and shapes.”

Julia said her Art is Ageless win has encouraged her to keep painting regularly. And she thinks her mother would approve.

“I was thrilled when I won,” Julia said. “My mother would have been so happy. If she’s looking down, she’d probably say ‘I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.'”

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