Julie Bell was born in Beaumont, Texas on 21st October 1958. The eldest of three daughters to father Milton Bell, and mother Sydney Bell. A significant event happened when at the age of 12 her parents divorced.
This caused her early years to become unsettled, first moving to Atlanta with her mother and siblings, then uprooting each year eventually attending five different high schools. Despite the constant upheavals Julie able to graduate in her senior year aged 15.
She was now able to continue artistic studies by moving back to Atlanta and enrolling in life drawing studies at the Dekalb County Community College where her various studies including colour theory, this would serve her well in future years.
From here the studying continued attending Lamar University in her hometown of Beaumont. These were productive years, under the tutorship and encouragement of Jerry Newman a wildlife photographer and artist she able to accomplish her “first serious life drawing study”.
On the Move
During this period at Lamar University that Julie met her first husband Donald E Palumbo an academic author specializing in the literary analysis of science fiction. They married in 1978. Julies studies were once again interrupted when the couple moved to facilitate Donald’s various academic appointments.
Each short stay meant never staying long enough to complete a degree course. During this time in Michigan, Julie gave birth to two sons, Anthony, and David Palumbo, both gifted professional artists themselves. During this period, she continued to paint, but mostly for herself, although she was able to produce some illustrations for two children’s books.
It is now 1983, time for another move, this time to Ohio, and another enrolment, drawing classes at Lorrain County Community College in Elyria near Cleveland. A second interest began to emerge, after some casual weight training evolved into a passion for competitive bodybuilding, eventually good enough to achieve national ranking.
Four years pass and another move onward to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, another art class enrolment at Shippensburg University.
Shortly after this final move, the marriage began to unravel, ending in divorce. Julie continued with her bodybuilding competitions, whilst raising her two sons.
Concerned that some fellow competitors were using performance-enhancing drugs within the sport she decided to withdraw from the scene attending and winning her final competition.
Julies first modelling job for Boris
It was here Julie met Boris Vallejo after the competition’s promoter suggested that Boris should work with Julie using her as a model.
All through the modelling sessions, Julie was able to examine Boris’ technique at first-hand and discuss art, things began to fall into place for her. She began to paint with new vigour, encouraged and mentored by Boris until her confidence grew enough for her to launch her artistic career.
Julie and Boris were becoming constant companions. They married in 1994. Her artistic career flourished. Numerous and diverse projects, such as a Meat Loaf album cover came her way.
She created award-winning art for companies such as Nike, Pepsi, Carlsberg, Ford and Toyota. Her paintings have appeared on hundreds of book covers, comic books trading card sets.
A Love of Wildlife
A major change in direction came about after accepting an assignment to illustrate jackets for a series of books by Jane Lindskold one of which was Through the Wolf’s Eye’s.
For research, Julie visited a wolf pack at Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, New Jersey, where she was able to observe them deeply painting their intimate interaction onto the canvas.
This brought her closer to nature. Inspired by them her attention turned to painting not just wolves but all kinds of wildlife, portraying them behaving naturally in their world.
Today, Julie stands among the worlds, top fantasy artists. Paintings of horses, bison, flamingos, and wolves win her plaudits and awards wherever she exhibits. Over the last few years, she has scooped the awards at several prestigious events in several categories.
A prolific artist who delivers an imaginative and enchanting new piece of art with a constant regular rhythm. The realization that commercial work still left space for personal artwork that expresses an idea or an emotion in a realistic visual way.