Astronomical, Atmospheric and Traditional Art, Greeting Cards, Graphic Services and Art Products of

Julie Rodriguez Jones

Julie Rodriguez Jones is aNevadaartist whose artistic focus is liturgical art, astronomical art and other traditional subjects including graphic art.

Julie’s interest in art and astronomy started at an early age. As a young child, coloring was passion. Hearing about Sputnik as a young child, following theUSspace program from its inception and discovering astronomy in middle school spurred her interests. Julie’s father took her weekly to telescope making sessions where during middle school she built a large telescope. (See the story below about Julie and her dad.) In high school Julie discovered she had a real love of art but did not pursue it due to commitments to science and her first career at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) which she began as a research technician in high school.

Julie drew casually throughout college, during her career at LBNL and while raising a family. Her work at the Lab turned to the business aspects of the institution, writing contracts for LBNL’s collaborative research and development with other research institutions and contracting with the former Soviet States for theUnited States' Initiative for Proliferation Prevention. Though fascinating, Julie missed the creativity she had discovered in art and in 1998 began to draw again. She was encouraged by inquiries made at a local framing shop when a customer came in to have some of her art framed.

 Julie studied traditional media at theBerkeleySchoolof the Arts with Gwyneth Welch, Arngunnur Ur and Lien Truong. She also had a love of astronomical imagery but hadn’t considered pursuing space art until one day when she saw a fantasy image drawn by her son, Ross. That was the catalyst.

Julie's current focus is liturgical art and in many of her ministerial stoles and banners you can see her love of the sky. She has received numerous awards and honors for liturgical art, her astronomical art and her flowers. Julie's art can be seen nationally as she has created corporate art for businesses, has had book covers commissioned, her work has been seen in magazines and in a variety of commercial applications. Julie’s art is also now seen in churches across theUSin the form of banners and stoles - a result of her being encouraged her minister, Steve Wren, who provides numerous opportunities, artistic challenges and great artistic freedom.

 After a thirty-three year career, Julie left the Lab in 2003 to pursue her art full time. She and her old loves are now inseparable. 

In 2004, Julie moved fromSan Pablo, in the San Francisco Bay Area, toSpanish Springs,Nevadawith her family and is enjoying dark skies with fewer city lights and the joy of creating art on a daily basis!

The Telescope

When I was a child growing up in the 1950s and 60s my father, George Rodriguez, always

encouraged me in a wide variety of interests. To my mother's dismay, I climbed ladders to follow my Dad during roofing repairs, watched him make repairs under the sink and was under foot in the garage where his shop was. It was great preparation for a large future project. I was fortunate, as girls back then usually didn't do such things. 

In the seventh grade I discovered science and in particular, astronomy. My science teacher, Mrs. Grosso, told my parents and me about the Contra Costa Astronomical Society. Though we had no car, my Dad always found a way for us to get there, usually with other people who drove or via bus in the evening. When the group began discussing making their own telescopes, I begged for the opportunity. It was a stretch for my folks as my Dad was a bus driver, I have a brother and a sister and spare income was a luxury. We began slowly with the purchase of a mirror blank, a piece of thick, flat Pyrex glass.

 Dad took me by bus and foot every Saturday for about two years to a member's home where we received instruction and I ground the mirror. After the mirror's completion, Dad and I went to Pastime Hardware and picked out the pipe for the mounting and carried it home on the bus. (And drug it from the bus stop to home!) A mill rolled the aluminum tube and another member donated the centrifuge to act as the counterweight. Dad accompanied me on our first "star party" toMt.Diabloto observe stars and planets late into the night, hauling the6 foottelescope in a friend's station wagon. The building of the telescope also led to my initially studying physics in college and to my first and only other career at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which I began at age17 inthe "optics shop," grinding lenses, prisms and mirrors. I moved on from that initial position but my love of astronomy, stayed.

My Dad is no longer with us but his memory, dedication to family, and love are always present.

     

 

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