On March 31, you’re invited to join us as we celebrate the opening of Julia Parobek’s new show, The Botanical Zoo, in the TVC Gallery (aka the Living Room at TVC Main). Stop by the Living Room after any service that Sunday for a reception. Grab a cup of coffee, take in the artwork and meet the artist. Then make plans to return on Friday, April 5, for our Creative Arts Potluck.

Parobek calls her art realistic imagination and can trace its roots back to her childhood. She confesses that she loved being sent to her room when she was younger. What was intended as time to think about her offense became a sanctioned opportunity to enter her world of pretend with toys and stuffed animals. Cartoon characters were brought to life in crayon drawings. Influenced by her years of delighting in animated films, Parobek enlivens the ordinary with playful improvisations. Her love of all creatures and nature combine to become fanciful canvas fictions that seem perfectly real.

For a time, Parobek’s canvases were of the edible variety. After graduating from The French Pastry School in Chicago, she opened a custom cake business. She loved the challenge of turning her clients’ visions into the centerpieces of their events and gatherings. As she became more and more familiar with the ins and outs of the wedding industry, Parobek came to realize that she no longer felt fulfilled creating these edible sculptures that were quickly consumed and forgotten, only memorialized in photos.

An invitation to a calligraphy class quickly captured her interest, and she began following calligraphers online. This led to exploring watercolor artists. Soon, her cake decorating tools were exchanged for brushes and palettes, oblique calligraphy pens, sumi ink and cold-press watercolor paper. She dove in and didn’t look back. She honed her craft quickly, and through her painting she naturally entered the world of imagination from her childhood. From there, inspiration just kept flowing.

Jenna Rainey with Jenna Rainey Design Studio and Peggy Dean with The Pigeon Letters are the artists Parobek credits with her initial excitement not only for watercolor art, but with the encouragement to turn an evolving skill and passion into a career. Since that time, there have been many influential artists in her modest watercolor adventure time frame. With her art, Parobek celebrates the joy of seasons and events and the delicate details of creation. She says her Botanical Zoo Series is her favorite cast of characters. They speak to her as she paints each individual personality. Parobek is very excited to share the current tenants of her zoo, and hopes that you fall in love with them the way she has!