Copying the Old Masters

September 27th, 2012

Today I’m sharing a little bit about learning from the Old Masters.

Having been a painter since I was a child I’ve heard many times over the years that the best way to learn about painting is to copy the paintings of the Masters from the past.

To this day I’ve only done a few copies of old master paintings, but each time I’ve learned so much. From the initial composition to the color palette and brushstrokes used. You can gain so much by trying to emulate a painter whose work you admire. This is exactly what all of those Old Masters did; they copied those who came before them. It’s how artists have learned from the beginning of time, as well as being an apprentice. How fun would it be to apprentice under Corot or Degas, or Rembrandt!

This time I recorded some of my steps in my attempt at copying Corot’s the “Springtime of Life”. Enjoy! The original can be seen at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Initial lay in and drawing

Begin modeling of dress and form

More layers and refining of details

Finished “Springtime of Life” after Corot “Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot 1796-1875″

After completing the “Springtime of Life” by Corot I was inspired to return to a painting I competed several years ago. I wanted to apply some of what I learned from Corot right away.  I added more layers, color, and depth to the landscape.








Mn River Arts Fair

August 16th, 2012

I was honored to be a part of the first ever Minnesota River Arts Fair held in Shakopee at the Landing on July 21st and 22nd. It was really fun to reconnect with my artist friends that I used to paint with at the Minnesota River School. I did a demo on mix media pastel painting on the first day and on the second day, a drawing demo starting one of my projects from an image that I created while in Ireland.  I will post on this one upon its completion.

Remember to put this event on your calendar next year, and come out to support local Minnesota artists.  Two of the other demos at the art fair were some of my favorite artists, pastel painter Fred Somers, and plein air painter Mike Rada.  I also connected with an amazing jewelry maker, I wanted to buy everything in her booth! The name of her business is La Belle Fleur.

Baby Raccoon Rescue

August 9th, 2012

We were preparing for a photo session with my niece and her little boy, my great-nephew, on the studio grounds when I saw something meandering out of the mud at the edge of our pond. As it got closer I realized it was a baby raccoon! I froze as it came by and nuzzled at my ankles, not knowing what it would do when it realized I was wasn’t its mother.  My daughter Allissa, who loves all animals and everything outdoors, decided we should give him a bath to remove the mud and get the flies that were buzzing around its face away. An hour later he was cleaned off and in a baby basket with a blanket.

We finished with our session, playing with our new prop intermittently, and at sessions end we left it outside to see if its mom would return, but after awhile, with no sign of mom, we brought it to the animal rescue center. They told us our little raccoon was probably very sick which is why it was so gentle and friendly. There were many others the same age at the shelter who were very aggressive, so we were thankful our little guy was slightly more sedate. The amazing thing about this whole experience for me was to see my little great nephew who didn’t “know any better” not to be afraid of this raccoon, and the baby raccoon who didn’t “know any better” not to be afraid of Owen; It was a freak of nature that rarely happens in life but was a joy to watch.

We had a prop that probably won’t be available again for any session, but we sure got some fun images! Here are some captured from the day!


Celebrate the Joy of being a Woman

July 17th, 2012

I’m sure there are many of you out there who are as uncomfortable as I am when having a portrait taken of yourself. I can almost feel a camera aim before I even see it, and have a very hard time relaxing in front of them.

Working as a photographer I see it all the time. Some people are comfortable and have fun in front of the camera, while others like me are just the opposite. It seems that the older we get (especially women), the more we shy away from cameras. I think that it’s a sad thing when we get to be so critical of ourselves, so I have been inspired to do something to celebrate this time in a woman’s life.

I made myself do some self-portraits for two reasons. First of all, all of my favorite artists and mentors do or did self-portraits, and I have always planned on doing them in my life. And secondly, if I ask my clients to be brave, and have their portraits taken when they get to be my age, then I need to be the first to do so as well.

So ladies—here are my results, and I would love to have you be next! So lets celebrate the joy of being a woman!


Ridgewater College Students visit Jonker Portrait Gallery

July 10th, 2012

We held a tour of the studio this spring for the photography students of Ridgewater college in Willmar MN. The bus, which was as long as our house, parked out front, and the students came filing out, eager to see everything at Jonker Portrait Gallery.

It was a joy to meet the new group of budding photographers; they were full of energy and billowing with questions. Anyone considering going to school for photography really should check out the program at Ridgewater! Mary Jacobson has been an instructor there for many years, it would be an honor for anyone to study under her. I have seen beautiful work over the years from Wilmar students who enter in the professional competition, and they are also always volunteering and helping out behind the scenes at our competitions and seeming to have a great time doing it.

It was great meeting you all!

Check out their program here

Unveiling of New Paintings

July 5th, 2012

We recently had an unveiling of some of my mixed media paintings compiled from last summer and fall. Doing these mixed media paintings is my favorite part of the business—it allows me the opportunity to combine the portrait sessions and my painting skills for my clients! This particular unveiling consisted of some of my portraits combining photography, digital painting, and oil painting, as well as a few traditional oil paintings. We hosted the small gathering here at the Apple Valley studio, and enjoyed food, wine, music and unveiled the new portraits.

It is such a wonderful process to experience a portrait differently by painting it, as opposed to simply creating the initial image in my camera.  Regardless of the medium, a painting goes through many stages as it emerges. Everything from initial conception—envisioning where it will go—to the finished product, it is a creative process that I truly love.

I painted for many other photographers around the country before opening Jonker Portrait Gallery in 1994. I still do the occasional painting for other photographers and it has always been fun to collaborate with another image-maker.

However, it’s truly freeing to be able to change anything that I want in my work, from colors to composition, in order to guide the viewer’s eye and give the work a sense of feeling. As with any medium, nothing rivals the moment when I know I’ve captured something of the real essence of the subject.

Included in this group also is a painting based off of a family snap-shot of a lost loved one. I really consider it a privilege to do these portraits. Over the years I have had the opportunity to draw or paint quite a few of these, and as I work I ask for divine guidance on the paintings as it has the power to be very therapeutic and healing. It’s a wonderful gift to give to those who have lost a loved one.

To view more of the mixed media or free hand painting visit the paintings section of our website.




































































“My boyfriend calls me his pin-up”

June 8th, 2012
































On a recent break from school we did a “pin-up” photo-shoot as a gift for my daughter Allissa’s boyfriend Patrick.  “He always calls me his pin-up” she said. So we went to work looking at old vintage pin-up photographs and paintings.  Gil Elvgren was our favorite painter. We loved so many of his images that we had a hard time narrowing down our ideas.  The image above was our end result that Lissa signed like a movie star and gave to Patrick. We created several other sets along the vintage movie star theme and a few of my favorite images are following.  What a fun playtime.  I love doing creative sessions.






























































Alternate artistic interpretation




























May 16th, 2012


During the time I spent in Equador visiting orphanages with an organization called Dando Amor, one of the main things that moved me while spending time at the orphanages was the dedicated love of the workers and its obvious effects on the children. There are many young volunteers from the United States as well as Ecuadorians working with the children everyday. These children have come from many abusive situations and they are crying out for love. In these images you can see some of the American volunteers with the handicapped children and the Ecuadorians working tirelessly in the kitchens and on the grounds. The heartbreaking piece is there are not enough of them to go around. There is such a need for more people to work with and love these children. You can help this become a reality by donating. This is one way your loving hands can reach around the world through someone else. The funds go 100% to the needs of the children.

Imaging USA 2010

March 31st, 2012

The testimonials posted here are from some of the notes people sent to me after my program at the national PPA Convention (Professional Photographers of America).

I have always loved teaching what inspires me and what I have learned from others especially when it comes to art and photography.

Thank you for all of the wonderful feedback. It is good to know that photographers are still hungry to learn about art, the old masters and honoring the past.



Hi JulieAnne!

Just wanted to thank you personally for your amazing presentation. You really are a true artist and one of a kind! Thanks for sharing the works of the masters that have inspired you. It really helped me think about my early introduction to art I’d forgotten all about. I’m from Venezuela and learning about the Masters of Art was a huge part of our education. I want to dive right back into it! Also my dad is an art and classical music lover so as kids we spent lot’s of time visiting museums, phylarmonics, etc and maybe we didn’t appreciate that as much then but what precious memories those days are to me. I say this a little teary eyed, thank you for helping me remember that and inspiring me to make my connection with Art all over again!


Gaby Walker




Aly Darin January 14

Hi, JuliAnne!

I attended your class at ImagingUSA and I wanted to write to tell you how refreshing and amazing it was for me! :) I have a fine art background and began my photography experience shooting film and working with alternative processes throughout my college career. Since moving to digital, I find myself feeling differently about it every day. :) Some days I struggle to find my footing and to solidify my niche – (especially when faced with the millions of options encountered when you pull the images into Photoshop) – and other days I’m perfectly content and happy!

Attending your class – and watching the slideshow of The Masters was JUST what I needed! It really reinforced why I do what I do, why I love photography, and what I bring to my artwork by just being myself. The beauty of art is that everyone creates something unique and individual unto themselves.

Your work is beautiful & I wish the class would’ve been four times longer than it was! Thank you for bringing your message and art to ImagingUSA – you truly helped me!

I wish you all the best!




Amy Parrish, January 15 at 3:29PM

Hello!  I just wanted to say “thank you” so much for being a part of the Imaging Conference.  It was the most inspirational presentation from the entire event!

Thanks again for the amazing presentation!




Patty Jackson Axford January 20 at 5:46 pm

Hi JuliAnne – I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful class at Imaging USA.  I was so impressed with your work, and have comeback completely inspired.





Just wanted to let you know , your program was about my favorite at Imaging this year.  Your work is far superior to most of the other presenters at this at this year’s convention.  Loved your passion for the great portrait painters.

Hope to see you again sometime & talk to you in person.

Joe Galioto



Judy Manesh

The inspiration of the old painting masters is evident in your work. I’m inspired by your photography you are the new master and much can be learned from your style. Thanks for teaching and sharing your passion.




I sure hope our paths cross again in the near future. I would love to get to know you better. I wanted you to know that when I came home, I made a resolution to pursue art more. It’s something that has been digging inside me. I keep doing so many things, and do not concentrate on one thing (my hubby pointed out) and he said I needed to go where my passion lies… and I am continually drawn to painter, trying to learn it, and to art trying to understand it, and want to upgrading my imagery. So I came home and joined our local Art Museum association, and am going to start taking art classes.  (You INSPIRE!!!)


JuliAnne, I want you to know that your program was the one I enjoyed the most. Your work and your presence is beautiful. I’ve told so many people about you, people keep asking me what was the one thing I loved best about IMAGING USA, and you were it.

Kindest Regards

Rose Mary Cheek



I had spoken to a colleague during the Ole party & she mentioned that your presentation was her favorite.  I literally skipped the following class because I was in such a magical place that I couldn’t even imagine trying to transition back into reality! : )



‘Creating the Masterpiece’ WorkShop

March 12th, 2012

candid group shooting

One of the biggest highlights of our year is hosting the ‘Creating the Masterpiece’ workshops here at Jonker Portrait Galley in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  This is our candid class picture from May 2011.
We have now officially turned our home into a B & B for the workshops.  It was wonderful having everyone stay here for the duration of the time.  I really feel that this gives the workshop a different dynamic and we had a great group of people for our workshop over Labor Day weekend.
Attendees comments:
“I know what you mean.  I really missed my family, but I really miss the fun and all the learning and inspiration at your workshop.  To anyone reading this entry, attend JuliAnne’s workshop(s) if you get the chance.  You won’t regret it.  : )” 


Crackle Bingham

JuliAnne, thank you, thank you, thank you, for an inspiring few days and for your open heart and open hospitality.  Thank you to Kurt and all the models too.  See you soon, I hope!


Elisabeth Nelson

Thank you JuliAnne, for your wonderful creativity retreat this past weekend!!!

I considered it a real treat to peak inside the magic of how you create such gorgeous work.


Jose Robertson

JuliAnne, thanks sooooo much for being an absolutely wonderful instructor/mentor.

You hosted a great workshop this past weekend!


So right now I am on a creative retreat with seven others from around the country with JuliAnne Jonker.  Here are a few images inspired by Monet, JuliAnne’s lake and the artist of bygone eras.


To sign up for the next creativity retreat



On the last day of the workshop i did a lighting demo.  Her are some images of our beautiful model.


2011 workshop group photo

2011 workshop group photo


These next two images are from an outdoor lighting demo at Jonker Portrait Gallery.



To sign up for the next creativity retreat