Dual Talent: Artist Jamie Babula works in two styles

Savannah Chastain
This pencil drawing is titled, “Top Drawer.”

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is hosting the 19th annual Festival of the Arts at the MKAF Cultural Arts Village, October 25-26. The festival will feature 100 visual artists and The Log will be featuring select artists in the weeks leading up to the event.

Jamie Babula of Panama City Beach does not remember when she first fell in love with art, for her, the passion has just always been there.

 “I’ve loved drawing as long as I can remember,” she said. “I know every artist says that but it’s true. I didn’t like coloring books when I was little. I liked blank paper to do my own art on.”

Babula told The Log that she studied art throughout high school, and into college at Gulf Coast State College, taking every art class she could find. Her journey selling her artwork, however, began by the encouragement of her husband.

 “After I got married, I was doing art a lot during the day and my husband would come home and see my work and say, ‘You should sell it.’ So we put up a sign in the yard saying ‘Art for Sale,’ and just from setting my art outside I sold three paintings.”

After that experience, Babula began entering her work into local, regional and statewide art shows including the Walt Disney World Festival of the Masters in Orlando.

“Actually, until recently I was working full-time, and I wasn’t able to produce much art,” she said. “But I recently resigned and this will be the first time I’ll be able to focus full-time on my art.”

Today, Babula produces two distinct genres of art. Her first love, pencil drawing, and her newly discovered talent in abstract painting.

“It’s always been hyper-realism drawing that’s my primary focus,” she said. “But I’ve always loved abstract art, and wanted to try it.”

Babula explained that she uses two separate methods to create in her different art mediums.

“With Painting it’s all about colors. I never know what I’m going to paint when I sit down. It’s the opposite of drawing,” she said. “With drawing it’s very planned out, almost mathematical, but with painting I usually just turn on music and whatever happens, happens. They are two completely different processes.”

With art so opposing in style, Babula said she is often mistaken for two different artists when she appears in exhibits.

“Usually when people see my work they think two different people did my art with the drawing and paintings,” she said. “I don’t really know why, maybe its one side of my brain and the other. I have to spend so much time in detail and intricacy in my drawings that the painting is like a release. I get to play with color and splash it around on the canvas it’s kind of my reward.”  

As for her pencil drawings, Babula said she chooses subjects that are complex and unique.

“If you look at some of my drawings you’ll find objects that you wouldn’t typically see drawn,” she said. “I like a challenge. I like to play around with textures so that when people look at it they want to keep looking at it.”

Babula uses a technique of layering to obtain and almost 3D effect in her work.

“I use several layers of colored pencil to get the effect,” she said. “I’ll draw and then erase and draw over it to give it depth.” 

The result is an art piece so realistic that many viewers mistake her drawings for photographs.

“Usually at my shows I will put signs up that say that they are pencil drawings because I’ve had several people come in and it takes them a few seconds before they say, ‘Oh, I thought this was a photo the whole time.’ Then they get really close to inspect it. It’s almost like their eyes deceive them for a second,” she said.  

For the upcoming Destin show, Babula said will be showcasing both of her artistic talents.

“All of my drawings on my website will be displayed and I’ll have an entirely new collection of paintings that I’ve done specifically for this show,” she said.