Julia Wakefield

The home page of Julia Wakefield, an independent artist that specialises in illustration and printmaking. Online gallery, recent news and purchase links.

Taking to the Southern Skies

Written on June 20, 2018 at 12:50 pm, by Julia

Angel

I’m currently exhibiting in the upstairs gallery at Urban Cow along with Camilo Esparza, Alan Ramachandran and Amanda Hassett.  The theme was ‘Under Southern Skies’ so I have found myself metaphorically taking to the skies with my interpretation.  Birds are a part of my daily life: in my morning walks by the creek and by the sea I both see and hear them.  A Nankeen Night Heron was roosting in a tree on my front drive for 3 months before I looked up and spotted it, and now, four months after its departure, a relative (offspring?) has moved in to take its place.  When I drive through the city, birds fly over the traffic jams and roost on the high rise buildings; when I travel interstate and to other countries I see the same birds or their relatives and I realise that many of them travel far farther than I do every year, entirely under their own muscle power and just with the help of prevailing winds.

Ballerina

 

I’m also realising that rather than having one favourite medium, I love to combine media in order to convey a particular idea or feeling, and the birds are leading me into new territory.  Clouds are best conveyed with watercolour, but I’m also finding ways of working with clouds in digital media; the birds in flight are often watercolours or monotypes, but sometimes they morph into silhouettes or patterns, which are best conveyed with handmade stencils or layers in Photoshop.  The works in the current exhibition mark the beginning of this new direction, and I plan to spend the next few months following the birds wherever they lead me.

Iron Man

If you are interested in learning more about how I arrived at some of the images in ‘Under Southern Skies’, I’m giving a talk and a demo on the last day of the show – June 30, at Urban Cow, from 1-3pm.  No need to book – just turn up!

Less is More

Written on April 19, 2018 at 10:10 pm, by Julia

my old dog dawdles the slower we walk the more I see

my old dog dawdles
the slower we walk
the more I see

I was introduced to the world of Haiku by the Bindii Japanese genre poetry group, about 10 years ago. After trying all manner of other poetry forms including good old free verse, I found the haiku was becoming a more and more satisfying way of distilling my everyday experiences. Between 2009 and 2011 I wrote little else besides haiku; then I discovered that most of my haiku were not really haiku at all, even though I was trying to conform to the 5-7-5 syllable rule. They were short poems – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the elusive haiku is a little bit more than just a short poem.

By October 2017, a year after my dog Portia died, I had begun to understand the haiku form to the point where one of my haiku was featured on the Australian Haiku society’s website, and reviewed by Lynette Arden, a respected poet and founding member of Bindii. I was asked to provide a picture to go with the selected haiku, so the post became a memorial to my dog in poetry and image. When a haiku is combined with an image the result is called a haiga, and the best of haiga are not simply illustrated poems:  they create a tension between the two art forms, whereby each is commenting on the other and leading the mind to create more associations.  William Blake endeavoured to create a similar dialogue in his illustrations to Milton’s Paradise Lost, and also in his own ‘illuminated’ poetry.

I’m not sure that my picture of Portia creates a successful haiga when juxtaposed with the poem, but it’s a start.  I have been inspired by another Bindii member, Belinda Broughton, who has refined her personal take on haiga to a particularly fine degree. I intend to produce more haiga this year, and will post some of the more satisfying results on this blog.

Canada still on my mind!

Written on June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm, by Julia

bear for page 3

I just had to enter this piece into SCBWI’s Draw This! May challenge, which was on the theme of ‘Feast’.  It’s for page 2 of the book that I’m working on, which is all about Canada.  Each illustration evokes memories of our trip to Revelstoke last year. Still looking for a publisher….

Kites galore

Written on December 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm, by Julia

boyandkitedetail

Boy and Kite, detail

I’ve just joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and they ran a postcard contest for December. I didn’t win, but they’ve uploaded all the entries on their website, and I’d love it if you could give me some comments on mine, hopefully nice ones! Most of the other images feature girls, curiously, but my picture is of a very specific little boy – my Canadian grandson will probably be wanting to do this very thing as soon as he’s walking (and he very nearly is, or certainly thinks so)!  The bird in the image is of course a kite – a swallow tailed kite, to be precise, not likely to be found north of California.

This is the link to my image.  The whole gallery can be accessed here

Art on Artfinder

Written on December 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm, by Julia

At last I’ve found a shopfront that promotes handmade prints and has an international perspective. I am beginning to upload my animal prints to this site, and will soon be adding some original life drawings. You can find my new shop here

 

Back in Adelaide, but my head’s still full of mountains

Written on October 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm, by Julia

once-upon-a-mountain-colour-image1-small

It’s very unsettling spending a month on the other side of the world in the most idyllic environment imaginable. When you get home, you can’t quite believe that your real world is real any more. If you followed my ‘sketchaday’ blog, you’ll know what I’m talking about – and if you’ve been to similar mountain country you’re probably trying to work out how to get back there and live there permanently,  which is exactly what my son did.

So the only way to keep those mountains fresh in my head and to stop myself from becoming morosely mountainsick (never once did I feel homesick while I was over there!), is to draw them.  There is also a major motivation: my talented other half came up with a story that needs to be told, with pictures. This is my first attempt at visualising the pictures in my head, using pastels on grey paper.  There will be more to come, but the story is under wraps for the moment.

Having a productive holiday – so far

Written on July 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm, by Julia

View of Mt Revelstoke from the back of my son's house

View of Mt Revelstoke from the back of my son’s house

I am spending some time on the other side of the world for a few weeks, visiting family in Canada. Just before I left I showed some of my students the Urban Sketchers website and facebook page. So they asked me if I was going to do some sketches while I was on my trip. I decided to fulfil my teenage ambition at last and compile a daily illustrated journal of my travels. What I didn’t know about all those years ago was that one day I’d be able to publish my journal for free on the internet with the potential for millions viewing it! I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of doing it before – well maybe I’ve never had the opportunity to say in one place during a trip and use the internet every day.

So welcome to my new blog – #sketchaday, Adelaide to Revelstoke. The journey begins with some travel surprises, but now we are a bit more in control of events!

The latest post is here.

Illustrations for a poetry collection just in time for Mother’s Day!

Written on May 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm, by Julia

guilty dogwatermarked resized2

My good friend Vivien Wade has just bought out her second collection of poetry, ‘Chocolates and Chuckles’. She has filled the book with hilarious (many of them true) tales about struggling with chocolate addiction, the tribulations of maintaining a happy marriage, and minor domestic problems such as getting stuck in the loo! There are also some cheerfully twisted  variations on well-known nursery rhymes. I was delighted to be asked to add some embellishments to her work. This is one of my favourite poems of hers, which I really enjoyed illustrating:

A Secret
I had a little secret,
I didn’t want to share.
But told my little doggie,
’Cos I knew he didn’t care.
I’d hidden some chocolate bars,
Where no one else would see,
And when I went to find them,
My dog had eaten all three!

You can find more of the illustrations on my Illustration page, and you can buy the book here

 

Still Printing!

Written on March 31, 2016 at 10:30 pm, by Julia

'Patterns'

‘Patterns’

Having decided to get back into illustration again, I still have several printmaking commitments to fulfil this year, and this is the first one, overdue but finally finished. Produced for a print exchange with the theme ‘patterns’, it’s a homage to the bar-tailed godwit’s amazing feathers.  This bird’s amazingly patterned wings take it to the ends of the earth and back again every year.

The process is two plate photopolymer etching, and the image was played around with in Photoshop.  I had to do an edition of 24 for the exchange on 19 x 14 cm paper, but there will also be some spares for exhibiting locally.

Back to the Drawing Board

Written on March 27, 2016 at 11:23 pm, by Julia

The Popup shop has well and truly been and gone – it was a worthwhile exercise, but it’s now time to get down to some projects I’ve been keeping too long on the back burner. I have to wrest myself away from printmaking for a while as there are several illustration jobs that need attending to. First there was Vivien Wade’s poetry book, which will be featured in the Illustration Gallery shortly. But right now I have the most urgent job I’ve ever been given: a colour-in ABC for my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower – due now!! I’ve got half the drawings done, so I hope that’s enough – if they have 26 guests hopefully they can get two of them colouring each drawing! I’ll get the second half done well before the baby’s due (in May!)

Here are a few samples:

A is for Adventuring

A is for Adventuring

 

E is for Exploring

E is for Exploring 

 

I is for Ice Hockey

I is for Ice Hockey

 

L is for Lifesaving

L is for Lifesaving

The theme is sports and outdooors stuff with a Canadian flavour – guess where my son lives.  I never felt like doing a colouring in book before, but this is such fun I might do some other themes.  Suggestions are welcome!

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