Julia Wakefield

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

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Taking to the Southern Skies

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018


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.



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

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

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.

Kites galore

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016


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

Come and join a Retreat in April 2015 – and get your creative juices flowing

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Homage to Bruges, by Judith Brown, 2014 Waterhouse Prizewinner

Homage to Bruges, by Judith Brown, 2014 Waterhouse Prizewinner and one of the teachers at the Evocative Art Retreat

At the last SALA festival I had the pleasure of meeting Moira Simpson, a very talented and dynamic lady who is organising the first ever Artists’ Retreat in Adelaide, from 19 to 23 April 2015.  We hear about plenty of these kinds of retreats happening over in the Eastern States, but finally we have our very own annual event – a chance to get totally absorbed in art and craft for a whole 5 days, with all our lunches provided!

I did something similar to this back in August when I did a 4 day workshop with the Printmaking Sisters – more about that on my printmaking blog – but I will be one of the teachers at Moira’s retreat, which means lots of hard work preparing for it!  I am looking forward to seeing how much everyone develops in 5 intensive days, so I’m sure the hard graft will be well worth it.

The venue, St. John’s Grammar, is just perfect: it happens to be the school where my two boys went after we arrived in SA from the UK in 2001. As soon as we saw the school we decided our boys would love the atmosphere – and it turned out to have some very good teachers as well. The art department has excellent facilities so I have no doubt we will be very comfortable there.  It’s also 5 minutes away from Belair National Park, so we are likely to be entertained with the sight of koalas dozing in the gum trees a few metres from the classrooms.

Several of the artists are from interstate and overseas, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have quite a number of students trooping over from other parts of Australia. It’s the most marvellous excuse to take in a proper SA holiday, at a time of year when the Festival frenzy is over, the weather is balmy, and gourmet feast festivals are all around you – from the Barossa Vintage Festival to the Adelaide Food and Wine Festival (dates yet to be advised) .  St. John’s is a short drive from the City where there is plenty of accommodation to choose from, but why not try a B&B in Belair or the nearby Adelaide Hills, or for the truly adventurous there is a very sophisticated caravan park in the National Park itself.

I will be teaching a super-intensive Drawing for the Terrified course in the mornings, and in the afternoons we’ll be relaxing in a different way, with Water Colour for the Terrified. But my classes are just two of the many courses on offer, ranging from quilting to jewellery; from oil painting through digital art to sculpture – to name just a few.

The early bird offer is over, but this retreat is still very reasonably priced and promises to be wildly popular – so don’t delay too long before you book!

SALA 2014 is upon us already!

Friday, July 18th, 2014



Winter Waltz, an appropriate etching for this time of year!

Winter Waltz, an appropriate etching for this time of year!

I have just emerged from a week of the most debilitating lurgy, winter is buffeting us with gusto, and I am supposed to be opening my studio in a week’s time! Aagh!  We will get there, and the big compensation for the weather at this time of the year is that the garden looks beautiful – so long as you don’t look too closely at the weeds.


The SALA program has featured my picture this year, so it’s easy to spot me under City of Onkaparinga, but unfortunately the paper catalogue got the date of the opening wrong – I’m opening on July 25, 4 – 7 pm, but it’s put July 27 – although  the website’s got it right. Too bad, I’ll just lay on the wine and nibbles on both dates. I’m supposed to be open Friday – Sunday 10am – 4pm every weekend from July 25 to August 24, but do call me to let me know you’re coming, just in case I have to duck out for supplies or emergencies.  I have work on show at Mrs. Harris and at Bittondi in August as well, so I may be called on to gallery sit on one or more occasions – watch this blog and I’ll tell you when this is likely to happen.

New for this year’s SALA are some monotypes that Bittondi’s Inked2 inspired me to work on.  I love teaching this form of printmaking, as it’s a great way of developing – and indeed, discovering – new ideas.

Mindscape 1, ghost print

This is the ghost print – the second pull, after I pushed the ink around on a sheet of glass for about an hour and a half and then took a first pull that was much darker and moodier.  I felt the first one needed to be less blue and more defined, so I scanned it, printed it out on a smaller scale on watercolour paper, then hand tinted it with black gouache. This is the result:

mindscape 1 for UC

I like both images – and I’d never have arrived at either of them if I’d started working on paper rather than glass.

‘Inked2’ is still on at Urban Cow until August 2, so I can’t bring my prints back in time for the studio opening, but they’ll be on display the following weekend.  I recommend you go and see the Urban Cow show before it finishes, as it’s a superb display of different printmaking techniques by 14 Bittondi members, on the theme of Exploration –  which for me, is what monotypes are all about.

The latest report on the adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat!

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

They will be launching their pea-green boat once more at the Hahndorf Academy, Hahndorf, SA, at 7pm on Friday Dec 11!

The guest speaker will be Maggie Emmett,  Adelaide poet and convenor of Friendly St Poets

ankhou rocks!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

My website designer has had two fantastic successes!  He’s won a logo competition and a ski design competition!

His mother’s stoked! (As I should know, because he’s my son!)

Ian’s winning ski design

Ian’s winning logo and an interview

Ian’s website

At Last! The long awaited sequel to Edward Lear’s “Owl and the Pussycat”!

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009



As from Friday November 6, you will be able to purchase “A Disastrous Honeymoon”, an illustrated epic poem for short attention spans, from Alice & Co, 159 Brunswick St, Fitzroy Vic 3065.

This is the as yet untold story of what happened to the Owl and the Pussycat the day after they danced by the light of the silvery moon. Have you ever wondered how they prospered on their honeymoon? A gripping tale of love, passion, courage and nail-biting adventure on the high seas.

Illustrated with reproductions of the original etchings which can be viewed at Alice & Co on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons and at other times by appointment.

Accompanied on the walls by: “A Rodent Romance”, a drama in infinite and interchangeable episodes, featuring two lovestruck rabbits – or are they hares?

Plus assorted dogs, pigs and cats that seem to have got in by the back door. Etchings and relief prints, framed and unframed, with souvenir cards to buy if you can’t afford the originals.