Julia Wakefield

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

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Day 3 – a moody moray.

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Moray eel, etching scanned and printed digitally, enhanced with hand colouring

Moray eel, etching scanned and printed digitally, enhanced with hand colouring

Day 3 – it isn’t quite midnight and I’ve done my best with this one. It began as an etching which I’m quite pleased with, but I wanted to develop the image so I scanned it, printed it out again on watercolour paper and worked into it with watercolours and felt pens. I will do more to the etching eventually, but this is my postcard for the day. And yes – it’s a moray eel.

Days 1 and 2, Postcards for the Reef

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Well it’s now Day 2 and I have done two drawings/paintings, as I promised myself. When I did the the first one I suddenly realised the enormity of the task I’ve set myself: how will I manage to produce a drawing I’m really proud of every day, when each of these marine creatures presents a different set of challenges? I guess I shouldn’t have started with the wrasse, a highly colourful, intricately patterned fish with a distinct character – but I couldn’t resist it. By 10pm I decided I’d tried far too hard, and my husband’s comment was ‘it looks like a really sad fish’. Anyway, here it is, the Sad Fish:

'Sad Fish', Maori or Humphead Wrasse, also known as Napoleon Fish

‘Sad Fish’, Maori or Humphead Wrasse, also known as Napoleon Fish

In addition to having a reputation for being very affectionate to divers, the humphead wrasse is one of the few predators of toxic animals such as the sea hare Aplysia and Napolian Junior Ostraciidae and has even been reported preying on crown-of-thorns starfish.  So they are very useful in the ecology of our reef.  They are also apparently very tasty, but they are now protected because they are so easy to catch.

After studying the extraordinary patterns on this fish’s head, I now not only understand why it’s called the Maori fish – I also have no desire to eat it.  Those patterns on its flanks are also intriguing, and I’m sure I haven’t got it right. I need to go to the Reef and see one of these close up. I hope I will get the chance.

For Day 2 I’d already decided to simplify the task, but I still had a major challenge: as today was World Turtle Day, I naturally had to draw a turtle. For my own sake and for anyone who might be contemplating a similar challenge, I broke it down into stages:

Pencil drawing, made using a number of reference photos. I transferred this onto watercolour paper using carbon paper.

Pencil drawing, made using a number of reference photos. I transferred this onto watercolour paper using carbon paper.

I then applied masking fluid to all the patterned areas. Blue masking fluid is easier to see.

I then applied masking fluid to all the patterned areas. Blue masking fluid is easier to see.Next I decided to stretch the paper – this is Bockingford rough 250gsm, ok for quick sketches but needs to be stretched if you are layering washes.

Dip the paper in water, no need to soak, then secure it on all sides with wet gumstrip. Leave to dry in the sun, if there is any!

Dip the paper in water, no need to soak, then secure it on all sides with wet gumstrip. Leave to dry in the sun, if there is any!

First I apply water to the area surrounding the turtle,  then I drop a light blue wash (cerulean and phthalo blue mixed) into it. My board is on a slope, so the wash gradually drips down to the bottom. As I reach the bottom I add more water, diluting the wash even further.

First I apply water to the area surrounding the turtle, then I drop a light blue wash (cerulean and phthalo blue mixed) into it. My board is on a slope, so the wash gradually drips down to the bottom. As I reach the bottom I add more water, diluting the wash even further.

Now I tint the whole turtle in shade of green. The background wash is still damp so we have a few 'halos' - I like the accidental effect, but if a dark wash bleeds into a light wash you often get unpleasant 'cauliflowers'.

These are all the paints I've used so far: Cotman's cerulean, phthalo and ultramarine blue, and W & N Gamboge.

These are all the paints I’ve used so far: Cotman’s cerulean, phthalo and ultramarine blue, and W & N Gamboge.

For the next stage, I mix a dull purple from ultramarine and cadmium red, and paint it over the head and flippers. The masking fluid allows the paint to puddle in interesting ways.

For the next stage, I mix a dull purple from ultramarine and cadmium red, and paint it over the head and flippers. The masking fluid allows the paint to puddle in interesting ways.

Finally I erase the masking fluid and apply more of the dull purple, closing up the white lines. I add a duller green to the shell and wash out some of the dull purple, as it  needs to look battered and worn, like an old overcoat.

Finally I erase the masking fluid and apply more of the dull purple, closing up the white lines. I add a duller green to the shell made from gamboge and ultramarine blue, and wash out some of the dull purple, as it needs to look battered and worn, like an old overcoat.

Final stage: I darkened the background a little with phthalo blue and added a bit of texture at the bottom to suggest a shallow ocean floor. One happy turtle!

One more stage: I darkened the background a little with phthalo blue and added a bit of texture at the bottom to suggest a shallow ocean floor. One happy turtle!

These two pictures will go on my Redbubble page as the first of thirty pictures that I plan to complete by the Solstice on June 21. See my last blog entry for the details: all the pictures will be available as postcards and I will donate all profits from sales to the Fight for the Reef Fund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Drawing a Line a Day for the Reef

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Sea Dragons, silk painting

Sea Dragons, silk painting

I’ve been meaning to start a series of pictures of marine life, a) because I love snorkelling and diving and would love to share the feelings I get when I’m underwater (no I’ve never seen a leafy sea dragon except in an aquarium, so this picture is purely imaginary) and b) because I feel we need to raise everyone’s awareness of how precious our oceans are, in order to finally turn around the disastrous effects of our unthinking pollution and predation of this vital resource.

Today I watched this video and decided enough is enough. We all have to do something to stop this madness, and show we support our most iconic marine treasure. Rather than sit back and watch the Reef crumble into oblivion at the whim of greedy commercial exploiters and irresponsible politicians, I am going to take the action I am most inclined and suited to: I am going to Draw for the Reef’s sake. Rather than sit hunched over the computer every day, signing petitions and posting worthy messages on Facebook, I am going to walk into my studio and draw one endangered marine creature every day from tomorrow until the solstice, which is June 21. That makes 30 creatures. 

Every creature I draw will be posted on this website and turned into a postcard.  The postcards will be available to buy direct from my Redbubble pages for $1.99 each (30% discount if you buy 16 or more), or if you order them direct from me I can send you up to 7 of each design for $12, postage free (up to 15 for $20, postage free). You’ll also be able to buy them as prints, tote bags, phone skins, cushions etc. etc. from Redbubble, and I will donate 20% of every sale (that’s all I receive from Redbubble) to the Fight for the Reef fund, and I urge you all to sign this petition as well as this one! and this one!

If you love drawing, painting or photographing marine creatures, why don’t you join me? You can post your pictures on this Facebook page, Postcards for the Reef, with a link to your website, so long as you pledge with me that any profit you make from the sale of your postcards or other merchandise goes to the Fight for the Reef fund. Let’s all help to save the Reef and protect all our Global Oceans! I’m serious! Enough is Enough is Enough!!

Artist of the Month

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Pepper Street Arts Centre invited me to be their Artist of the Month in May. They have a lovely well-lit corner at the entrance to their shop where they regularly feature artists, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to exhibit there. I installed the show today (May 1) and will be giving a demonstration of my wood engraving – and printing – on May 30 at 2pm.  I’ll be teaching Drawing for the Terrified at Pepper St again in June on Friday afternoons, starting on June 19. Details here.

You can find out more about Pepper Street and their classes and exhibitions on their website or their Facebook page.

Drawing is getting more popular!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Ildiko Tessenyi, Julia Wakefield, Sue Wright and Angy Anderson in an art class.

Me (second left) working on DFTT lesson 5 at Pepper Street, with some considerably less terrified students! (photo courtesy of Brett Williamson)

Well, drawing is apparently becoming a cool thing to do!  Or at least colouring in… as this Guardian article demonstrates.  The appeal of colouring is apparently the way it relaxes the brain, and the book publishers urge people to “take a few minutes out of your day, wherever you are, and colour your way to peace and calm”.

Brett Williamson of ABC Radio 891 felt there was a direct connection between this compulsive colouring-in craze and the growing trend for adults to seek beginners’ drawing classes, so he came to our Drawing for the Terrified class at Pepper Street to find out what it was all about.  To his great relief we didn’t sit him down and draw his portrait, but to my great delight my students were pleased to confirm that the drawing classes are not only relaxing, but also genuinely rewarding.  I think drawing takes us many stages further than colouring in: in addition to relaxing the mind, it stimulates the imagination and shows us how to look at the world in ways we had never thought of looking before.  Above all, it helps to relax us by challenging us: rather than merely being careful not to go over the lines, we have to engage both sides of the brain to understand how to translate a three dimensional object into an image on a two dimensional piece of paper. People often compare a drawing session with a physical workout, while colouring-in is more akin to yoga or massage.

You can read the article here, and this is a short interview that Brett recorded with me:

Drawing workshops in the workplace

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

A classic illustration of the conventional view of the Left Brain/Right Brain dichotomy

A classic illustration of the conventional view of the Left Brain/Right Brain dichotomy

You see a lot of publicity given to stress management workshops these days. According to a 2008 survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics,  1 in 3 adults suffered from moderate to extreme levels of stress, and workplace stress was costing Australian employers more than $10 billion per year – back then. I wonder what it’s costing them now.

Various stress relief methods are offered such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, massage and even Laughter Workshops. I’m sure all these methods are very effective, but I have discovered that drawing is also a very efficient form of stress relief – and it enhances creativity as well.

Recently I was invited to run a workshop on the theme of ‘drawing on the right side of the brain’ for Suncorp, as part of a series of stress relieving recreational workshops for employees. The resulting feedback led me to believe that drawing is not only just as relaxing as any yoga or meditation class, but it also stimulates the imagination – and as a bonus, provides a great deal of laughter.

For more about the workshop, read this entry in my drawing blog, Touchpaper Drawing Tips.

SALA is already upon us!

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Yes, some of the SALA exhibitions are open already, and I’m going to spend tomorrow with my nose glued to the grindstone trying to get my own studio into semi-order in preparation for my Grand Opening on August 10.

Open Studio email

The hardest thing about SALA is making time to see any of the exhibitions, and then the second hardest thing is choosing which ones to look at.  My favourite shows are always the open studios, and this time I’d like to visit some of my nearest neighbours, such as Bittondi Printmakers Association (which I belong to), and I’m curious to see Gillian Napier‘s work – she paints animals and marine scenes, and her studio’s in Kangarilla.

Maslin Beach features two open studios, one of a fellow printmaker, Elizabeth Abbott, who’s also in another one at Port Noarlunga Arts Centre, and the other belongs to Eileen Lubiana whom I’ve only just discovered, and definitely want to talk to!

Only open on Sundays and Mondays is Stephen Skillitzi‘s glass studio in Brighton. You can see a demo of his glass blowing skills here.  Another glass artist very close to my studio who’s open for SALA is Glenn Howlett, in Willunga.

Travelling a lot further south, I’d like to pay a visit to Goolwa, to see the Cadell Street Studio, which will be showing work by Yvonne East, and yet another glass artist, Carol Treadwell, is opening her Goolwa studio on August 11. More information about the whole Fleurieu Peninsula SALA program is available here.

I’ll be heading for the Hills at least once during SALA, to visit my beloved Hahndorf Academy, where the Artist’s Voice will be showing a selection of work, some of which was being produced during the last two weeks in the upstairs gallery where it is now being exhibited. And I’m intending to call on Rita Hall, who’s now come back to the Hills from the coast down at Goolwa, and she has a brand new studio in Aldgate that’s open Friday to Sunday from August 9 to the 18.

Rita

Rita Hall

Finally, I mustn’t forget to look up a few OPs closer to the city. If I can make time I’d like to visit the Studio Potters Gallery at Klemzig. They are having a grand opening evening on August 9, featuring ‘a fiery Raku surprise’. Sounds exciting!  One OP I will sadly have to miss is Central Studios, which consists of 14 artists’ studios housed in a wonderful old Victorian building next to the Central Markets. Accomplished artists such as Christopher Orchard, Nona Burden and mosaic artist Roz Anderson will be happy to talk to you about their methods on Saturday and Sunday, August 10 and 11, when unfortunately I’ll be at home hosting my own open studio!

And I must also mention the Mechanical Gallery in Waymouth Street, which although it isn’t an open studio as such, is always on display because it’s an open air space.  Preparations for the SALA show are under way already, so if you’re walking down Waymouth Street on Saturday July 27 you might see Ryan Sims and a band of volunteers constructing the next exhibit, while serving tea and cupcakes to passers by.  My ‘mechanical haiku’ are being incorporated in a collage somewhere – I can’t wait to see what Ryan does with them!

All the details of these Open studios are in the SALA guide which you can find at every venue, or you can see the Open studios guide here.

Printmakers needed!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

nankeen night heron

Bimblebox Art Project

I was put onto this admirable project by my friend and fellow printmaker Jorji Gardner, and she’s told me they need more artists, so if you’re a printmaker, now’s your chance to get involved for a good cause!  The art project is supporting the Bimblebox Nature Refuge in Queensland, which is being threatened by a massive coal mining development. The 8000 hectare refuge is one of the very few large areas of intact remnant habitat remaining in the bioregion.

My contribution will be the Nankeen Night Heron, but I still haven’t seen one in the flesh, let alone in the wild, although I believe you can find them around here near Christies Creek. I have no idea yet what form of printmaking I’ll use for this project, but wood engraving seems appropriate as it’s not a brightly coloured bird.

Yes! the Rabbits have a Facebook page!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Rendezvous à Minuit
After much badgering (if rabbits can badger) the rabbits have persuaded me to open their
Facebook page to the public. So if you like them, please ‘like’ their page, and you will be showered with posts about the best place to buy carrots, which lettuce goes best with Pinot Noir, and occasionally some news about upcoming exhibitions and events.

Black Dog, who’s been distracted a little by my attempts to save the planet by abstaining from plastic, will now be applying my nose to the grindstone and keeping you up to date with what’s happening in my studio. Right now, I’m busy cleaning and tidying, getting ready for the Grand Opening on August 10.

 

 

SALA 2013 is looming!

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

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Hi, it’s been a very long time since I wrote anything in this blog!  I’ve been preoccupied with 100 trivial things, including a blog about plastic, but I am now focusing on having a neat and tidy studio for my Open Studio during SALA week, which is actually now three weeks, from August 10 to 25.  I’m in the program which came out this weekend, but you can find me and all the other artists on the SALA website. You won’t find me on the publicity for the Mechanical Gallery as I was sailing to Wallaroo on a tall ship when Ryan asked me if I wanted to be involved.  But I will have some haiku on the topic of car mechanics on display at that venue during SALA, along with some fascinating artworks by other artists, alluding to that demanding craft. This is what the gallery looked like in May:

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Note , it is now called the Gallery, not the Workshop.

My Black Dog Gallery continues to be virtual, but Black Dog Studio is now up and running and will be on public display on August 10, 11, 17,18, and 24 and 25. I will be there to show you my prints, drawings, mugs, cards, t-shirts and poetry, and you can also have a look at the garden, have a cup of tea or possibly a glass of wine and finish up with a walk on the beach, so bring the dog if you like – but keep it in the car please, as my dog doesn’t like being invaded by strange dogs.

If you’re thinking of coming, I’d love to hear from you, so please drop me a line!

 

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