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 of our shop

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

the ladies

Well here we are in the shop – that’s me on the left and Margaret on the right. It’s been a bit of a learning curve so far – how do you attract people’s attention in a street that consists mostly of welfare offices, doctors’ surgeries, op shops and the odd tattoo parlour? We asked Weekend Notes to write an article about the Council’s enterprise.  We posted leaflets in all the local shops, and of course we now have a Facebook page.  Hopefully we are part of the growing movement to pull the plug on those faceless giant shopping centres and put real shops back on the streets.

shop is open We have a selection of cards and printed Tsirts by me, plus Art Dolls and Dreamcatchers by Magetta Jem. And the graffiti on the walls is really a collection of intelligent comments made by the locals about what they think we should be doing about Beach Road. Hopefully the Council can do something about meeting the standards demanded – from simple pleas to stop people doing u-turns all over the street to requests for an avenue of trees, street markets and a free shuttle bus down to the Esplanade.  Our visitors have often been people who wished simply to add to the wall of suggestions, but they were also agreeably surprised to see the wares on display.  And we’re hoping some of them will come back and do some creative things in our workshops: this Saturday morning Margaret is showing people how to make a mini doll, and next Saturday we are drawing on Tshirts!

mini doll 1

Mini doll by Magetta Jem


Painted Turtle Tshirt by Mi Mi Designs

Painted Turtle Tshirt by Mi Mi Designs

Pop in to the Pop Up Shop

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

popup shop

Popup shops are all the rage these days, so the rabbits and I have jumped on the bandwagon and teamed up with my neighbour and fellow maker Margaret Mccaul, known in art doll circles as Magetta Jem.  In January we are taking over this little shop in Beach Road, Christies Beach, for two weeks, at the invitation of our local council – who are looking for new business initiatives to liven up our sleepy beachside suburb. Watch this space – I will take advantage of the free wi-fi to post daily updates on the progress of our shop and the comments from our visitors! Details of our enterprise can be found here – and here is the program!


Social media experiment

Monday, August 24th, 2015

I am conducting an experiment. I have been told that if you feature a stupid cat video on your website your hits will increase tenfold. As this particular video has had 3 million hits already, I figure I am going to become a superstar overnight. Particularly when I relate that when I found it had been posted on Facebook by some outfit called Mansion, I immediately wondered if Mansion might be worth following, so went straight to their facebook page – only to find to my disappointment that there were no more stupid cat videos. You will, I’m afraid, be disappointed to hear that I’m not intending to post any more of these videos on my website in future – unless I happen to shoot them myself – the videos I mean. I’m just curious to see if the urban myth comes true.

SALA is here!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

This amazing mobile is a present from Japan - come and see me and I'll tell you all about it!

   This amazing mobile is a present from Japan – come and see me and I’ll tell you all about it!

SALA invitation general revised

Once again I’m opening my studio to the public in SALA month, this time it’s every Sunday and Monday until August 31. The Postcards for the Reef are my big feature this year – I have still only done half the number I originally planned to do, but it’s  enough to fill the studio.  I have plenty of greetings cards and postcards of the four favourites, the turtle, the octopus, the parrot fishes and the snubfin dolphins, but if you like any of the others I can order some with a turnaround of about a week.

I also have prints from two print exchanges I’ve taken part in this year; I have another print like the one I sent to Japan in response to a call for an exhibition of prints made on Awagami papers, plus there are plenty of mugs, tshirts and rabbit cards as usual. I’m open from 11-4pm, bring the dog and take him or her for a romp on the beach while you’re down here.

Plus I’m in a show at the City Library with the Bittondi Printmakers and some other very talented artists that opens on Friday July 31.

Bittondi SALA Invite

Day 15, a unique Australian dolphin that may not be around much longer

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

snubfin dolphin, watercolour

snubfin dolphin, watercolour

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across these guys. No, I haven’t seen them in the flesh, they are shy and hard to spot and there are none in captivity, and they only inhabit the northern coasts of Australia.  They were only discovered in 2005, and their slow breeding habits coupled with their preference for shallow waters near human habitation means they are at serious risk of becoming extinct. There is a big campaign to draw attention to their plight so I hope you’ll spread the word.

Day 14 – it’s the day before the solstice and I’m not yet halfway through!

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Psychedelic parrotfish, hand coloured relief solarplate played with in Photoshop

Psychedelic parrotfish, hand coloured relief solarplate played with in Photoshop

When I started this project I intended to have 30 pictures finished by the solstice, then I realised the folly of this deadline and extended it to June 30.  That means I HAVE to do one picture a day from now on. My main problem is that each new subject sets me off on a new trajectory – the colours and patterns and extraordinary capabilities of these reef creatures are setting challenges that I’ve never encountered before. I’m loving it – but it’s exhausting!

Day 14 evolved out of an experiment with relief solarplate. I thought I’d try to project the amazing colours of the parrotfish by printing a bright pink over a blue background, but it actually looked rather dull and lifeless until I had the idea of printing the pink on white Hosho paper and hand colouring it with Dr Martens inks.  I’ve had these inks for over 40 years and they are still as fresh as the day I bought them – if somewhat depleted. I then scanned the fish into Photoshop and they bred rapidly.  The blue background certainly enhances their psychedelic colours!

Days 8,9,10,11,12 and 13!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

I’m actually two days behind in this project but I’m not going to rush it – will just have to catch up at some stage.

The starfish was done entirely in Photoshop: it really has very long arms but I love the pattern on its body. The background is supposed to be the glowing coral.

Starfish close-up, digital image

Starfish close-up, digital image

If you think Day 9 looks like something out of a children’s story or a science fiction movie, that’s exactly how it appeared to me. These shrimps with attitude have a symbiotic relationship with sea urchins – and as you can see they are advancing greedily on the poisonous baby tentacles, which have no harmful effect on them.

Shrimps with Attitude, watercolour

Shrimps with Attitude, watercolour

Day 10 is the Harlequin Sweetlips, also known as the Clown or the Manyspotted Sweetlips. Do not confuse with the clown fish (Nemo) or the Harlequin Tuskfish (that’s the next one I’m doing). These two are possibly mother and daughter, father and son or mother and son or even father and daughter – the juveniles transform into very different adults.

Harlequin Sweetlips, adult and child

Harlequin Sweetlips, adult and child

I had great fun with this one. It’s a harlequin tuskfish swimming amongst a coral spawning. It started as a monoprint, then got transformed in Photoshop. This is the digital image and I won’t do any more to it. I haven’t printed it on watercolour paper yet but I intend to.

Harlequin Tuskfish, monoprint and digital image

Harlequin tTuskfish, monoprint and digital image

Well this is day 12 but I should be on day 14 by now! This creature, the Mimic Octopus, is a shape shifter extraordinaire. And it’s possibly the most intelligent marine creature in the world. In this picture it’s simply using its camouflage to blend into the background, but it can also imitate sea snakes, flounders, jellyfish and marine plants – as well as a host of other things.

a pair of Mimic Octopi, watercolour

a pair of Mimic Octopi, watercolour

This is what I want to do when I go to the Great Barrier Reef.  Unlike its cousin the stingray, manta rays don’t contain a barb, and have the largest brain to body ratio of any Elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates).  And despite its enormous size, it’s harmless to humans – that huge mouth eats plankton and fish larvae.

Manta rays and me

Manta rays and me

Day 7 – the Rabbits are fighting for the Reef too!

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

'Deep Sea Diva', relief solarplate with hand colouring

‘Deep Sea Diva’, relief solarplate with hand colouring

Of course the rabbits had to get in on the act. Even though I informed them that they were neither marine creatures nor endangered, they insisted on lending their celebrity status to the cause. They might not be quite in the same league as Tim Winton or Laura Wells, but I haven’t the heart to deny them a place in the postcards. I did wonder if their tableau was sufficiently ‘coral reefy’ but they pointed out the starfish and the jellyfish, which are both stock reef residents. And they had to get onto the Redbubble Tshirt as well.  Technique? Relief solarplate on Hosho paper – and the starfish and the mer-rabbit’s beads are hand coloured. Go to the Projects page if you’d like to order a postcard.

Days 4, 5 and 6 – and a new Projects Gallery

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Life got a bit hectic and I wasn’t sure if I’d get Days 4 and 5 finished, but Day 6 was a breeze.  Day 4 was a bit of practice on the new plastic engraving material I’ve been trying out. I printed a blue version on Hosho paper, then carved some more tentacles and printed black over the top – then added watercolour to the back of the paper to give a glowing effect. This is the tiny plankton stage of the Medusa jellyfish.

Day 4: Plankton stage, Medusa jellyfish. Plastic engraving limited edition print with watercolour

Day 4: Plankton stage, Medusa jellyfish. Plastic engraving limited edition print with watercolour

Then on Day 5 I found a linocut I’d done a while back and scanned it, printed it on watercolour paper and added some colour: that was quick and easy!

Day 5: Banggai Cardinalfish, linocut with hand colouring

Day 5: Banggai Cardinalfish, linocut with hand colouring

Day 6 was the most fun: I made a monoprint with the ink left over from Day 4, scanned it into Photoshop and played with it, then printed it on the watercolour paper and had more fun with watercolour wash! The paper wrinkled so it gives even more of an underwater feeling!

Day 6: Zebra shark, monotype scanned and enhanced in Photoshop, printed on Bockingford with added watercolour

Day 6: Zebra shark, monotype scanned and enhanced in Photoshop, printed on Bockingford with added watercolour

I’ve now started a gallery for all the images called the Projects Page, which you can access from the Home Page. It takes you directly to the Redbubble gallery – or you can order the postcards in batches of 10 from me via my contacts page.

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.

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