Julia Wakefield

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

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

Written on May 27, 2015 at 11:31 pm, by Julia

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.

Written on May 25, 2015 at 12:11 am, by Julia

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

Written on May 23, 2015 at 9:39 pm, by Julia

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

Written on May 21, 2015 at 7:28 pm, by Julia

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

Written on May 1, 2015 at 10:39 pm, by Julia

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!

Written on April 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm, by Julia

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

Written on January 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm, by Julia

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.

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

Written on December 29, 2014 at 10:57 pm, by Julia

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!

Written on July 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm, by Julia

 

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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.

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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 disappearing Nankeen Night Heron has metamorphosed.

Written on February 13, 2014 at 4:51 pm, by Julia

Back in August/September I put up a series of posts documenting my printing of the Nankeen Night Heron, which I made for the Bimblebox Art Project.  After my website went down due to Internet gremlins, these posts seem to have disappeared. So here is the process once again, all in one post.

This is Stage 1 of the ‘suicide’ or reduction lino print.

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Stage 2, red over yellow.

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Stage 3, Prussian blue over the other two colours, with a pretty black border

Night heron final

This is what was left of the block.  I just made ten prints, and can do no more as the block is now reduced to the final colour.  I have sent one of the prints to Bimblebox, and sold one.  I’d like to have done more prints, as people seem to like the image.

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But then I had a suggestion from my other half….. why not do a monochrome version?

So this is what I came up with, after carving another block, to combine with the one I already had…

Night Heron

I made 50 of these, and I’m sending 26 of them to SSNW 2013, the latest print exchange that I signed up to. The theme was ‘making a difference’, so I hope that in a small way I am making a difference to people’s awareness of the precious beauty of our birdlife.  If I can sell the other 24 prints and donate the proceeds to Birdlife Australia, maybe that will make a slightly bigger difference.