Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Summer Workshops 2021 - the dates!


Summer workshops 2021

I am delighted to bring you this selection of workshops available over July and August. I hope you find something that interests you. All classes are fully tutored, and suitable for all levels. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all. 

Life Drawing: 22 July, 29 July,  and Fri 6 August,  6 - 8pm. Lovely, fun sessions. Cost £35 per session Includes refreshments and large paper. Please bring pencils and chalks (if using) so as not to share hand-held materials.

Botanical drawing:Tues 20 July  10.30 am - 4pm. Light lunch provided. Cost £100

Trees:Wed 21 July 10.30 am - 4pm. Pen & wash, and drawing. Light lunch provided. Cost £100

Water colour skies:Tues 27 July 10.30 - 4pm Light lunch provided. Cost £100

Comber Doorways: Wed 28th July 10am - 4pm  Not available as a Zoom class. Lunch at my house! Cost £100                                  
Mon 2 - Fri 6 August, 10am - 4.40pm (finessing at 12 on Friday),  all materials and props provided. Cost £600 (Also available on Zoom) 

Portrait drawing:Tues 17 - Fri 20 Aug 10.30 - 2.30pm (this is an intensive course, with time in between if you wish to practise!) (Also available on Zoom)  Demo videos, workshop notes provided. Cost £275.00

Art for Teachers! Dates to be confirmed - may be in the evenings, with wine. 

Art for families or groups. Why not book a lesson for friends, family or work colleagues. Bespoke classes, suitable for all levels. Get in touch! 

Classes are held in-studio and numbers are restricted to allow for social distancing. Zoom is available on most workshops upon request apart from ‘Comber Doorways’.  For booking and more info email

More workshops may be added during  the summer. One to one available.

Artworks: above, Balligan Church Pen & wash.  Top,  graphite portrait, Julie Douglas 

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Summer workshops with Julie Douglas 2021

I am delighted to share with you the selection of lovely subjects on offer this summer, both in-studio as well as on Zoom if needed. 

It’s important to note that, apart from the Life Drawing sessions, my dates are, currently, flexible.   For this reason, I have not added dates to the listings below -  if you are interested in attending a workshop, please note the duration of that subject and get in touch, giving me an idea of dates that suit you. Also if there is a workshop you would like to do but it isn’t featured below, please get in touch and ask! I will do my very best. All sessions are tutored, and if in studio, social distancing will be observed. 

Julie D, underpainting. 


LIFE DRAWING: Fully tutored sessions. Friday 18th June, THURSDAYS 22nd, 29th July,  Thursday 5th August. 6 - 8pm with refreshments. Cost £35 per session. (These sessions are in-studio only). Number are limited to allow for social distancing.


ART FOR TEACHERS! (Two days) All you teachers deserve a medal for the work you have put in over the past year, and more. This workshop is for you to recharge your own batteries and reconnect with your creative side. I will make all the decisions for you! You just need to turn up! Drawing and watercolour. 

OIL painting workshop (five days): 

A fully tutored workshop taking you through the pleasure of setting up an arrangement, drawing it and painting it, in black and white and then colour. You will complete at least two paintings as well as some colour studies during this week. 10am - 4.30 Mon - Thurs, 10am - 12.30 on Friday. Cost £600

Early stages of portrait in colour pencil, Julie D

PORTRAIT drawing workshop (three days) :   Fully tutored sessions guiding you through the proportions of the face, comparative measuring and all you need to know. This class is accompanied by a series of purpose-made videos making it perfect for Zoom as much as in-studio.  You will also receive a comprehensive e-book written by Julie which outlines all you will do in class, and much more. Cost £300. 

WATERCOLOUR skies (one full day): This workshop will give you the time and space to play with paint and get to grips with clouds and sky. 

TROUBLE SHOOTING WORKSHOPS  If you are struggling and would like a tutorial to assess your work practice and help getting to the route of a problem, please get in touch for a one to one. 

DRAWING TREES (one day)  on location, weather permitting (otherwise, in studio). 

LOCATION DRAWING  (one day)  Comber doorways and buildings. With refreshments at my house! Tues 3rd August 10am - 1pm 

BOTANICAL DRAWING (one day) - or rather, drawing of a botanical subject, using chalks and charcoals, and pen and wash. 

Student pastel drawing. (Margery) 

ART FOR TEENAGERS (two days) A creative experience in the studio fo school age students wanting to expand on their skills and work with like minded others. 

For information or if you have any questions please email 

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Drawing: A day at the Ulster Museum

With lockdown easing, I was delighted when my friend Claire asked if I fancied a trip to the Ulster Museum, in Belfast.  A MUSEUM? OUT? HOW EXCITING!!!!! So the booking was made, and on Saturday we packed out pencils and headed off. 

And...relax. We have arrived. 

There are many wonderful things about the Ulster Museum. the first is the setting. Tall trees of many varieties, and lovely gardens all around. The second wonderful thing is the cafe. Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, it's not about the food, or the refreshments, it's about the WINDOWS. Which look out to the trees. 

I love trees. 

Moleskine sketchbook, pen drawing of four girls sitting on the museum steps, using their mobile phones. 

So we settled in with the sketch books, and set to looking out. I"d brought a small sketch book, and my eyes were attracted by the four girls to the left, huddled together but not speaking, playing with their phones. A very modern sight. And unlike people-drawing in the olden days, where you had to be very quick because... well, because they MOVED, now you are fairly certain that you'll have several minutes of a stationary pose to draw without fear of any movement whatsoever. Sigh. Perhaps they will be a generation of no-neck. 

The great thing about working in pen is that you just get on with it. No rubbing out, just keep going. Very liberating. 

We spent a couple of hours in the cafe, looking out, before wandering around the building. A lovely day out. Just remember to book in advance. 

My studio is now fully open, with only distance students remaining on Zoom. For details on classed please email for info and dates.

Website, for more images, is

Monday, 10 May 2021

portrait in oils

Mary and Liam, the finished painting. 

               This portrait was a birthday present for Mary, from her husband Liam and shows both of them. 

It's a very natural pose, rather than a formal setting. Oils have a layering process, which is needed to give the finished painting a richness than isn't possible with just one layer of paint. Oil paint is transparent, so the more layers you paint, the more solid and rich the painting feels. 
The first layer can be in colour, or in a neutral - I chose Raw Umber for a tonal under painting. 

First layer (oil paint thinned with Sansodor),  to get everything in the right place!

The next layer is in colour, and is a careful investigation of tones and colour. I like to start with the faces. 

Creeping down the canvas until all areas have the first colour layer. 

Start of the second layer of colour on the jacket 

In all, I did four layers (including the first Raw Umber layer) and it took eleven days. 

This photo shows the size.

For details about workshops in oils, in portraiture and weekly classes in drawing and water colour please email 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

baby baby! Coloured Pencil on Bristol Board

 Babies are challenging to draw as their skin is so perfectly smooth - too much tonal variation and you can accidentally age the subject by months, if not years! 

This little chap is the youngest of three siblings, and it's been my pleasure to draw all of them. They have been, as babies, uncannily alike.

A couple of stages along the way to completion. As you can see in the background, usually all areas have at least two colours, to get the tones and colours required. 

Here he is on Christmas Day, being shown his portrait! 

All workshops are currently on both Zoom and in studio. If you would like info on weekly or one-off workshops please email

Monday, 26 April 2021

Dog in coloured pencil, step by step

 This much loved dog died very recently, and I was happy to have done this coloured pencil artwork (from a photo from when she was a young dog) for the owner to remember her by. 

The artwork was small, around A4 in size. For dark coloured animals it is necessary to use an 'underpainting' technique, which helps get rid of the whiteness of the paper, and allows the darkest areas to be much richer and more intense. After a detailed line drawing, I like to start at the eyes and work outwards from there. 

The background is an out of focus hedge - I love the blobby patterns this creates. 

Grass is always a challenge and is quite labour intensive. This time I put in some of the paler stems first then worked around them. 
I then put in swathes of darker grasses, with mid tones on top.

The whole artwork took around 30 hours. I use Caran d'Ache Prismalo 1, and a manual sharpener. I used Bristol Board for the smooth surface.

For info on workshops (in studio and on Zoom) please email 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Black Labrador, colour pencil commission

I had this commission last summer, and these photos take you through the steps it needed to finish with a rich, velvety black coat.

There is so much under layering that it felt like two drawings. A brown dog with a black one on top! But without that underlayer, the colour would not have been rich enough and it would have look a bit flat. 

 I mostly use Caran d'ache colour pencils, and work on Bristol board which is lovely and smooth and holds the pigments well. 

For info on commissions and workshops please email 

Portrait commission, progress shots (and cats in the studio)

 Cats are an interesting addition to any studio, and not, I must admit, for the faint hearted. They have a knack of wanting to sit just where you are, or on the computer keyboard or, wait for it, ON YOUR ARTWORK. This is a common occurrance for my students too, as many of them finish off their Zoom class by sending a photo of the cat either drinking their water colour water, or sitting directly on top of their painting! 

'What's the story?' 
I'd just blocked in the line drawing for this commission when the cat decided it was enough already. No harm was done, thankfully... 
Usually, I like to start at the eyes and work outwards from there. This was a graphite commission, so only one layer needed. 
Gently gently down the cheek - the best work to have in mind is 'SOFT' - no hard transitions or edges!

'I give up'

Above, the finished artwork. 

Finally, dear little Lulu, who was fond of lifting the pencil and 'helping'. Fondly missed. 

For info on portraits, or drawing and painting workshops please email

Pet Portrait commissions, oils 30cm x 30xm

Dogs are such loyal loving pets that many people choose to honour them with a portrait. This lovely dog was very poorly, and her owner asked me to do two portraits of her before she died, one for the owner and the other for his daughter.  

I was lucky enough to be able to take the photos myself, particularly as she was a dark haired dog, which can be difficult to photograph. It's also nice for the owner to be able to select the reference from a variety of suitable photographs, to choose the one which means the most to them. 

Each painting was 30cm x 30cm, painted in oil on linen canvas. The background was kept plain so as not to detract from the detail of the dog herself. 

For details or questions about classes or commissions please email

Portrait commissions, graphite

It's been a busy few months for commissions, which has been thoroughly enjoyable. Some were of much loved people, and others were of much loved pets. 

Here are the first two, graphite drawings of a father and son, who were prominent Solicitors in Belfast. 

This drawing of Laura was commissioned by her parents as a birthday present for her. The photo below shows the clients holding the artwork - I am showing you this so you have an idea of scale. They were all very happy!

If you are interested in commissioning a portrait, or attending a portrait workshop (either in the studio or on Zoom) please email

It is always an honour to be asked to do a portrait, and while it's impossible to know exactly what the client has in mind, I make it my priority to ask as many questions in advance, and provide a rough visual before starting the final work. 

The studio is tentatively reopening as lockdown restrictions ease, and I look forward to welcoming some of you there as soon as possible.