Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Portrait workshop 6 - 8th November 2020 with Julie Douglas

I am very pleased to be running this workshop again - it is a popular and very rewarding class. 


Over three intense sessions in one weekend,this workshop takes you through the steps you need to create convincing portraits, including how to measure, studying the features,  and how to get a likeness. All reference material is provided, and the workshop is both in-studio as well as on Zoom. If you wish you may use your own photo on the third day. We will use graphite, and if you wish, coloured pencils. 

This little video below outlines the content of my portrait workshop.



Friday 6th NOvember, 6 - 9.30pm, Saturday 7th 3 - 7pm, Sun 8th 3 - 8pm. 

If you'd like more info, or to book, please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

Monday, 5 October 2020

Autumn at BARA

I like to start the academic year with a bit of drawing, lest students have become a tad rusty during the break! Once we have that in the bag, the subjects are as seasonal as possible - which is always a treat in the autumn. I have a particular favourite hedge beside the sea, which has an incredible crop of rose hips - a gorgeous subject, particularly once the excess leaves are trimmed, revealing the plump hips. Currently, Covid-19 is still lurking, so to help socially distancing in the studio, I make a (silent!) demonstration movie for each week. Some studenst attend using Zoom, so the video is great for that, and it also provides a great reference tool for students afterwards too. Here is the demo for painting rose hips: Below - a lovely coloured pencil study by Liz McM, who joined the class via Zoom.
Below - more lovely student examples, using water colour.
Weekly classes are running all through autumn, with availability on a couple of classes. For info email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk All classes are available in-studio (socially distanced) as well as on Zoom.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Working remotely during Lockdown

A week before we went into Lockdown in March 2020, some of my students decided they would work from home, a 'just in case' mechanism. So that they didn't miss out on their class, I did my first, very rough, demonstration video, by attaching my phone (camera) to a little chair placed on the table above my work.
The challenge for me was to choose a subject that was accessible to everyone (so I couldn't simply delve into my boxes of props and suggest something whacky or unusual, sigh...) So I nipped down to Lidl, and got a few bunches of irises, in the hope that the few absent students could do the same.
It is really important to think beyond the subject itself, and consider the set-up. This means the environment around the subject. In the next photo, the iris is in a jar simply placed on a table. It is all clutter, the visual lines of the iris being distrupted by the background of the room. Not good to work from - too much going on!
A very simple solution is to put a piece of card (or a cardboard corner/shadow box behind it to give a clean background, allowing you to see the iris nicely. Below - a buff coloured card behind the flowers...
And below, white card behind the flowers. There isn't a 'right' or 'wrong' colour, it is up to you what colour and what tonal value you prefer.
In this exercise, I asked that students concentrate on the flowers, but I did love the patterns and reflections within the vase. The results were wonderful, both in-studio and from those working remotely. I particularly value colour 'tiles' on the page, as well as little trial studies - this is the correct way to approach any and every subject, rather than jumping in expecting to creat something 'finished' in one sitting. The first sitting (even if you only intend to DO one sitting) will always be the trial run, the study, the play and the what-if. If you regard it as such, you will learn, and enjoy it. Photo below - a lovely study page by a student, who worked from home using the demo video for help.
And below, a sketch book page from a student working in-studio.
For info on upcoming classes and workshops both in-studio and online, please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

Friday, 28 August 2020

Summer online workshops at BARA

This year, 2020, has been exceptionally busy at BARA. All classes and workshops have been online since March when we went into Lockdown, and even once restrictions were eased, classes have remained mostly online. 

From one of the firsst demo videos - very important to check your bottoms! 

Also from first video - also important to drink plenty of tea!

Classes are live, but with pre recorded demonstration videos - I am mindful that not everyone has good internet connection, even in this day and age, and my worry was that doing live demonstrations only might exclude some students. 

The pre recorded videos have been incredibly succesful and really popular, not least because they can be viewed many times. It does, of course, increase my workload, and that of my son Rory who has edited every one of them. However, it's great to be able to be useful in this way and keep all my students feeling connected to one another. 

Film making, a job for all the family... Rory editing 

Lulu 'helping' 

Sky Portrait Artist of The Year asked me to make a two minute film of how lockdown was impacting my creative practice, so here it is!



For info on upcoming classes, some in-studio, many online, please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk 


Thursday, 27 August 2020

The great advantage of a Retreat

At least once a year my friend Claire and I go away to a cottage for a few days to restore our batteries, by painting and drawing, knitting, and in Claire's case a bit of creative writing. We also listen to as many Audiobooks and Tedtalks as we can cram in. It sometimes seems extreme to have to go away to really get away, but it does remove us from local distractions, and allows us to concentrate on whatever project has been calling us the most. I recommend it! This year we went a mere 50 minutes from town, to the bottom of the Ards Peninsuala - who says we have to go FAR to find beauty and solitude?! The photo below shows our view, across Strangrod Lough to the snow-topped Mourne Mountains.
Below - walking on the shoreline when the tide was out. Freezing cold, but glorious.
Below - the distinctive white pillars and red gates, catching the winter sunlight.
Bleow - a little painting by Claire. Often we both do small paintings of the area we are staying in. It means we can have a relatively high output, which is refreshing and fun. It's good to cover a small canvas, then move on.
The photo above shows the same lovely LITTLE painting by Claire, next to two LARGE panels that I worked on while we were way. Last year we went to County Cavan,where I workd on a wedding present for my friends... This photo shows the prep study, with the finished artwork beneath.
I also finished a portrait commission..
..and a couple of little local landscapes, from the hedgerow near the cottage. Size around 6 inches x 4 inches, oil.
AND I finished my knitting! Hoorah!
And the year before we had a blisteringly hot week in County Waterford. Below - Minnie enjoying a boat trip...!
Above - the start of a little painting of Nendrum Monastic Site. below - a makeshift easel, using stacked up furntiure..
Below - the finished little painting. Oil on panel approx 8 in x 1 0 in
The best fun was driving through the lanes trying to locate the field of hay bales that we could see from our cottage. Below oil n Canvas approx 10in x 10 in
We found it eventually! Below - oil on canvas approx 14in x 10in
Working away from home means you have no other distractions, and setting aside the time, for either a specific project or the chance to go with the creative flow, gives personal space and a structure which is sometimes just what's needed to get back to your Self. For info on workshops, both in-studio and online, please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Oil painting workshop

My weekly classes cover all aspects of drawing and painting, from pencil to charcoal water colour and oils. But it is lovely to have a longer stretch in one medium, so the oil painting week was a pleasure. 

We covered light, painting a sphere to get into incremental variations of tones and painted an egg as an introduction to painting a head (the oils week came on the heals of a portrait workshop, so I carried the theme on a little).  

Demos of the sphere and the egg, looking at light and turning the form. 

Demo in mixing flesh colours, using the planes of the head.

Various demos from the week including a colour study for a portrait. 


Julie B, working on Planes of the head. 

Caroline working on Planes of the head. 

Caroline's oil painting, great job!

Marie's lovely oil study
For info on upcoming workshops including all workshops available on the online Zoom platform, please email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk 

Monday, 15 June 2020

Maestro John Angel, new online portrait workshop, August 2020 in association with BARA

I'm delighted to announce that the workshop which I had planned with Maestro John Angel WILL go ahead this summer, in spite of the global lockdown and lack of international travel.

Rather than taking place in my studio, we have worked together to create a fantastic new online programme, made up of beautifully edited demonstration videos, which will be shared with participants throughout the workshop, and Maestro will attend through Zoom every day, answering questions and doing more demonstrations where needed.

The subject is portraiture. Over the two weeks, the programme will allow you to complete at least three portraits, under Maestro's guidance. The first is using the Grisaille technique, the second and third are in colour. All reference material will be provided in advance, along with handout notes. You will be working from photographic reference selected by Maestro, and not painting master-copies.

Maestro will be in his studio in Florence, and the Zoom meetings will be hosted by me, in Belfast. To date (since lockdown took effect here), I have held 72 classes on Zoom, and am now very familiar with it as a platform. It is fantastic - but I have opted for mostly pre-recorded video demonstrations, rather than live demos, just in case anything goes wrong with anyone's internet during class.

Please watch the video below and get in touch if you would like to book. Details on fees etc at the bottom of this blog.



Michael John Angel painting St John
Mr Angel is highly regarded as one of the foremost figurative painters,  and his paintings and portraits hang in both public and private collections worldwide. Mr. Angel has taught workshops at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, in addition to lecturing at the Florentine campuses of several American universities and various private schools. From 1982 to 1988 he was the Director of the National Portrait Academy in Toronto, Canada, and from 1992 - 1995 the Assistant Director of the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy.  As an ARC living master, Mr. Angel is considered one of the most inspiring and successful teachers in classical and traditional art today.

Mr Angel, teaching
Michael John Angel, known to his students as 'Maestro', is the founder and Director of the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. 


Further Workshop Details:Each day is a 6-hour class plus an hour lunch break. The exact timings will be confirmed once students express interest. This is due to the multitude of timezones across the world. Mr Angel will be available LIVE during class times (in the same way that he would be in a normal shared studio environment)Individual and group critiques - question and answer sessions live on Zoom, co-ordinated by Julie Douglas. Painting demonstrations by Mr AngelDiscussions on materials and techniques COST: £1350 - this is the same price as last year's workshop, in spite of the huge volume additional work involved in producing the several hours of excellent quality video demonstrations. Videos are available to students to download and keep as a reference aid. A list of materials (paint and brushes) will be sent upon booking a place.Terms & Conditions:A 50% non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. Full payment must be received by 15th July 2020Minimum number of students - 15.Fees are non refundable unless the course is cancelled for any reason. 


I personally feel really honoured to have had the opportunity to create and present this workshop with Maestro. He is tirelessly professional, enthusiastic, and cooperative, and endlessly generous with his knowledge. It is a privilege for me to be able deliver this workshop, particularly during the current travel and gathering restrictions in place due to COVID-19. 



Oil painting workshop with Julie Douglas 13th - 17th July 2020


This popular weeklong workshop covers all aspects of setting up, prepping and completing an oil painting, using a couple of different methods. We will work using still life subjects,so you can set up our own arrangement, draw it, do a grisaille then move on to colour. These are lovely process when taken in small manageable stages.

Student Marie beginning to apply paint, after completing previous studies
Marie's painting
We will look at colour mixing...
 We will spend some time on colour mixing, so you discover how many colours you have available even when using a restricted palette.
Lovely finished painting from last year's workshop, by student Gennie

This photo of lovely student work shows the drawing, black and white ('grisaille')painting and transferred drawing on the canvas ready for painting. by student, May.
May's finished little painting - lovely! 
 This is a five day workshop, with the option for those who wish to include it, a look at colour mixing for skin tones and a small portrait study.

My portrait painting of Jonny. 
Having spent the past three months teaching exclusively online, I am delighted that some students are returning to the studio to work. With all workshpaces at least 2 metres apart, I am constantly grateful that my studio is large enough to accommodate this. However, for the time being, I will continue to offer classes online as well as in the studio. The workshop will include demonstrations, as well as video demos for those on Zoom. 

For more information, please eamil julie@juliedouglas.co.uk 

Also upcoming, 3 day portrait workshop:

http://juliedouglasdrawingpaintinglearning.blogspot.com/2020/06/3-day-workshop-in-portrait-drawing-with.html