Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Drawing - chalk pastel gourds, student work, Belfast.

This week was fantastic gourdy fun, looking at colour and mixing, using chalk pastels. Many had never seen a gourd before (what???!!!) but all enjoyed their gaudy bright colours, warts and all (literally!). I think gourds are nature's little joke, a sarcastic splash of vibrant enthusiasm before the Winter Shut-Down. And they are wonderful to paint.

K. Feeney, Student.

N. Thompson, Student

G. Bunting, Student

All of these students have only attended 3 or 4 sessions and had not used chalk pastels before. I think they are amazing!! (I think they're rather amazed at themsleves too!) And they're SO well behaved, they hardly moan at all, so long as I make them coffee... 

K. Greene, Student

G. Evans, Student 

               And while chalk pastel is very messy, its good fun, so long as you work large enough.

K. Feeney. 

W. Bukowska, student. 

Deirdre, demonstrating the Hands On approach to green!

 Fortunately, I have a mirror by the front door, so folks can check themselves for chalk dust on their way out - some students definitely had a green look about them!
Thank you to The Floral Boutique in Holywood who allowed me to strip them of their entire supply of gourds. The crop was poor this year, and I got the best of them (mostly from ther window display!), thank you so much.

Next up - In Ireland and Belfast, Water colour workshop, Oils Workshop, Big Drawing Days, Portrait Drawing days and Intensive Portfolio Prep course. As well as this, weekly classes in Belfast. All good fun, and very good for your health!
Email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk for info

Monday, 24 October 2011

Trees - oils on board

After a small number of  special people, I think trees are my favourite thing. And I've said before that my office is The Woods. Great place to think, to watch and to recharge.
Here's my second attempt at capturing something of the woods. Its extremely hard to photograph, there is a bit of glare on the last shot, the top left is darker than it looks here.
I'm not at all sure that I achieved what I set out to achieve, in fact, I am inclined to think not, but moving on anyway...

oil on board, 13in x 10in.

Next up - water colour workshop, Oils workshop, Big Drawing weekend, and Intensive Portfolio Course (full). 
For information on courses email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Gourd-eous gourds, pencil and colour pencil, sketchbook

It's been a poor year for pumpkins and gourds, apparently, but I kept popping into the florists, full of hope, and eventually he had a few choice warty specimens waiting for me.

I don't know why I love them, I only know that I do. I think they are so weird that they're wonderful. And they're great to draw and paint, warts and all. 

Next up, Monthly Monday Killaloe, Art for Teenagers, Belfast, and Intensive Portfolio Course. Email for info on these as wel as Big Drawing Days, Portrait days, Oils and Water Colour workshops.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Oil Painting workshop Belfast - the colour in White

This weekend I had a lovely workshop in Belfast, which included an American lady who flew over from Holland, and an Austrian lady who drove up from Carlow. None were new to oils, but some had little experience of drawing, so we spent the first morning on drawing exercises. Many painting students resign themselves to this, with reticence - but ALL experienced a few Lightbulb moments, which is a joy to watch, when they realized that not only is drawing a vital part of the painting process, but its fun, and yes, we can all do it.

In fact, the Lighbulb moments continued all weekend, and on Sunday I decided to move on to a more difficult exercise, a white ball surrounded by coloured papers. We used a piece of grey paper with holes cut in it to isolate colour - and all were amazed at how colourful white is...
Colour study by B.Engl, student

One student surpassed herself - when she looked through the hole and saw bright yellow on the white ball, she couldn't wait to start painting and said, I'm so EXCITED..! Well, me too!! In fact, once they got started, I began to feel a bit left out. tsk!

                                                       Studies by J.Simms,  student

Study in progress by M. Forshee, student

This exercise is much harder than it looks, and illustrates very quickly to the student that it appears that we can't believe our EYES,who'd have thought there'd be so much COLOUR?  If we only looked more frequently with our eyes wider open, we'd know that there's so much MORE to SEE. And that truly, it IS exciting. Be Alert, be Open, be Aware and you'll See everything. It's there all the time, you just have to Look.

Colour study by M.Forshee, student

After this we moved on to cloth, and the enthusiam progressed into concentrated silence, a mixture of Horror, Huffing, and, well.. Hoping, I think! Fabulous work, a lovely weekend. Thanks. 

Next Up - weekly Drawing and Painting classes, Belfast, Monthly Monday Killaloe, BYOB Mondays, Belfast, Art for Teenagers and Portfolio Course, Co Clare.
 For info email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

Friday, 7 October 2011


Thank you to a man who trusted his vision, believed in his vision and lived his vision. Steve Jobs made the most amazing impact on the lives of millions across the planet. He made our lives more fun, more immediate and more dream filled, he proved that if you can imagine it, you can have it.  It doesn't get better than that.

He said - There is no reason to not follow your heart. Stay Hungry, Stay foolish.
So today, remember your vision, trust it, and follow your heart.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tonal value studies, charcoal and pastel

Charcoal study, H.J, Student
Grey Chalk study, H.J, Student

Whether you are an artist or a student (and show me the true artist who doesn't regard themselves as student) there is so much to learn form working in black and white (though I really mean drawing in a multitude of greys, with White as a special treat and Black only to be used if you've brought a letter from your great great Grandmother). In fact, it is very difficult, and while many students begin working in black and white with wistful mutterings on how much they love Colour, it doesn't take long for the problems and challenges of tonal balance to crop up. Using charcoal on its own first restricts you to black only, and moving on to a second study using grey and white chalks then gives you the luxury of Applying highlights and allows a fuller range of tone. 

Grey Chalk study, J.McC, Student

These student drawings are lovely and have a very painterly feel about them. There is no black at all in the middle drawing (only dark greys instead of actual black) and in the third drawing, the only black is just behind the area where the onions meet. ALL the infomation and tonal variation required in a black and white study is equal to the tonal range needed in a successful colour piece. But if you go straight to colour every time, you are open to being intoxicated with the notion of COLOUR and colourS, instead of the tonality of the subject. A colour study is everything that a tonal study is, but with colour as WELL.

Next up - Oil painting workshop, Belfast, Portfolio Course for college entry, Killaloe.
email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk for info.