Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Field trip! Castle Espie Wetland Centre, County Down.

Hmm... Bag packed with pencil case, paper towels, sketch book, palette and hot water bottle? It can only mean one thing - FIELD TRIP!!
It's a good idea to get out and about during the term so that students don't get too used to working at a table. Variety is important, and it helps keep the bravery levels up!

My two little sketch book demos. 

Ben and Roisin settling in.
This time we went to the lovely Castle Espie Wetland Centre, which faces onto Strangford Lough. Even in February it was beautiful. 

 Left to right - Lorraine, Jackie, Ailbhe and Ben

Luckily for us, they have recently built new hides, and we chose the Lime Kiln not only for it's stunning views, but also with the hope that it might be less freezing! As you can see from these photos, it is wall to wall windows, making it perfect for drawing and painting. 

Roisin, Lorraine (bundled up in her coat against the cold), Jackie, Ben

It's important to travel as light as possible when working on location. A fold-up palette is ideal, as is a hard backed sketch book. Mine had thick watercolour paper, so I could splosh plently of water around without it buckling. Another important factor in deciding where to spent time, is proximity to coffee. it gets very cold sitting or standing still, and the thought of a hot drink at the end is very important! 

The weather was overcast and dull, but we could see enough to give us a first try at landscape work. The key to mastering landscape is.... practise. We worked quickly, with a time limit so as not to become either worried or overly attached to any painitng. This was the first time painting outside for the students. 
No table? No problem!
Although the day was lacking in light, at least it meant the colours remained consistent. It didn't start raining until we were nearly finished, and shortly there was no visibility at all.

Ben, deep in concentration
By this time everyone had done two paintings, got over their huffs and carried on (well done folks!) and were ready for coffee and warmth. We walked past lots of small ponds, trees and birds on theway back, so it'll be great to return  in the warmer weather for another try. 

Lovely work by the students. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Hot off the press! My book is ready for pre-order!!!

After working on it for the last 18 months, I am delighted to tell you that I have finishing writing, illustrating and designing my instructional book, ’Notes from the Atelier’.

I have attached a link below which will give you a preview!


If the above link to the preview does not work for you, please use this one:

The book is a collection of 32 of my weekly drawing and painting workshops, providing a programme of exercises designed to build skills cumulatively using a variety of media, strategies and subjects.

Guiding students through the steps required to develop a new way of seeing the world, the fully illustrated book provides an accurate reflection of lessons from the studio. Fresh, practical advice on the creative process, to empower students to enjoy the learning experience and to draw and paint better than ever before. With over 245 pages, and a foreword by artist PJ Lynch, the book is packed  with over 500 illustrations and photographs. The artwork was done by me and over 50 of my students.

I am self-publishing the book and have just sent the artworks to an excellent printer, with a view to a book launch in March 2017. 

 At this stage, I need to decide how many books to print, so I need an indication of your interest please.  I am taking pre orders, as I have to inform the printer in the next week or so. If you would like a copy, please email me as soon as possible. The cost for pre-order is £35 per book (Plus post and packaging where applicable. To give you a guide, postage costs approx £5 to UK, £13 to Ireland, £20 to USA. At pre order stage you will only be charged for the book, and postage charges will be invoiced after printing). 

Everyone who orders a book will be invited to the launch to collect it. The launch will include a display of artwork of my current students. If you would like to purchase at the pre order price, here is the link:


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. My email is julie@juliedouglas.co.uk 

Julie Douglas