Friday, 17 May 2019

Deep Dive and Shallows

I'm still really engrossed in my journey of exploring abstract art.  It's a totally new avenue for me, as those of you who have followed for a while will know.  For many years I painted coastal scenes, things and places you would recognise.

Some time last year I felt the call to try something new, to work in a looser style and yet I just couldn't commit to taking that leap, and so persevered with my familiar style.

Working like this, very much from the heart and soul is proving to be so revealing in many ways.  I am understanding how art really does have the capacity to create space in the mind, and to heal.

This piece is called Deep Dive, and it's an acrylic piece on a wooden panel.  I used a flow medium to make those glorious puddles of colour.

Much of this painting is led by intuition, I allow myself to be directed to colour, shape and pattern without trying to influence the outcome.


Choosing to work with a minimal choice of colours, I built up many translucent layers of paint, it reminds me of staring into the shallows of the ocean, those beautiful turquoise shades, lilac and blue, and soft sandy tones.  I was really happy with this piece, and feel I'd like to explore this layered way of making art further.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Wanderlust and Tide Pools


A feeling of adventure, of sea and sky, journey and landscape.

This piece has a gorgeous deep edge, so you could display this painting either freestanding, or hang on the wall.  I also like the serendipitous paint run down the side, how about you?

Tide Pool

Colours and movement of a tidal pool, fluctuations of seaweed undulating in the water and the surprise of marine life hiding in the shadows.

Painted on a deep edged white canvas, this piece is so utterly mesmerising.

What I'm learning as I create these pieces is that they come from somewhere deep within.  There is no expectation of any outcome as I paint, it's a journey of sorts - and each painting is a revelation, like a revealing of the soul.  Working intuitively with colour is both mindful and meditative, I am seeing that this work could be (and perhaps already is) deeply healing.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019




I seem to be forever drawn to painting the sea, although recently I have crossed over from illustrative representational work to abstract work, this piece was created in acrylics with a flow medium, and I wanted to convey the feeling of movement and energy where the tide meets the shore.

Whenever we get the opportunity we love to go over to the Yorkshire coast, although it’s May here, temperatures had plummeted to just 5 degrees hence the winter coat...the views were worth it though, at both Bempton Cliffs RSPB and Scarborough.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The Shape of Water

 After a long absence, I'm back on my Blog.  I have decided to intersperse writing helpful tutorial, sharing advice and stories along with Journal type posts, sharing what I'm up to in the studio, with behind the scenes pictures, on a more regular basis.

Back in March, I hit a bit of a wall - you could call it a dark night of the soul if you wish because I stopped painting for weeks and weeks, and at times I honestly didn't know if I'd ever pick up a brush again.  Everything felt tired and done.  Did you ever feel that way about things you create?
It was a tough few weeks, I questioned where I was going in my business, and wondered who I was without art - was it even possible to imagine a life without it?  

If we resist these times of change though, it becomes harder - if we soften and allow ourselves to let go, we can get through the pain and journey through to the sweet new beginnings that await us on the other side.

I had no idea I would ever make art that looked this way.

My friend encouraged me to go back to the studio, and to just have fun.  I took her advice, found a wooden panel and played with my acrylics and some flow medium.

The piece at the top, which I created while thinking about the feeling of water was where it all began.  I discovered that I was enjoying the concept of making art for fun, using the theme of water to explore mark making, shapes and texture.

Painting this way is completely different from when I paint in an illustrative way.  I am allowing my deepest, subconscious feelings to manifest on paper.  I allowed myself to really immerse myself in the shape of water, the feeling of water and the energy and movement of it.  These pictures are the happy result.

I've been surprised by so many kind comments on my social media, I honestly wasn't expecting them.  In some ways I was nervous to share this new work, I think when you have worked in a certain way for so long, people come to expect that and this was a complete departure for me to suddenly be sharing abstracts.

I'm still curious to explore this more intuitive way of painting.

I've done a couple of new vlogs too, all about this process.  I shared about what happens when you fall out of love with your art (Episode 13) and what happened next (episode 14).  You can watch them over on my 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Creative Confidence - my brand new workshop

I've met many people on my journey as an artist, who have said things to me like: "I wish I could do what you do", or "Oh no, I can't draw, I'm hopeless!"

Further conversation would lead down an increasingly familiar path; someone had told them they were no good when they were younger, they'd not had the support or encouragement to follow their dreams (even for fun or as a hobby never mind as an actual career choice).  
Others had just grown up, family life and demanding jobs taking up most of their time until slowly, and without realising, they had simply stopped making art.

I always try and encourage people to give it a try, to carve out a little space to have a go, but I'm often met with a wistful gaze, a shrug of the shoulders and a  resigned smile, or a definite No.

I kind of understand, a resolute "No" often hides low confidence or zero self belief.  Hadn't I been the same, back as a naive eighteen year old college student, when my art tutor had told me that I was never going to make it as an artist?  

Hadn't I gone home that day, flattened by her words, shocked and unable to compute what to do with my life?  Didn't I go into my room that evening, and slowly put all my things away in a cupboard, the grief of realising I was no good -  never would be - making the idea of touching my paints and drawing things again practically impossible?  And when anyone asked if I'd painted anything recently, didn't I say No?


All of those things.

And it took a few years before I felt the courage to venture into trying again.

Because of that comment, I made different choices in life, I spent the next six years working in an office for the NHS, in the salaries office no less (my maths grades left a lot to be desired, and it was my least favourite subject at school).  I used to get feelings of nausea on a Sunday evening at the thought of Monday morning, yet I didn't have the courage to leave, I tolerated the long, slow hours because it paid a good wage which allowed me to buy nice clothes, and a car.  

I lived for the weekends but that's no way to live a life.  I look back now and feel sad for my younger self, sorry that she didn't understand that those comments were just somebody else's opinion, that didn't make them right or wrong and that I still had a right to try and follow my passion even if somebody else disagreed.  I wonder now how many other people have had similar experiences, at the hands of someone we look up to and respect?  I'm learning there are many of us.

Some of us manage to find our way back, the passion and need to create finally resurfacing somewhere down the line, as it eventually did for me.  I eventually left that office job and went to University in Devon, eventually graduating as an interior designer.  I went on to run my own creative businesses for the next 19 years - the first one as a sign writer, the second: an artist.

For others though, the barriers are just sometimes too difficult to overcome.  Pain, hurt, fear and shame all block the path to trying again, and this is the reason that I created this course.

I wanted to create a toolkit for people who wanted to make art a part of their lives again but were too afraid or stuck; to teach them that they can and to share the skills I use myself to this day when I'm stalled by self doubt, or fear, to enable them to do so.

Creative Confidence is designed as a self paced Workshop which you can access from anywhere in the world, it's a short course with gentle guidance and journal style prompts with spaces to write.  

In the couple of days since it's been launched, I've had some really wonderful feedback from people:

"Thank you - you've inspired me to get my sketch book out again". CE

"Thank you Julia, what a fabulous course". AH

"Well written, it's really making me think" BK

For me to teach what took me many years to learn, to help people overcome their fears and negative beliefs, brings me a lot of pleasure.  To know that this may have helped just one person would have been brilliant, but it's reaching and helping more people than I could have imagined.

This isn't about turning your life on its head, ditching your job and responsibilities to become a full time artist.  It's about allowing yourself the space within your current circumstances to explore the possibilities of what might happen, to make space in your busy life for creating, to pursue your curiosity, to cultivate confidence and to find the courage to try making art again.

The Workshop is available now, and is an ongoing course which you can access when you like.  Once signed up you have lifetime access as long as the course is live.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, you can find out more about my Workshop here.