Drawing, Painting, Sharing.

 I have been guiding people through the creative maze for many years and am fascinated by how different, and yet how similar, we all are. There are many myths about drawing and painting, but most come from a place of misunderstanding, or of disappointments left over from past experiences. We all have the capacity to improve. The only requirement I have of my students is that they have a desire to learn - and leave the rest to me. Drawing, the attention to what  is around us, (drawing information, drawing near, drawing together and drawing comfort) is the true foundation of good painting. To draw well, we must learn to see. Learning to see is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Life becomes full of aha! moments, more colourful and more beautiful than we could ever imagine.

I was interviewed by the lovely (and very creative) Roisin Ingle for The Irish Times, about Creativity, and what it means. She asked me, “WHY is it important to participate in a creative activity, what happens if we are creative?’ I was astonished, for the question turned the world upside down. The real question might be, “what happens if we DON’T participate in a creative activity?’ The answer to that is, we become unhappy and dissatisfied and can lose our sense of who we are. We are a creative species, innovative and inventive, with a whole brain (not just left brain or right brain) to nurture and grow. They say that we are either thriving or dying - so lets thrive. Lets make things, grow things, get outside, dance, sing, cook, breathe more deeply and laugh often. The best question of all is ‘What happens if I do THIS...?’

Grand Central Academy, New York City


Originally from County Down, Julie trained in Liverpool (foundation studies) and did her degree in graphic Design at Norwich School of Art. She worked as an illustrator for 12 years for advertising agencies, design groups and publishers. She won the Association of Illustrators award on two occasions, in the Images Exhibitions, and was chair of the Committee for the AOI in 1989. She won a New York Advertising award for her illustrations for American Express and two awards from the Color Pencil Society of America for excellence in colour pencil.

Julie Douglas has been teaching observation drawing and painting for 20 years, from beginner to degree level. She taught drawing and graphic design in Limerick School of Art and is currently undertaking the Masters programme in Multi Disciplinary Design at Ulster University. Her research is investigating the benefits of developing drawing skills not only to develop communication in design but also to enhance personal health and well being. In 2014 she created the first Draw In Symposium, a festival of workshops and demonstrations designed to celebrate observation and drawing, and it's value as a creative tool, even in a digital age.

Julie's work has been exhibited in London, Dublin, Seattle and Atlanta.

Unless otherwise stated, all classes and workshops are in Belfast. 

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