In the Beginning(s)…

The first beginning was 1994.  It was the year that Lucy was born.  Using oil paint was impossible with a new baby in the house.  I had to think of a cunning plan.  *Light-bulb!*  Try using coloured pencils instead.  In my distant past I had experimented with pencils …and so… I bought a box of Derwents and a box of Stabilo Schwann Softcolor pencils.  What fun!  Here goes…

"Lucy's Buzzy Bee" 1994, my first coloured pencil drawing.

“Lucy’s Buzzy Bee” 1994, my first coloured pencil drawing.

At this fledging stage, I thought I needed to outline everything in black.  I did this for my first couple of drawings – as if they were leadlight.

"Summer Window" 1994, my second colour pencil drawing.

“Summer Window” 1994, my second colour pencil drawing.

In these early years I was cutting up bits and pieces of photos out of magazines.  I had a big box full of cut up bits which I added to regularly.  I made collages out of the tiny bits, doing drawings from my reconstituted compositions.

"Herbacious Border" 1995. Partly from my own photo of Christchurch Botanic Gardens' herbacious border and partly magazine cut-up collage.

“Herbacious Border” 1995. The composition was made up partly from my own photos of Christchurch Botanic Gardens’ herbacious border and partly from magazine cut-ups.

I didn’t even note down the sizes of these drawings and none of them are in my hands now – except for “Lucy’s Buzzy Bee” which we still have.

"TImeless" from 1997.

“Timeless” from 1997. Another collage from many different sources.

This period of drawing from collages began in 1994, fizzling out in mid-1998.  I ended up feeling that the images were too stilted; decorative but lacking life.  I returned to painting landscapes in oils for the next two to three years; an example is ‘Ebb Tide’ below.  The pencils were well and truly packed away and I haven’t worked from collages since.

"Ebb Tide" oil painting, 2000. This is typical of the oil landscapes I was doing from 1999 to 2003.

“Ebb Tide” oil painting on canvas, 2000.  20 x 24 inches. This is typical of the oil landscapes I was doing from 1999 to 2003.

The second beginning was in 2001.  I was working towards an exhibition of Perth/Fremantle landscapes to be shown at Gadfly Gallery in Perth.  I already had about half the oil paintings needed.   An early morning entry from my art journal on 15th January 2001 reads “I am back from New Zealand and I’ve just had a miraculous thought – to do the rest of my exhibition pictures in coloured pencils!  I was looking at the photo I took of the leadlight window at Dunedin Railway Station and I thought of doing it in pencils.  And then I thought ‘Why not do a whole series in pencils – they are suitable for all these new landscapes’.  But the amazing thing was, I went to tell Matt of this breakthrough.  He’d just gotten up that second…and he said…”I’ve just been thinking about coloured pencils – or even dreaming about them.  I’m not sure which and I’ve no idea why!!!”  Now is that telepathy or what!?  We are both incredulous that this thought popped into his head.  We shook hands because this is what I’m going to do.”

"Left Bank Illuminations" 2001. First drawing in pencils for over two years and first drawing from my own photo.

“Left Bank Illuminations” 2001. First drawing in pencils for over two years and first drawing from my own photo. 28 x 30 cm.

“Left Bank Illuminations” was my first attempt.  The entry from my journal, 19th January 2001, reads “Tonight I finished my first drawing.  I didn’t enjoy drawing it.  I was very anxious that it would be a failure.  Also I didn’t like USING the pencils.  I was out of my comfort zone, being so used to oils now.   But Matt kept encouraging me.  The result is very soft and quite restful to the eye.  I’m all geared up to start another one now.”

"Trespassing" second of the 'new' drawings in 2001.

“Trespassing” second of the ‘new’ drawings in 2001. 28 x 33 cm.

"Forever Cleaning" my third 'new' drawing from 2001.

“Forever Cleaning” my third ‘new’ drawing from 2001. 29 x 36 cm.

These new drawings are completely different from the 1994-1998 set.  They have much less clutter and I am now drawing from my own photos – which happen to be landscapes from the Fremantle area where I live.

"Forty Winks" fourth drawing in the 'new' 2001 drawings.

“Forty Winks” fourth drawing in the ‘new’ 2001 drawings. 28 x 32 cm.

The second beginning started the coloured pencil journey which I am still on.  I am 54 today and hope that I still have several years of journey left.

Speaking of journeys, I am travelling for the month of August so it may be that I do not post again until September, depending on whether or not I have opportunities to post while I am overseas.  See you later!!!

To see several more examples of the 1994-1998 collage drawings here is the link to the Miscellaneous Works page on my website.

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13 thoughts on “In the Beginning(s)…

  1. Brenda

    Happy Birthday Julie, enjoyed your post. I liked the stained glass paintings. I enjoyed walking around the older areas of Freo at night to see the lead light windows with the lights reflecting through them. Seagulls certainly remind me of Kailis fish and chips and Freo. Happy painting

  2. anna warren portfolio

    Ah! So that was the beginning! I do think these are all lovely, Julie. And I do like the early ones, both with the black outlines and the collage ones. Most of my small flower paintings are based on the same principle, but generally one very small segment of a random photo, that becomes unrecognisable when translated to paint. Collage can be a very useful trigger. And (I know I have said this before) I love the fact that your work is super-real but doesn’t look like a photograph. However, once you are working from your own photos, rather than the collages, the drawings have a personal emotion added – something more felt than seen.

  3. Jeannie Beauchamp

    How interesting to hear about the emotional and experimental threads that link all those works and their varieties in style. And always the impetus keeps going, like a river reflecting different times, images and experiences. Happy birthday Julie, and happy journeying!

  4. occasionalartist

    Happy Birthday, I hope you had a lovely dinner on Sunday night. Off on holidays too, how exciting, I expect to see the results of your holiday in some new pictures. Have fun and we will look forward to your return. Karen

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I’m a bit spoilt, Karen. I DID have a wonderful dinner, made by middle daughter, Alicia, on Sunday night (as you and I discussed then). Tonight we’re all going out to a Japanese restaurant. One birthday: two celebrations.
      Fingers crossed I’ll get good photographs from upcoming trip. If I do, I’ll share them.

  5. juliepodstolski Post author

    Thank you ALL for the birthday wishes. I’m having a very good day, thanks. I hope that J K Rowling and Harry Potter are having good July 31st’s as it is their birthdays too.

  6. Julie Silvester

    Happy Birthday Julie! Love the post – I so enjoy reading everything about your artistic journey through life. I too am off travelling early next week for 5 weeks . Out to Kalgoorlie and up through the Goldfields rd up to Uluru and exploring the red centre , then down to Lake Eyre plus going to the remote Birdsville races outback Queensland – all this in our 4wd bus! Hope your travels too bring you home safely with lots of new inspiration! Hope your having a wonderful day xxx


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