Julie Collins was born in the Isle of Man and studied Fine Art at the University of Reading. Her imagined landscapes are inspired by the New Forest in the South Coast where she now lives. Her contemplative paintings are particularly influenced by the pull of the sea, which has a very personal and familial resonance to the artist.
Julie’s mixed media paintings are ‘abstractions’ from real life, where Julie explores the relationship between recognisable forms and the open-ended process of creating. She describes this recent body of work as ‘happy narratives’ because they poetically transcribe the peace and homeliness she feels next to the coast.
Julie walks daily, enthusiastically absorbing her surroundings, observing shapes, colours, and atmosphere. Back in her studio, she builds up subtle layers of colour and texture with water-based paints and mixed media. Her paintings emerge gradually and organically but always through a lens of constant technical analysis.
After having written her most recent book ‘Colour Demystified’ (2021, Search Press), Julie has solidified her obsession with colour. It is a key driving force in her paintings. The subtlety and changeability of colour fascinates her, ‘I now know every rule and I know I can break them.’ Her paintings tend to convey specifically Atlantic colours. Subtle, misty, and muted, these colours are quintessentially English. ‘When I go out walking, I notice all those different greys and blues of the coast, picking them up like a sponge. My more vibrant hues come from bright, sunny days spent in my garden’. In this way both the wilderness of the sea and the domestic space of her garden are blended in her paintings, presenting interior and exterior, universal and personal, the familiar and the unknown.
Julie has exhibited her work widely across the country and in both 2016 and 2019 was awarded 1st prize Watercolour Award, Royal West of England Academy. Exhibitions and numerous other prizes include the Royal Watercolour Society and Discerning Eye, London. She is a council member of the Society of Women Artists and is a RWA Network Member. Julie has also written six art books, the most recent being ‘Colour, Demystified,’ which was published in 2021 by Search Press.