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Julie Collins is an award winning artist who has written several successful colour guides and artists' problem-solving books. Julie also regularly writes for The Artist magazine and is an associate Member of the Society of Women Artists. 

We recently caught up with Julie to find out more about her new book, Colour Demystified!

How are you Julie?

After the initial adjustment to the restrictions of the lockdowns and difficulties we have all experienced I was able to make the most of my time. By this I mean that my life became quite simple, and I learnt to appreciate a different way of life and realised what is most important to me. Each day I walked around five miles, spent time in the garden, cooked a healthy meal and spent a lot more time in my studio. This was an invaluable opportunity to develop my painting and I began working with acrylics on canvas again after a long break from this medium.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was brought up on the Isle of Man, which is a small island in the middle of the Irish sea. I spent my formative years on the beach, sailing  and making as much art as I could. At 18 I began to follow my dream and went to Art School at Reading University, where I was lucky to be taught by many of our most successful British Artists. It took me a long time to believe in myself as an artist, but when I had my first son in 1996, I dedicated myself to painting and my family.


What inspired you to write your new book, Colour Demystified?

I had already written four books and countless articles about colour when the idea for Colour Demystified began to form. I had researched the subject for years before I spoke to anyone about it. I regularly visit major galleries and museums, such as the Royal Academy, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Pallant House Gallery and smaller London galleries where I began to realise that I was obsessed with colour. My tutors at Reading included Mali Morris RA, Sir Terry Frost and Anish Kapoor who all had a great interest in colour. I taught art on a freelance basis for many years and saw that there was a huge appetite amongst students for inspiring information about colour.


What are your favourite sections from the book?

I like it all, but the introduction is very important as it sets out the purpose of the book. The chapter about mineral pigments and luminescent watercolours is very exciting as it explains how to incorporate them with your normal watercolours and create new effects. The Christmas Cactus step-by-step was very enjoyable to paint, as was Daina’s Teapot.

Just like life, painting has its ups and downs, where I’m very happy with some paintings and at other times I have to work extremely hard until it comes good and sometimes, I must start again.


What are your favourite subjects to paint?

I love many subjects. I’m a keen gardener and love painting flowers and plants. I also enjoy figure drawing and painting which are often included in a landscape.


You’re also a member of the Society of Women Artists, could you tell us more about the organisation and your involvement.

The Society of Women Artists (SWA) is a British art society that has had a unique history dedicated to promoting and exhibiting art created by women. It was founded as the Society of Female Artists (SFA) in 1855 by Harriet Grote, offering women artists the opportunity to exhibit and sell their works, which at the time, was extremely difficult due to the limited opportunities open to them. The society changed their name in 1874 to that of the Society of Lady Artists (SLA) and again in 1912 to that of the Society of Women Artists. Since 1857, they have held annual exhibitions in London with the exception of the years: 1941 to 1946, due to the Second World War, and in 2020, where due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to replace the physical exhibition with an online exhibition. HRH Princess Michael of Kent has been their patron since 1980. Amongst the many notable artist members was Dame Laura Knight, who was elected as President of the SWA in 1932, retaining that office until she retired in 1968 to become a Patron and who in 1937, became the first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. Membership of the SWA is composed of a maximum of 150 members.

I was elected an Associate member of the Society in 2019 and Full member and Council member in 2021.


Are you currently working on anything at the moment?

In the studio I am creating a new body of work for various exhibitions in 2022 and my paintings will be delivered to Harrogate and Petworth, West Sussex for Autumn/Winter Exhibitions this year. One of my paintings has been shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, so all in all this has been a very good year. I’m just completing a watercolour “Problem Solver Series” which will be published in The Artist magazine each month during 2022.


You can find Julie on her social media pages:


Instagram: @juliecollinsart

Facebook: Julie Collins Artist

Julie's book, Colour Demystified, is available from Search Press, RRP £15.99

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