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Q&A with...Julie Watkins

Each quarter, we shine the spotlight on two or three of our talented Circa 64 Gallery Resident Artists. This Q&A features Cronulla-based emerging artist Julie Watkins.

We asked Julie six questions about her art practice, inspiration, lessons learned and the journey she took to get to where she is today. For some great insights into this very talented artist, read on...

Resident Artist Julie Watkins sitting amongst some of her original artworks
Julie Watkins

C64G: Can you take us back to the roots of your art journey? What sparked your passion for creating, and what inspired you to dive into the world of art? 

Julie: My art is a reflection of the visuals and screen shots of my mind, my travels and the coastal environment that I live in. I am excited by the beauty in architecture, landscapes and seascapes. I use the colour palette, shapes and patterns in my environment and propel them into my art.

I have always created, even as a child, and was always encouraged to use my “creative streak”. However, my forty-year teaching career of teaching infant children [Kinder to Year 3] and raising a family of three children kept me extremely busy until I retired. I knew when the time was right, I would delve into the world of art. So, thanks to the thousands of children that I have encountered and who have inspired me along the way, I can now appreciate and transfer their positive vibes, simplicity, naivety and sheer bold freedom into my art. They have indeed taught me much.


My work is defined by intuitive whimsical line marking, usually in white paint and at times textural layers of paint, ink and paper. I love to paint a story, experimenting with textural lines in collage and layers of paint and ink. My artwork is about the earth we live in, the beauty of memories forged and the world we wish to create. I believe in the power of art to stimulate a person’s environment and state of mind. I just love creating beautiful art, portraying a story for others to enjoy- a language indeed without the words.

C64G: An artist's style usually evolves over time. How would you describe your journey? Are there specific artists, genres, tools, medium or cultural influences that are currently shaping your creative identity? How have you evolved through your process? 

Julie: I follow an intuitive approach to art. My style has certainly evolved overtime and continues to change with the season. I find that in the warmer months when I swim daily, my work revolves intuitively around the colour palettes of the water [aqua, turquoise and sand [pinks, yellows, ochre]. The patterns and ripples of the shallows in the sand as I swim, intuitively evolve into the patterns of my artwork.

During the pandemic, I used this time to experiment and explore many styles, textures, mediums and collage. I love how ink can make its own magic and how layering tissue paper with ink creates a mesmerising effect of varying degrees of transparency.


My work has been highly influenced by my travels overseas. When I return home, I unlock all the memories forged and paint the coastal vistas and tiny inlets, the beautiful urns, narrow alleyways and ancient abodes.


As you can see, I just don’t stick to one style. As I go with what inspires me at that moment. To me, that’s authenticity.


My current work is usually richly patterned, textural and made up of layers of paint, ink and paper. I love to create linear textural patterns with varying degrees of transparency creating a style that gives you a glimpse and is a quiet reflection on the beauty of life and its basic simplicity. I hope my colour palette inspires a sense of calm, serenity and at the same time uplifting positivity.

C64G: Every artist encounter hurdles in their practice. Could you share a specific challenge you've faced and how you're tackling it? Any lessons learned from these artistic adventures?

Julie: The hurdle faced by all artists at the moment is the downturn in the economy. This has a flow on effect for artists as there is not much left in the family budget for wants, only needs. This in time will pass.


One hurdle is the time used to promote my art in social media and the ever-changing algorithms that inhibit exposure and also this time takes away from my creativity.


Another hurdle is finding the right shops and galleries with the perfect fit to exhibit my art.


Lastly the cost of materials including quality canvases and paints, and the professional framing, which all add up and make producing quality art quite expensive.

C64G: What exciting projects or opportunities are on your horizon? Any exhibitions or initiatives you're eager to dive into or collaborations that have enriched your artistic growth as we venture into 2024? How do you hope your work will resonate with the viewer?

Julie: I am always open and on the lookout for new opportunities to showcase my art. I am humbled when collectors reflect on how my work makes them feel and they take the time to photograph and show my work in-situ in their homes.


As relatively new to the art world scene, I’m learning more and gaining more confidence in different processes, methods, social media, pricing and selling my art. I have done a few commissions and hope to do more this year.

C64G: Building a sense of community and collaboration is essential. How important is this to you as an artist?

Julie: I have received so much encouragement and inclusion in the art community at exhibitions and galleries. In general, other artists are supportive and in my case are always keen to know my story. This is very important to me, as I, like most artists have seeds of doubt that creep in every now and then. Painting gives me sheer enjoyment and contentment. I hope my artworks carry this energy with them into their new forever homes.

C64G: If you could pass on some wisdom to emerging artists, what advice would you offer? Any insights you've gained along the way that you wished you knew when starting your artistic journey?

Julie: To emerging artists, I would encourage them to delve into their passion with gusto and free abandonment. Put on your favourite music, gather your favourite colours of paint and just explore and have fun. The canvas can always be painted over. You learn with every brushstroke, and you’ll be inspired by the infinite potential within and around you.


Find what inspires you and paint in an area of good natural light. Experiment with different styles, mediums and tools. It’s an essential part of the artistic process. Keep open to coincidences and subsequent surprises. Buy good quality canvas and paint. A good framer is handy to know. But most importantly, have fun!


Check out Julie's collection of contemporary abstract original paintings currently available for sale on the Circa 64 Gallery website.

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