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Julia Ogden's Biography

Julia Ogden - Red Blossom

When my course drew to a close I decided I was not ready for the real world and applied for an MA. In 2000 I started an MA in sequential Illustration at Brighton University. The course appealed to me for many reasons; I was well suited to the sequential focus of it, my previous work being dominated by a series format, I also felt excited about developing my images further and with London a short train ride away I was hoping for commercial possibilities.

When I completed my MA I began pursuing these possibilities. I feel lucky to have lived in Brighton at this time in my career as there are lots of galleries, cafes and bars providing excellent opportunities to exhibit paintings.

I started to become successful as a fine artist rather than an illustrator, which initially came as a surprise for me after all my studying, however I have never felt that art needed to be categorised so strictly. The more paintings I did, the more confident I became with my own ideas and image-making.

Four years on I have had many successful solo exhibitions and sell paintings consistently well. I have sold out at recent art fairs and am very pleased with the response.

I feel excited about my new work and I am looking forward to developing my paintings further in the future.

There is not a time I can remember when I didn’t sketch. I was happy to do this throughout my childhood, which thankfully was encouraged by my parents. This continued when I began my degree; when interviewed at Edinburgh College of Art a great emphasis was placed on drawing by my tutor, which made me feel sure I wanted to study there.

I enjoyed at that time sketching people, but also landscapes, this was developed even further on my MA, when I based my work on Graham Greene’s “Brighton Rock” giving me a chance to document all my surroundings.

When I began exhibiting, my paintings were Brighton influenced, generally being seascapes, but at the same time I was interested in colour and composition. As time went on my subject matter became more varied and my focus less about the subject matter and more about atmospheres and feelings.

I love to paint butterflies and flowers as there is something very satisfying about capturing ephemeral things. My aims are to produce pieces that evoke positive themes, whether it is a simple landscape that reminds the viewer of a place close to their heart or a bright canvas to escape grey days.

My chosen medium is acrylic, as I find it is best suited to my way of working, which is to paint layers and layers of colour. I blend different colours into the background of my paintings to evoke sections of light. I feel this creates a glow in the painting, and makes the work more interesting. When I have painted the basics on canvas, I detail using oil Pastel. I love this way of working for many reasons; separating shapes and colours reminds me of my screen painting days at college and also gives me a chance to draw delicate lines, which I feel lends sensitivity to the painting.

Acrylics also suit me on a practical level; they are fast drying which enables me to paint quickly. I would say I am quite a prolific artist and work at a fast pace, so my paintings remain fresh.

I usually work in sets. Which I suppose is the influence of my MA in Sequential Illustration. I also enjoy the look of triptychs as I feel they enable me to use bright colours together, but in a considered way.

I feel I have just begun to explore the possibilities of texture, various colour combinations and different themes. I hope to build on my technical skills in the future.

Painting and drawing has always made me feel happy and content, so I work pretty much everyday. I feel lucky that I am able to do this, so even when I have a lot of paintings to do I can always find extra energy.

A typical day would start at about 8.30 am. I don’t think I am really a morning or evening person as I work both. I generally spend the morning painting and listening to radio 2, this funnily enough gives some structure to my day! If I need art supplies I will head into town in the afternoon. I sketch a lot when I am out and about, but I also have a lot of reference books, which are useful for details. I generally continue painting until the evening, as it is better for me to have a full day working, enabling me to get more involved in the piece.

I work from home, which I really enjoy, as I can paint any time without having to travel anywhere. In that respect it is part of my lifestyle, which makes me very fortunate.

Julia Ogden's Artwork

Orange Blossom
by Julia Ogden
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Pink Blossom
by Julia Ogden
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Red Blossom
by Julia Ogden
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