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Julia Rafferty

Fellowship:  January 2000 – January 2004 Attimore Barn

Artform: Painting

I was born in Welwyn Garden City and educated here until I completed my A Levels. I then moved to London to study at Goldsmiths’ College, where I gained a B.Hum. (Hons) in Painting, Printmaking and Art History in 1983. I then took a P.G.C.E in Art & Design Education at Leicester Polytechnic. After teaching in two London schools for 6 years, I decided to spend a year in New Zealand travelling, painting and researching the art of the New Zealand artist. I also gained a residency while I was there and was given the opportunity to have a solo exhibition. In 1997, I furthered my art education by taking an MA in Contemporary Art Practice at Kingston University. In 1997, I moved back to Welwyn Garden City and in January 2000, I was awarded a Fellowship with the Digswell Arts Trust. Here, I was provided with a studio at Attimore Hall Barn Studios where I painted and exhibited my work regularly through Open Studio events. In June 2003, my husband and I relocated to Norfolk where I have a studio in our home in Hunstanton. I also teach digital photography and Photoshop in Wells-next-the-Sea.

I love oil paint and enjoy exploring the different possibilities this medium has to offer. I sometimes use thin washes of paint at others; I apply thick impasto layers of paint. I mix various glaze mediums with the oils to make them glossy and add texture with ground marble dust. I also use different tools to apply the paint – seldom using a paintbrush. My favourite way of applying paint to the canvas is using squares of cloth – which gives a soft; feminine feel to the paint marks.

Another element of my work explores the overlap between painting and photography. I am seeking to use the camera to create ‘paintings with light’ and to show ‘movement’ and ‘blur’ through these images. Working in this way introduces an element of ‘time’ into my work. Painting is static, but life is constantly in a state of change; in flux. I want to show ephemeral, fleeting moments through painting. I have sought to do this by my use of thin layers of paint, placed on top of other layers. This technique produces a ‘history’ on the canvas; a record of the marks made by the artist; they show a passing of time.

Themes for my work tend to develop from different natural environments. I have spent many hours walking in woods and along beaches and have produced paintings that explore my experience of being in these special places. My recent work was developed from my observations of different pond habitats. The beauty of ponds is the way that light falling on the surface often creates a mirror reflection obscuring what lies beneath from one viewpoint; but change this viewpoint, look through the mirror, penetrate the surface and a whole secret, vibrant world is revealed.




– Beautifully Ordinary, The Place, Letchworth, January/February 2003

– Two Sides, Boxfield Gallery, Stevenage, November 2002

– Taster Exhibitions, The Place & The Stable Studios, September 2002

– Hertfordshire Open Studios, September 2002

– Margaret Harvey Gallery, St Albans, Christmas Open 2002

– October 2001, Raw Canvas, Aldwych Tube Station, London

– July 2001, Fresh Art, Business Design Centre, Islington, London

– The New Maynard Gallery, solo exhibition, June 2001, ‘Colour, light, paint, life’, Welwyn Garden City

– June 2000, In Gallery Mode – Business Design Centre, Islington, London

– Margaret Harvey Gallery, St Albans, Christmas Open 1999 & 2000

– Exhibit and sell through Perrins Court Gallery, Hampstead, London

– Summer 1999, set of 6 oils installed in Senior Dementia Trust Headquarters, Camden

– October 1997, MA Show, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University

– Easter 1994, Battersea Contemporary Art Fair

– Summer 1992, Smith’s Gallery, Covent Garden, Print show, The Elephant Press

– May 1991, Artist in Residence, Teschmakers Conference Centre, NZ & solo exhibition at completion of residency

– December 1989, The Cafallery, Southwark, Christmas Exhibition