Friday, 1 July 2016

It's official, I'm Mistress of the Arts! A great Day out.

In September 2012 I wrote a post declaring the start of my journey back through college - this time around it was Belfast School of Art, part of Ulster University - to study for a Masters of Fine Art in Multidisciplinary Design.
It's been a much bigger journey than I could have imagined, and during the tough times, I consoled myself with the knowledge that it was my choice and that I could leave it at any time if I wanted. 
It was unusually long for a Masters programme - full time it was a two year course, but after a few weeks I changed to part time, making it a four year commitment. Yikes! 
Me, in the hat, with Debbie Fraser, my tutor 

During that time I read many many books (on business, creative collaboration, psychology, brain development, education, drawing and painting), wrote many presentations and reflective documents (which fill over 20 files), travelled abroad to attend painting workshops in New York, France, Florence and created many public events that would never have happened, outside of the programme. I met my heroes! 

The course was tough. Out of the six students who graduated an amazing FIVE of us were awarded a Distinction. The Northern work ethic is alive and well!! 

Peter Cooper is an amazing Animator and Creature Designer
Lisa McCausland designed and produced a wonderful new product called Dogease, a post surgical suit to help animal recovery
Judith Gordon invented a new way for children to learn about money using her app
Paul McNally is a Graphic Designer who did a massive Kickstarter book project for the Masters, and is now, I'm proud to say, designing my book. 

Slightly wonky shot from the Graduation Programme 

I wrote my thesis on the myths and misconceptions surrounding drawing and painting, to help students get through the difficult times, and am making it available to buy. I made a short film with Paul Marshall called 'Let's Draw!' to encourage everyone to learn to draw, which you can see at this link:    


As well as this I have written a 200 page book called The Weekly Atelier, which is full of tried and tested exercises on drawing and painting, fully illustrated with mine and my students artworks, which is at the design and editing stage at the moment (= agony!) and will be published in the Autumn. 

Draft cover of the book!

On Wednesday this week, we had the formal graduation ceremony and while it was lashing sheets of rain outside, inside the atmosphere was buzzing. 

Peter Cooper, me and Lisa McCausland before the ceremony

Peter Cooper MFAMDD, Julie Douglas MFAMDD, Lisa McCausland MFAMDD 

Celebrating at lunch afterwards with my son Rory 

I'd like to thank my son for putting up with my mountains of books and papers all over the table/piano/living room/kitchen. I'd also like to thank my drawing and painting students for contributing to my research through interviews and discussions, and their moral support. I'd like to thank Debbie Fraser and Christopher Murphy for their inspiring lectures and encouragement, and my fellow students for being there over the past four years. (PHEW!) 

And now I'm back to my drawing board, workshops as usual!

Next up, oil workshop, portrait workshop, location drawing and childrens drawing classes. For info email