About Julie Simmons
Artist of the Year
2012, 2014 and 2015
Sunshine & Shadows
Born in western Sydney, Julie’s early interest in art was fostered by her mother. She was constantly drawing on anything and everything with charcoal, pencil and cheap poster paint. Her first painting to be exhibited was when she was twelve, a pastel landscape, in a local western suburbs shopping centre show.
On leaving school she worked in an art studio in Sydney where she was taught all the basics of good drawing and the application of fresh and free washes and the importance of tonal values. Julie worked in the studio for six years and in that time would produce work ranging from food to perfume to furniture. Julie continued to freelance for a number of years whilst raising her family. During this period she became enamoured with pottery and completed two diplomas at Penrith TAFE. She continued on this path for the next sixteen years, working from her studio at Castlereagh and building and firing a woodfired kiln for a number of years.
In 2004 Julie attended a week long watercolour workshop in Bathurst and was instantly inspired to start painting. She continues to visit the Bathurst workshops enjoying the friendship of many she has met over the years. Julie paints en plein air regularly, travelling around the Hawkesbury and into the inner city suburbs of Sydney to find inspiring subjects. It is this plein air painting which helps to develop her observational skills, reducing the subject to shape and tone. She uses various mediums, predominantly watercolour but also paints in oils, pastels, charcoal and acrylics. Julie has been the recipient of many awards, including the Waterbrook Prize in 2011.
A quote from the judge Peter Smeeth, “A beautiful transparent watercolour which has been painted with a confident bravura style” describes her approach to putting paint on paper. Her paintings can be viewed at Purple Noon Gallery, Freemans Reach – Cobbity Fine Art Gallery, Cobbity Art at the Bluegum, Balmain or at www.juliesimmonsfineart.com.