Sunday, 17 April 2011

Alton Art Society Workshop 2011

Alton Art Society Workshop 2011

Field Mouse Appearing in a First Wash with a cute beady eye.
Alton Art Society Demonstration

Yesterday I drove through amazing English countryside to the village of Four Marksin Hampshire UK  where I had been invited to hold a Watercolour Workshop by Alton Art Society. The country lanes were lined by glorious yellow fields of rapeseed against a clear blue sky and the hills in the distance were blanketed with clusters of primroses. By the time I arrived at my location I was very eager to move my brushes!

The room quickly filled with society members who had come for the day. It certainly was a full room with eighteen artists attending. The session had been fully booked for a while with a few extra places allowed to give  more members a chance to come.

 I started with an introduction and discussion on art events in my life.It is only when I say out loud what I am doing that it really hits me how  very busy I am in my art career! I opened the days demonstrations with exciting washes followed by various approaches to working in a loose style. Everyone followed my step by steps with their own interpretations of my style on their choice of subject. After the small break for lunch I gave individual attention in the room and also demonstrated further to the group and to individuals on how to start their  paintings.

There were some wonderful questions,highlights of the day and brilliant enthusaism which is really fantastic to feel as the demonstrating artist. I am sat here realizing I painted zebra, a dog, various flowers, berries, a landscape, a hare,a robin and many more fascinating subjects. 

The day took me back to my time teaching at the Dubai International Art Centre.There the rooms would be full of artists of all levels wanting to paint a very varied range of subjects. Because the classes were popular and so large in number I would often demonstrate at the beginning of every session but then sit side by side with each individual giving them personal ideas on how to work with what they had chosen. It was such a fantastic way to teach and to this day I am still in touch with students and art colleagues from my time in Dubai. This way of teaching highlights the advantage of my technique being adaptable enough to jump from any subject all in one day at any moment in time duirng these lessons. I have leapt from painting faces to camels to landscapes and architecture all in one morning or afternoon session. This was great training for my workshops today which are alway full of surprises because even I don't know exactly what is going to happen as I never know just what I am going to be asked to paint when it comes to the free choice of subject.Its exciting and has helped me grwo  in my own creative process.  I have been told many times,you need to be brave to teach as I do but I love it!.

Which in turn reminds me of the workshop I once held on skies.I was walking around a very quiet room where all the students were supposed to be creating gorgeous clear blue skies. Aiming at soft clouds, hints of a breeze moving the clouds to bring life to the results. I am often asked questions during these moments and many were about the colours being used.Which blues were best,how much water to use. Out of the blue one arm raised and I took the question. " Please Jean how do you paint a giraffe?" I was a little taken abaack as that hadn't been a part of the demonstration! The lady in question wanted to paint a giraffe and place it in her "sky". There was a small titter of giggles that started quietly from everyone else in the room. Shoulders were shaking from those desperately trying hard not to laugh out loud. But eventually the giggles turned into gales of laughter including from myself and the lady who had asked the question. Days like this are heaven .No one else in the room had thought of painting anything but clear blue skies but I co operated and demo'd a small giraffe.

At the end of the day we lined up all the gorgeosu sky paintings. By now some had cottages in the foreground or flowers.They looked wonderful and we were all very happy. Standing out among the more peaceful landscapes was a single painting of a  blue sky with a giraffe almost flying through it. It made all of us smile at the time but interestingly that is the painting I remember. Because it was unique. It did stand out from the crowd and it created a reaction of happy smiles and even discussions on seeing giraffes.

I adore teaching and these very special memories. I have teaching qualifications and structure my workshops so that everyone coming has a glorious day leaving on a high and eager to paint. I love sharing my passion for watercolour and meeting new  friends who stay in touch for years to come. I am a very lucky lady as I love life and life  is good to me.

Painted Escapes
26/27/28th April

My first watercolour retreats and two day seminars are at Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire UK. These are  very exclusive art breaks with  focus on personmal attention to each person attending.Time I don't always have as in yesterdays session. You will leave feeling all fired up and eager to paint after a colour experience of a lifetime.

There are a few places available for April 2011 and bookings are now being taken for Autumn.

For full information on the Two Day Seminars at Four Seasons Hotel please contact me directly on

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