Thursday, 2 June 2016

Watercolour Painting on Location (bliss) and birthday treats!

When the sun shines in Ireland, there is nowhere more beautiful. Luckily for us, last week my class and I decided that we would visit Mount Stewart, a large estate on the shores of the Ards Peninsula (one of my favourite places on earth), to do some watercolour painting. 

Students settled in on the lawns. 

Loction drawing and painting is good fun, though everyone was very tentative when they started today. I could tell this, because as soon as we arrived, 'someone' said they needed coffee... (a sure sign of great fear about what is to come). I did a head count, and only four were interested, so I did a demonstration painting with the promise of coffee immediately afterwards. This seemed to settle their nerves rightly enough.

There are, it is true, several factors which can make the idea of painting on location seem daunting. It feels different to not have a ceiling above us, and the lack of table is a challenge too. We stomped about while I discussed the various things to look for when choosing a subject, then stood to do my demonstration painting. I kept it simple, and produced a sketch in about 20 minutes. One of the best things about giving a demonstration is to show students what it is to be RELAXED. If we are tense, are drawing will look tense also.

Students getting ready...

The wisest amongst us chose a shady spot
The gardens are full of structure, provided by the main house as well as arbours, trimmed hedges and mature trees. we had plenty of choice.
Neill found a bench for some comfort, and Gavin was happy on the steps.

The first set of artwork, from the morning 
My demo sketches showing different possible approaches (unfinished)

I was about to add colour to this sketch when I was interrupted, for drinks!

Surprise treats!!!
Just as we were finishing up before lunch, Mark began rounding us up, shouting 'Party time!' To my absolute surprise, he and Sara had brought Prosecco and cake, to celebrate my birthday! Drinks on the lawn.. Perfect!
My afternoon watercolour, in progress 
Finished watercolour, straight to paint. Julie Douglas.  
Mark, leaving in STYLE in his fantastic  home made car!

This was just the lovliest day imaginable. Everyone enjoyed painting outside, and we look forward to doing it again soon.

Next up - oil painting workshop, portrait drawing, watercolour and coloured pencil workshops. For info email

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