Thursday, 30 June 2011

Meet Jean Haines and Ann Blockley at the SWA Exhibition in London

The stars of our  two fastest selling DVDs Jean Haines and Ann Blockley, both members of the Society of Women Artists,  will be demonstrating at this years SWA 150th exhibition at London's  Mall Galleries.

Ann is appearing on July 5 and Jean will be there on July 7. Both will be demonstrating from about 11 a.m. to 3.30 as well as signing copies of their latest books.

Full details on the SWA website: SWA

Jean also tells me you can see her work now at first hand in Hampshire's Lyndhurst Gallery

New One Man Exhibition And Book From Peter Wileman

Peter, who features in two of our DVDs,  has a new one man exhibition underway at the moment at the Bohemia Gallery in York. It runs to July 9.
Peter also has a new book out in August  which I co-wrote with him called Painting Light in Oils and published by Anova Books (Batsford|)

You can pre order it now at a discount price on Amazon: Painting Light in Oils (Amazon)

Here are some pictures from Peter's new exhibition.

And here's Peter in action on his latest DVD Inspirational Oil Landscapes

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

When In Rome...or Venice Come to That

Norfolk artist  Brian Ryder AROI has been teaching people to paint for quite a few years as well as making DVDs with us and being a sucessful exhibiting artist.. His courses, run both in the UK and abroad by West Norfolk Arts   are always in demand.

 If you have never been on  a painting holiday and wondered what went on,  Brian has contributed the  following diary from his most recent foray to Venice with a bunch of eager painters. The words and pictures are from Brian himself.

Daubing in Dorsoduro  by Brian Ryder
The weeks forecast was not too good, as twelve eager and non too eager  attendees,    having  heard of my reputation on tuition, waited at Gatwick for our flight and a week  of painting in Venice.
At least I knew quite a few of the group, but two ladies from Singapore threw me somewhat. One called Florence spoke fair English but the other with an unpronouncable name did not. I decided to refer to her as" Rome".  Arrived late afternoon to sunshine and except for one rainy day,  there it stayed all week. The Italians said  "the weather  forecast, it will be good, itza no problemo". The first day day after our arrival we stopped at the Giardini area for the morning to get their eye in and so I could assess the level of their work. Off to Ca Rezzonica and St Barnaba for the afternoon for a demo, cappuchinos and perspective tuition. All great so far.

Day 2. I was up early drawing from the cafe opposite the hotel before going for breakfast. Today we are off to Sant Angelo for the morning tuition and then to Santo Stephano after lunch. Most of the group working in pen and wash which is my preferred medium, if I have not the time to paint in oils. We now started with colour, having become more  acclimatised to the surroundings and by mid afternoon I led my group past another art group onto The Accademia Bridge overlooking "the view" of the Grand Canal. "Ok find a space along the bridge and you have twenty minutes to draw "the view" time for detail....just  go  for  it! I have done this before with students and the results are interesting to see what is actually  achievable, no time for detail ... once the "you must be joking" reaction is forgotten.

I promised to do the same later after they had returned to the Hotel as I wanted an hour or two drawing /painting on my own before the evening meal. After a drawing of the  Gondola repair yard I went back to the Accademia for my "twenty minutes". After ten minutes drawing a man nudged me... "Youre Brian Ryder arent You" I tried to pass myself off  as  Hazel Soan ...but that didnt work. " Iv'e got your DVDs". He then proceeded to talk about what he had been doing in Venice and his art career. I stopped the clock.... "I am just an amateur he said but I know or have been with many lesser known artists like  Peter Wileman,  Ken Howard, Trevor Chamberlain  David  Curtis etc, etc". I explained what I was doing with my group and he eventually wandered off enabling me to finish my drawing before meeting up for dinner.

Day 3. Up early again drawing well before 7am. Off to the Gondola repair yard for the morning tuition and a demo of the old mill on the Giudecca. After lunch went along the Zattere stopping for a drawing and painting finishing at The Dogana "Custom House" before the journey back to base.

Day 4. My Half day for tuition. We started on the Lido for morning session giving the group time for shopping or painting on their own before meeting up in the evening at San Marco. I took the opportunity to return to The Dogana to do my view from" Harrys bar to Doges Palace", a 300 metre strech of the San Marco waterfront. It was warm and sunny so stopping off for a coffee having met some of the group I had a quick g and t before metting two more of the group who dragged me off for another g and t before meeting at the restaurant for our evening meal. One of our most sedate ladies , I think it may have been the  drinks earlier, much to the astonishment of the group, threw her dry bread roll over her shoulder into the hundreds walking down the narrow street behind her. This was returned some 10 minutes later..."Is this yours?. A choppy waterbus journey back late in the on the change ?

Day 5. Today the rain came. Went to Pescheria "Fish Market". Being a Sunday we could get undercover as there were no stalls erected. I decided, after initial tuition to do a quick pen and wash with non waterproof ink to try to get some effect onto the sketch. A passerby  commented  how  "nice" one of the groups work was, looked at me with a "never mind" look as I was just proceeding to hold my work out in the rain to get some effect!  We adjourned for coffee and crit in the rear of a cafe before finishing the morning and a pizza in the nearest cafe. On to San Marco for afternoon....still raining so group split up  and I "sketched" with ideas  for an  oil or two back home of the large crowd still  waiting to get into San Marco Basilica.

Day 6. Last full painting day and off to Camo Nuovo and S. Miracoli in the morning, a favourite spot of mine for last round of tuition, and to Santi Giovanni e Paolo after lunch before wandering back through Venice to San Marco and Waterbus. I am always surprised how much work people actually do as I believe it should not all be too serious and  time out is a must in Venice. Observation, not always with painting , to pull in the atmoshere of the place is essential if you want to work on the drawings and paintings with an oil or two  back at  home. Memories of a good time and getting the feel and atmosphere of the location as well as photographic  back ups is essential.

Day 7. The water taxi to the airport was not till mid afternoon so many of us, not a tuition day, either went shopping or back into Venice for last minute drawings and  photos.  I  ended up at Giardini for photos of the residential area....with washing... and walked  all the way back to San Marco taking photos I wanted, perhaps using these on some oils in the future. Then its home arriving before midnight.

Another great trip. I managed to get up early every morning to draw something as I dont have much time otherwise. Its probably nearing ten visits I have now had to  Venice.  I  never tire of the place, but the beauty is that although many of the locations, if not all, have been painted many times by far better artists than I will ever be, the magic is still  there.  If  you ever want to paint at one place in your life.....Venice it has to be. Don’t worry it’s been done will be done many times again....but you have been and painted it !
Post note. Unlike previous trips abroad with me all the group got home safely.....without injuries !.... and thanks to everyone in the group in making it a week to remember.

Brian Ryder

A very entertainting piece from Brian - thanks Brian -  who I can vouch for as a brilliant teacher. Find out more about Brian on his excellent web site:
Here's Brian out and about in our DVD Watercolour Sketchbook

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ann Blockley On Front Cover of The Artist Magazine

Ann, who has her new DVD with us and her new book out this month as well as a one woman exhibition is on the front Cover of the new edition of The Artist Magazine - out now. Inside is a hugely informative article on her experimental approach to flower painting.

Ann has just come back from the Patchings Art Festival where she was a huge hit demonstrating in the big marquee.

The magazine article  features some pictures from her book which are also  to be featured in her forthcoming major one woman show. The exhibition features a large number of paintings, including many from Ann's new book and dvd, 'Experimental Flowers in Watercolour' alongside landscapes and woodland subjects. Some of the paintings have been created with  intricate layers of mixed media and others are loose watercolours using Ann’s unique and unusual  painting methods.

The exhibition is to be held in a superb 16th century tithe barn gallery. The fantastic venue has award winning gardens and tea rooms which will be open all week to celebrate the exhibition of flower paintings and create a special day out.  The gallery is in the centre of a glorious part of the Cotswolds with many gardens, antique shops and scenic walks. 

Her new dvd from us, also called ’Experimental Flowers in Watercolour’, will be shown throughout the exhibition. Ann will be at the exhibition all week and will be demonstrating some of her painting ideas at about 2pm on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd. This will either take place upstairs in the Tithe Barn or in the garden. Please contact her for further details.

The exhibition is free but access to the garden will be subject to an entrance fee. Visit and further information.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Meet Ann Blockley At This Year's Patchings Art Festival

If you have not been before the Patchings Art Festival, which open today is well worth a visit and oubly so this year as Ann Blockley who features in our latest release Experimental Flowers in Watercolour is demonstrating on two days. Ann will have copies of her new DVD for sale which can be autographed if you wish.

You can come and watch  Ann create amazing flower  paintings on Saturday and Sunday (11th and 12th June) . Full details on the Patchings web site. Patchings is just a few miles outside of Nottingham  with good motorway access.

When They're Gone They're Gone

Readers of our blog may remember I reported the sad death of Graham Lowe recently. Graham designed and made the Firth Painting Frame that holds your watercolour paper firmly without the use of tape or clips.

We have decided not to look for somone else to carry on making them as they were very much Graham's project so when stocks are gone they are gone. In fact we have just nine quarter imperial frames left.

The Firth Painting Frame is a similar design to the one used by the late Edward Wesson and is the  actual frame used by Dr Robin Macdonald on his DVD - Confidence In Watercolour. It is made  of two hinged sheets of wood (MDF is used to keep the weight down) that hold the paper securely and gives an attractive white deckle- edged border to your paintings. The frame fastens shut with velcro tabs. Saves all that time sticking paper down with tape. Hold paper securely  in a  breeze. Hand made in Essex.  Light weight - weights only 1lb 7 oz (0.66kg). Designed to hold a quarter imperial sheet of watercolour  paper. Price  of £23.90 includes p&p. Regretabbly these frames can only be supplied to customers in the UK due to the exhorbitant cost of shipping overseas. That costs more than the frames do!