Moving away from realism in garden painting

This course is designed to help you make flower and garden images that are modern, colourful, playful and inventive.

Length of the course10 weeks

Starts 16th of Jan 2019

Costs £136  – includes tea and coffee provided by Newcastle Arts Centre cafe.

Level – suited to those who have some experience of watercolour painting . Not recommended for total beginners

Time – Wednesday from 10:15 till 12:15

Dates to attend:

16th, 23rd, 30th of January

6th, 13th, 27th of February

half term on 20th of February – no class that week.

6th, 13th, 20th, 27th of March

Why does Jason think this course would be of value to you as a watercolour painter ?

This course aims to build up your confidence to explore more adventurous interpretations of flower and garden painting, by promoting an environment of adventure, where experimentation with compositions and colour are encouraged and undertaken by all, so that traditional realism becomes the exception rather than the rule. So, if you are willing to risk moving your art away from realism for ten weeks of fun experimentation, then this is the course for you.

Flower and garden paintings that are not photo realistic but transmit the joy of looking at flowers, can be a delight to look at and intrigue the viewers who stand before them. Some of the most adventurous and inspiring watercolour painting in the last few years has been produced in the field of flower painting, by artists such as Shirley Trevena, Paul Riley and Ann Blockley. Their use of collage to help think through abstracted compositions, playful paint effects, plus virtuoso brush work, have wowed watercolour painters all over the globe.

So many artists I talk to want to paint something new and exciting, emulating their style. But many sometimes find it difficult to move away from realism on their own, as they lose confidence in the more abstract ideas and inevitably drift back into traditional realistic imagery when rendering the materials in front of them.

What will you do on the course ?

It is planned that over the ten weeks you will explore the following:

  • Become more aware of traditional compositions used in flower and garden painting
  • Consider how to re-think composing a flower / garden image by working with collage
  • Explore making the backdrops for your pictures by thinking like a set designer
  • Try working creatively with stencils, stickers and masking fluid to enhance the level of pattern in your art.
  • Developing your own motifs to personalise your art through the creation of your own stencil shapes
  • Dare to use a broader range of tones and strong colours
  • Make dramatic modern watercolour flower / garden paintings

The location
Newcastle Arts Centre offers you some of the best art studio facilities in the North East region. It also has on site an art shop, a craft shop, an art gallery, a framer and a Café to relax in and grab a coffee and bite to eat after class. The studios are situated on the 2nd floor with lift access provided for those who have mobility issues.  The building housing the studios is accessed though the courtyard entrance. The entrance is situated below the yellow building to the right of Newcastle Arts Centre’s frontage seen  in the photographs.

See panel on right for details of the venues location with Maps

What will you need to bring ?

Your watercolour painting kit including: drawing paper, drawing board, palette, water pots, paints, brushes, masking tape, kitchen roll and a pencil and pen.

Please bring some photographs of flowers and gardens, or false or real flowers to each of the classes.

Jason will advise you each week about the materials you will need for the following session. Anyone unable to attend a lesson should contact him by email and he will advise them on the materials needed for the following class.

Email contact

Recommended reading:

Ann Blockley – Experimental flowers with watercolour

Shirley Trevena – Taking risks with watercolour

Paul Riley – The magic of watercolour flowers

Costs £136

If you are unable to purchase the course online then please send a cheque for £136, made payable to: Painting with Skill LTDto:

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To avoid disappointment – book early.

Painting With Skill Limited, Company No. 5763767, a company registered in England and Wales. Registered address: Sikehead, Woodside Lane, Ryton, Tyne and Wear, NE40 3ND