Painting and Drawing Workshops

Who comes to my workshops? Quite a different cross section of the public…..retired …..picking up a life long interest, now they have the time…..young parent…..keen to try something they enjoyed in school and have a day away from the every day trials of family life…….couple of friends…..just wanting a fun day out…….the intermediate artist…….looking for some answers to problems they come up against in their work or just wanting to try a new medium. Then there are the folk who are good with their hands generally…….and love to try new things …….people who have been given a workshop gift because they are very arty…….everyone who comes along brings so much to the mix and helps to make the workshop successful.

I’m shattered at the end of the day….but there’s a glow of satisfaction, a comfortable tiredness, borne from seeing the students happy with their finished piece of work and heading home with knowledge and skills they can use in the future. That’s the reason I love teaching.


Weekly Art Classes

I am teaching my last Friday art classes this week….we have the summer off!

 Last Friday my students were finding out how the colour of their board or paper can influence the finished work. As they had only three hours, the subjects were very simple……..working on both a blue and an orange ground at the same time. Once they placed the darks on the first sheet…they then placed the same darks on the next one. They continued in this manner, with the midtones and finally the lights. I feel many things were learned, not just how different the same colour paint looks on a warm surface from how it looks on the cool surface. I am always telling them about the decisions that have to be made before you paint a single stroke….the format, the design, what to leave out etc. By doing and seeing , they were amazed how different the final pieces were, purely down to the ground colour

I used a warm ground was for the tulip 

I used a cool ground for the cup and orange still life

I have a workshop coming up in the summer, all about Colour Mixing, limited palette, coloured grounds, go to my website for more details

Drawing and Painting the Model

Drawing from life is so important, training your eye to really look at your subject, it informs all aspects of an artist’s work, no matter what you paint, landscape, abstract etc. I love to push myself by having the Model only posing for a few minutes at a time. Each term I use a different medium….watercolour pencils, charcoal, inktense pencils and for longer poses, oil paints……the drawing might not always be what I want but I just lift up my pencil and have another go. The other artists bring along pastels , watercolours, acrylic paint and the humble graphite pencil!

The last untutored sessions take place today and tonight……but I have a tutored Two Day Life Drawing and Painting Workshop coming up in Jun24 and 25 in my home town of Kirkcudbright ...the first day will be spent getting the proportions right, using any medium , the second day will be spent producing a more finished piece which may involve some fabric and costume…. the emphasis will be on fun and relaxation.….the best work is invariably produced when we are not tense

So if you want to improve your drawing skills… have always wanted to try life drawing or you would just like two full days with a model…go to my website for more details


I LOVE rendering metal objects, particularly cutlery, I set myself the challenge of using as few brushstrokes as possible.

Always remember that the items will have the surrounding colours reflected everywhere! I am also reflected in the stainless steel Jug, very abstracted, but there none the less.

The zinc vase at the back of the piece, is completely  matt and doesn’t reflect like the shinier items.

I have workshop dates on my website…..for this summer, check them out and maybe sign up to learn how easy it is to paint shiny!

Peggies Jug

This piece is one of a collection of new work I am showing in the Whitehouse Gallery’s Spring exhibition, in Kirkcudbright.

I am enjoying working in acrylic, after many years exclusively using oil. I am choosing different coloured grounds or undercoat and enjoying the effect this has on the subsequent layers of paint.

The blue and white milk Jug was used by my late father in law , for the last five years since his wife’s death. He wrote to her every evening , in his diary , telling her how his day had went, any family news and how much he loved and missed her.Their family home is now cleared and up for sale, very sad but I am happy to be including this little Jug in this piece, bringing back fond memories.

Do You Know What It Is Yet?

I teach weekly classes in my studio, this week, for half of the students, it was self portrait week. No , I didn’t pinch the idea from the BBCs Sunday night art show….it was preplanned.

This first photo shows my demo….at the very beginning, showing me picking out the large shapes on my face . Everyone was worried about trying to paint themselves wearing glasses….I find that wearing them is a great advantage!

You have a ready made little frame , two actually! Within your spectacle’s frame, you are able to see the little blocks of colours and tones, they help to break up the mass of your face.

We used the Zorn Palette, there were oohs and aahs of amazement at the fantastic array of colours and tones we were able to mix, using only two tube colours (marked with X), plus Ivory Black and Titanium White

I have places available in Portrait One Day Workshop and my Two Day Life Drawing and Painting Workshop, more details and booking via my website