Monday 29 February 2016

A brighter painting approach this June with Calder Graphics in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Bright coloured leafy greens, woodland dappled with light and shade - hard to imagine really when we are in the final throws of Winter right now.

But brighter more colourful days will soon be here  - especially with a great Mixed Media Summer Woodland Workshop I'll be teaching created with 'Calder Graphics' in Byram Arcade, Huddersfield
 for you on Saturday 4 June.

Included in your exciting painting workshop (costing only £45pp) will be lots of art materials for you to try on the day. 

Included for you to use on the day will be:

  • Winsor & Newton artists quality Gouache paints, 
  • a selection of top quality Sennelier soft pastels and 
  • beautiful 100% cotton professional artists top quality watercolour paper Canson 'Moulin du Roy' not 300gsm (140lb)
  • ...and so much more!

About your workshop

You'll learn how to mix fresh coloured greens of distinction, be bold with your darks and learn all the layering techniques with gouache and soft pastel that will help you create a wonderful woodland scene that will positively dazzle!

With regular demonstrations, one to one and group tuition throughout the day you will learn lots to help you really develop as artists in a friendly class, having great fun with like minded people.
Suitable for improvers and artists with some painting experience as well as artists who want to loosen up their style and be more free and expressive.
Reference provided but you can bring your own photographs and sketches to work from if you wish.

Location Calder graphics Ltd, Westgate Road, 34 Byram Arcade,Huddersfield HD1 1ND

Cost Your full day workshop is £45 per person from 10am - 4pm (to include lots of art materials to try out on the day).

Please note: Class number restricted to 16 students only to ensure maximum learning potential for every student

How to book your Summer workshop 
To book your place on this unique Summer mixed media workshop please contact Calder Graphics Ltd on 01484 422991

or online by following this link

June seascape weekend workshops on the Wirral!

The well known and respected 'Sandpiper Studio' run by artist and director Julie Mclean at Ledsham, South Wirral have invited me recently to do a wonderful weekend workshop with the theme of 'Expressive seascapes' - quite fitting really since  this lovely studio is situated close to wildlife reserves on the Wirral Peninsula in spectacular scenery. 

Friday 17 June Day 1 - ‘rocks and waves’ using watercolour, gouache, pastel and acrylic inks
(10am to 4pm)

The emphasis on this workshop is crashing waves, dramatic cliffs and large dramatic rock formations to create a dramatic seascape painting full of energy and vigour with a bold approach to your subject.

Saturday 18 June Day 2 - ‘beach textures’ using watercolour, gouache, soft pastel and acrylic inks (10am to 4pm)

The focus on this workshop will be textures, reflections, colour and atmospheric light full of expression and life on a different textured paper to day one so you see a dramatic contrast to your seascape themed subject.

Your exciting seascape weekend workshops
Each workshop over the exciting painting weekend provide you with a great and unique opportunity to learn how to combine water media with soft pastel to create rich, ‘free flowing’ and impressionistic paintings full of colour, atmosphere and light by both drawing and painting at the same time!
Using big brush techniques and a bold approach, this exciting workshop will teach you how to control large washes of colour in multiple layers of sumptuous colour whilst at the same time enjoying creative freedom with all the marks you create.
With regular demonstrations, one to one and group tuition throughout each day  you will learn lots of different contemporary art techniques to help you really develop as artists.
Both workshops are suitable for improvers and artists with some painting experience as well as artists who want to loosen up their style and be more free and expressive. 

How to book
Each workshop is £75 inclusive of lunch. You may book them both together or as separate days.
Telephone Julie 07788 412 480 or Email to book.
Point to note: there are only 5 places remaining for Friday and only 3 for the Saturday workshop (as of 29 February 2016) and with enquiries coming in regularly it is strongly advised you book quickly to secure your place!

Further information

For further information about your weekend of superb mixed media painting opportunities visit

The Sandpiper Studio,
Foxes Farm,
Badgers Rake Lane,
South Wirral CH66 8PF

Tel 07788 412 480

Straight to the point...with Nitram charcoal!

Great news! 'The Artist' magazine have published a great article to help you with your drawing...and all with Nitram Charcoal!

The article as you can see is described as 'The finer points of art...'and this may seem like a bit of a contradiction since charcoal are big lumpy things are they not more suited to expressive drawings and sketching? 

Not so! Throw that idea out of the window...along with your old lumpy charcoal! Nitram charcoal (made in Canada) have created lots of different thicknesses and grades of charcoal from soft to hard that all manor of creative possibilities are achievable with their consistently fine grade charcoal.

Nitram sharpening bloc
Better still, for precision based directions with your art, Nitram have created a wonderful new tool to help sharpen your charcoal sticks and other drawing tools as well (all brands) with their 'Nitam Sharpening bloc'. 

Take  a closer look at this superb lightweight sharpening tool (see opposite). It's like a small bat really and has very robust 'Emery' type paper attached to both sides of the sharpening block (or paddle) which wash easily under the tap to remove any surface clogging so you can use it again. 

These Emery type pads on the paddle are really easy to clean, very strong and long wearing. I use mine all the time (pretty much on a daily basis) and still, after about 18 months constant use are as good as the day I got it. 

Furthermore, because Nitram care about their customers so much they have added a spare set of these Emery type paper pads in the box when you buy your sharpening block - that's great!

Opposite and featured with the Nitram sharpening bloc are 3 different grades of Nitram charcoal.  Each started as a square ended stick. Using the block you can see how I've been able to sharpen them to a beautiful sharp point - perfect for detail and precision mark making when needed.

Nitram Baton
Now, lets take a look at another of their innovative products created for precision - the Nitram 'Baton'!  I give full description in the featured article in the April 2016 edition of 'The Artist' magazine lots of techniques you can create using this superb drawing tool.

However, in general terms, the Nitram Baton has been created so you can keep at distance from your drawing whilst at the same time having a really long and sharp point with your charcoal (sharpened with the Nitram Bloc). Now you can apply the required details needed to complete your painting whilst seeing the whole piece of work  as one. Fantastic idea as you don't get fixated in any one area with tiny bits of charcoal any more leading to an overworked drawing.

Fine art drawings and black and white paintings using Nitram Charcoal
Featured in April edition of 'The Artist' magazine are several drawings I have created whilst demonstrating on several of my art holidays in the UK for my students whilst teaching drawing and painting techniques. 

Here's one of them, created with my students at Rydal Hall near Ambleside in The Lake District.

With 42 acres of beautiful woodland, well tended gardens and idilic and dramatic mountain streams flowing through the natural gardens at Rydal Hall, so many creative possibilities are possible. No wonder it's such a popular venue with everyone who comes on my art holidays!

We are back in April, August again in October 2016 in the heart of Lakeland to explore the woods, grounds, lakes rivers and mountains...and of course the exciting creative possibilities with Nitram Charcoal!

To find out more about your Rydal Hall art holidays visit

For further information about Nitram Charcoal and products visit

A D'Ache to the art shop!

Painting mixed media techniques on watercolour paper gives you great flexibility when painting - especially if you choose a robust top quality support such as the Canson Moulin du roy unique papers to start with!

The three unique surfaces of Canson Moulin du Roy 100% cotton watercolour paper (Rough, not and cold pressed), inspire great confidence when working, whatever media I choose.

Teaching a regular class in Bardsey Village Hall near the lovely market town of Wetherby, West Yorkshire we are all discovering the merits of working on this superb paper on a regular basis for lots of exciting painting subjects!

Here's one of them - a mixed media painting of one of my favourite rivers in North Yorkshire, The River Nidd seen in stages painted on Canson Moulin du Roy 300gsm (140lb) Cold pressed 100% cotton paper.

Stage 1

Laying the foundations with Caran D'Ache Neocolor II with wet and dry painting techniques with the coloured pastels and large watercolour brushes.

Stage 2

Further layering with Caran D'Ache Neocolor II with wet and dry painting techniques with transparent and semi transparent watercolour glazes added with watercolour and gouache.

Final painting
Development of the darks and profile shapes and tonal areas to give the painting strength with some acrylic inks added. Using deeper mixes of watercolour and gouache (using less water) in more opaque layers the details began to build. 

Final creative expression and subtle shifts in tone were added using Unison Colour and Sennelier soft pastels  - particularly in the foliage of the trees, across the river (for the soft river vapour effects as the cool river water began to rise in the warmer morning sun) and for the deep shadows.

A true mixed media painting and a joy to create!


The beautiful and responsive paper surface of Moulin du Roy smooth Cold Pressed paper allowed the perfect balance between fine detail and expressive loose washes with Caran D'Ache Neocolor II to create a really atmospheric mixed media painting of early morning light dancing and reflecting from the river as it meandered through the Dale. Fabulous!

Caran D'Ache Neocolor II
Using Caran D'Ache Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels to both draw and paint with at the same time, showed through a variety of layering techniques just how quickly a foundation for a painting can be created by painting and drawing at the same time. 

These wonderful painting and drawing water soluble pastels are really versatile and a joy to work with. You can blend them, layer them, add them over and under different media, use them as solid colours in your palette by breaking chunks of them and dropping them into so much more!

Caran D'Ache Neocolor II are available from all leading art suppliers in a variety of different box sets from 10 colours to the full range of 84 available colours. Neocolor II can also be bought as single sticks as required.

Making waves in Bridlington!

An exciting weekend art event 'Artwaves' awaits in Bridlington, Yorkshire East Coast soon at 'The Spa' on Saturday 14 May and Sunday 15 May 2016!

It's great to have been invited to take part to demonstrate and exhibit my work over the entire weekend in the main hall and run an exciting mixed media seascape art workshop on Sunday 14 May too in the lovely bright, airy, modern well equipped and cosy 'Harbour Room' within The Spa itself.

Your expressive mixed media 'artwaves' seascape workshop  - The Harbour Room' The spa, Bridlington, Sunday 15 May 2016 (10am - 4.30pm)
With superb views over Bridlington harbour from The Harbour Room and with plenty of room to spread out to 'do our creative thing', this full day workshop (costing only £37 only for your full day workshop to include your art tuition), this really is a great opportunity for artists with some experience or for artists who want to loosen up their style, to learn lots of different creative art techniques with me...all in one exciting and rewarding day on the East Coast!

Painting a superb, expressive mixed media seascape using watercolour, gouache and pastel (reference provided if required), you will have lots of fun with like minded people learning loose expressive techniques with big brush work and will take home a painting that is sure to impress.

'Morning light - Bempon cliffs, East Yorkshire Coast'
Pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes 'Touch' 350gsm pastel paper 25.5 inches x 20 inches (65 x 50cm)

'Heading out'
Mixed media (watercolour, gouache and pastel) on Canson Moulin du Roy 'not' 300gsm (140lb) 100% rag content watercolour paper 15 x 21 inches (38 x 53cm)

Ebb and flow
Mixed media (watercolour, gouache and pastel) on Canson Moulin du Roy 'not' 300gsm (140lb) 100% rag content watercolour paper 15 x 21 inches (38 x 53cm)

'The sea is coming in'
Mixed media (watercolour, gouache and pastel) on Canson Moulin du Roy 'rough' 300gsm (140lb) 100% rag content watercolour paper 22 x 30 inches (56 x 76cm)

How to book
For further information and to book your place on this unique mixed media painting workshop on Sunday 14 May please visit

or contact the ArtWaves Festival Team on 01262 678258 

or email:

For further information about the full art event please visit

'Artwaves' Art Festival
Saturday 14 May - Sunday 15 May 2016
The Spa Bridlington, 
South Marine Drive, 
East Riding of Yorkshire YO15 3JH

Sunday 28 February 2016

A link to ink!

Great to see 'The Artist' magazine showing my work again - this time with a focus on the versatility of ink!

Within the article I describe my mixed media methods using ink to create a great painted foundation on which to build a painting, especially with black and white work, drawing and so on, as well as showing just how great different types of inks are for studio and outdoor painting and sketching too!

Out from the archives came a very detailed drawing I did with pen and ink many moons ago as a student at Leeds college of Art and design featured in the article as a 'simple black and white line drawing'  of 'Time Ball Buildings in Leeds' owned by Dyson Jewellers - a beautiful Victorian building in the centre of city and yes, every detail, every line was painted outdoors and on the spot!

Other featured paintings in the article include landscape drawings and paintings from iconic views in the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales. 

The April edition of 'The Artist' featuring this article is out now and available to buy from leading newsagents. 

Alternatively you can always order online by visiting,the-artist_41.htm

A perfect space for art in Harrogate!

Featured painting
Dancing light on the River Nidd 
Unison colour soft pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes 'Touch' 350gsm pastel paper
20 x 20 inches (51 x 51cm)

A brand new and wonderful community art exhibition 'Artspace' in Harrogate from 28 April to 1 May at St Wilfrid's Church, Duchy Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and I'm delighted to be part of it.

Four of my most recently completed paintings (created along the banks of one of my favourite Yorkshire rivers - The River Nidd) will be on show at this 3 day exhibition in this lovely part of Harrogate very soon - and all for a good community cause too!

Exhibiting alongside several other talented artists in Yorkshire, this affordable and exciting art exhibition (nothing showing will be more that £500), the exhibition looks like it will be a stunner!

Proceeds from the exhibition will support St.Wilfrid's development project with all the commissions from sales and funds raised going back into the local community and as such I'm delighted to support the show - a real first this Spring for St.Wilfrid's Church (a beautiful historical church in Harrogate with plenty of parking) with this their premier fine art exhibition.

Here's another of the paintings I'll be showing in the 'Artspace' exhibition created using mixed media and pastel giving a great impression of the glorious Summer light and reflections along what I think is one of the best rivers in Yorkshire...and all at an affordable price!

Featured painting
A passage of light - The River Nidd
Unison colour soft pastel on Canson Mi-Tientes 'Touch' 350gsm pastel paper
22 x 18 inches (56 x 46cm)

For further information and details about the exhibition, tickets for the preview evening and other details please visit or email Catherine Wright at

'Artspace' Exhibition
28 April - 1 May
St.Wilfrid's Church
Duchy Road