June 2023

Wednesday 14th 7-9pm – Zentangle Art

Using a pencil, pen, ruler and paper which is 3.5″ square (9cm x 9cm), form a series of repetitive patterns to create original abstract images. Use lines, dots, circles, curls, swirls and squiggles and watch as organic shapes morph into something new.

If you’d rather work in a bigger size and use more colours then that’s absolutely fine, bring more than the basics to draw with. Relax and concentrate your mind.

Try and incorporate the colour Viva Magenta into your picture too.

Google the word ‘Zentangle’ to see lots of images, or click on these links for more info… www.zentangle.com


Saturday 24th June 10am-3pm – Fabulous Flowers

Flowers are always a popular subject to paint, so let’s have a whole session to get creative with fabulous, fecund florals and brilliant, beautiful blooms.

Wild flowers or garden, tropical or potted, a whole garden or a botanical painting of just one flower, it’s your choice. Use any medium but why not go as bright as you can? Use colourful inks, Inktense pencils and blocks, or pure, intense watercolours. Work large, fast and loose to create images with impact, like Georgia O’Keefe. Or paint more traditional flower paintings like Edouard Manet or Claude Monet.

This promises to be a very colourful, creative session!

The Coronation of King Charles III Competition – May 2023 – Saturday

It was a quiet day with only 16 members at the session, but there were 14 great paintings entered into the competition.

All the pictures looked very colourful on the presentation table, with Teddy Charles III keeping an eye on proceedings.

We all voted for our favourite picture and there was one clear winner. There was a three-way tie for the runner-up position so we voted again and had a two-way tie. A third round of voting saw a final split of votes with a runner-up painting decided. It was like voting at the Eurovision Song Contest all over again!

In third position was Mary, with her accomplished acrylic painting of the troops and horses of the Household Cavalry.

Susan was runner-up with her watercolour of the coronation ceremony inside Westminster Abbey, with many details and sublime colours.

In first place was Steve, with his amazing oil pastel portrait of Charles III. Well done, it was a worthy winner!

Steve couldn’t be there on the day so Tracy is holding his winning picture. Please note that the crown was borrowed especially from the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London for the day’s presentations ;o)

Some members painted to the coronation theme but did not enter their pictures, or they painted their own subjects.

The next session is on Wednesday 14th June from 7-9pm and please remember our visit to Rochester Cathedral will be on Saturday 26th August 2023, 10am-3pm.

Finished illuminated letters

Our illuminated letters session at the end of April led to several artists completing their letters at home or painting new ones. Some letters had gold or silver paint added, so the paintings have been tilted slightly to photograph to show where this paint catches the light, hence the letters being ‘illuminated’.

Thank you Brenda, Denise, Mary, Chris W, Tracy and Steve for completing your paintings, they all look fabulous, well done!

In alphabetical order…

Competition start – May 2023 – Wednesday

It was quiet evening with only 11 members attending, but we made up for it by chatting about Charles III’s Coronation the previous Saturday and all the pop and circumstance. The Coronation is the subject of the annual competition so many reference pictures were used.

If you look at the following photo closely you will see King Charles looking at us from the kitchen. He stayed watching us intently until Nigel the vicar took him away!

Most members made a start on their Coronation paintings for the competition, so they are works in progress and will be continued at home or at the next session. It was good to use gold and silver paint to add highlights to the paintings.

Some members painted their own subjects in a variety of media.

The next session will be on Saturday 27th May from 10am to 3pm.

All paintings for the competition to be in by 2.15pm, then we will all vote for our favourite painting.

It’s not compulsory to enter, so if you want to come along to paint your own subject then that’s absolutely fine :o)

May 2023

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the slightly warmer weather, though there’s still rather a lot of rain around.

If you didn’t pay your subs all in one go at the beginning of the year, please look out for an email from Steve about paying the next amount due at the beginning of May. Thank you :o)

Wednesday 10th    7-9pm   –  Start painting for the competition

Our annual competition is a friendly affair and is NOT compulsory.  If you don’t want to enter a painting that’s fine, please just use the suggested idea as inspiration for a drawing or painting.

Get your gold paint out again because the theme is…The Coronation of King Charles III

The coronation is on Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey from 11am to 1pm and will be televised and photographed extensively, so you will have plenty of visual inspiration for your drawings and paintings. It’s the first coronation in Britain in seventy years so it will be the first that most members will see.

There will be so many options for you to paint, so decide if you want to paint a person or people, a building, animals, state regalia etc.

  • People – King Charles III, Queen Camilla, the royal family, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the pages, any guests, soldiers marching or mounted.
  • Buildings – Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the flypast over the Palace.
  • Views – the route of The Mall, under Admiralty Arch, along Whitehall.
  • The Crown Jewels – St.Edward’s Crown, the Imperial State Crown, Queen Mary’s Crown, The Sovereign’s Orb, Sceptre with Crown, Sceptre with Dove, the eagle-shaped Ampulla and the Coronation Spoon, Swords, Armills, Spurs, the Sovereign’s ring.
  • Coronation items – The 700 year old Coronation Chair, also called St.Edward’s Chair, set with the Stone of Destiny. The Chairs of Estate, Throne Chairs or the Anointing Screen, all newly embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework.
  • Coaches – the old Gold State Coach and the modern Diamond Jubilee State Coach.
  • Animals– Windsor Grey horses pulling the coaches, the Household Cavalry, the lion and unicorn on the royal arms and standard.
  • Prince of Wales – If the coronation doesn’t interest you perhaps think of Charles’ life before becoming King. Paint Highgrove House with the wildflower meadows and formal gardens, the clematis ‘Prince Charles’, any eco project he’s been involved in, The Prince’s Trust etc.

There’s no right or wrong way to paint this subject…just your way.

Saturday 27th   10am-3pm   –   Competition continued

Continue with your Coronation picture, or paint another. All pictures to be in by 2.15pm then we all cast one vote for our favourite painting. There will be small cash prizes for the winner and runner-up.

A maximum of three drawings/paintings per member.  If you paint a picture but can’t attend today please arrange with someone to take and collect your artwork.

If you feel uncomfortable entering a competition that’s fine, you don’t have to. Paint the Coronation theme but leave your painting on your table so it won’t be on the separate tables with the submitted pictures.

Good luck everyone!

Illuminated Letters – April 2023 – Saturday

What an interesting session we had last Saturday, with members painting illuminated letters.

Some letters were painted in a traditional way and others in a more modern style, but all were drawn skilfully and painted with great care. Some of the letters had gold paint added, which caught the light and gave a sense of luxury. Simple designs still took a while to paint with small details, and we ended the session with great admiration for the creators of beautiful illuminated letters in mediæval manuscripts.

Some members couldn’t make the session but will be painting their illuminated letters at home. When completed please send the photos of your paintings to Tracy, for inclusion in another blog post.

Here are the letters in alphabetical order…

Some members finished paintings on the previous subject of miniatures, or painted their own subjects.

Welcome to new member Lesley, who paints but also makes stained glass panels. She is going to make a stained glass panel for Christmas and showed her sketchbook of notes and images of angels. Lesley also created a detailed plan for the colours and cutting of the glass. It will be very interesting to see the finished image in stained glass.

Well done everyone, it was a thoroughly enjoyable session!

The next session is on Wednesday 10th May from 7-9pm.

Look out for the next monthly newsletter on 1st May which will give details of our annual competition.

Miniatures – April 2023 – Wednesday

A dreadful day of high winds, rain and hail but thankfully it had cleared by the time our session started at 7pm. It was the first Wednesday session that started in daylight after the clocks went forward, so it was great that thirteen members attended.

The suggested idea was ‘miniatures’, which proved a challenge as many members usually work on paper at least a quarter imperial size or larger. The official size of a miniature on the website of The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Gravers and Sculptors is 6″ x 4.5″ and that includes the frame!

Most artists worked on postcard-sized pieces of paper but two members painted to the smaller Artist Trading Card (ATC) size of 3.5″ x 2.5″.

Well done to everyone who had a go at miniatures because it does take patience and brush skill to paint at this smaller size.

Some members used the next Saturday’s idea of ‘illuminated letters’ for their pictures. Choosing an initial and creating patterns around it. Used to great effect was shiny, metallic, watercolour paint to add interest, especially the magenta colour paint fitting with the Pantone Colour of the Year, Viva Magenta.

Other members did their own thing, which is always encouraged as we love seeing your enjoyment of painting.

The next session is on Saturday 22nd April with the hall booked from 10am to 3pm.

April 2023

Here are the two ideas for the sessions this month. As always, if you don’t fancy either idea, then feel free to bring along what you want to paint, including finishing any drawings and paintings from previous months. We’ll be having an Open Day again this year, on Saturday November 25th, so get organised early and complete a picture or two.

Also, if you come on Wednesday only but want to paint Saturday’s idea, or can only come on Saturday but want to paint Wednesday’s suggestion, then that’s absolutely fine too!

Wednesday 12th April – 7-9pm – Miniatures

An evening painting miniatures, in honour of our former member, the late Shirley Porter, who painted exquisite miniatures for many years. Shirley had many of her paintings exhibited at The Mall Gallery in London, as she took part in the exhibitions organised by The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers.

The maximum size for the miniatures is 6″ x 4.5″ and that actually includes the frame. Paint or draw something approximately the size of a postcard, or even smaller if you wish. Any style any medium.


Click on the link to the home page then under ‘creating a miniature’ there is a lot of information about ‘how to paint miniatures’ and videos under ‘masterpieces magnified’.

Saturday 22nd April – 10am-3pm – Illuminated Letters

No, not shining a torch on letters of the alphabet! Illuminated letters are historically the first letters on a page or paragraph in manuscripts. Always enlarged and painted in colour, with gold applied in areas, of people, animals, plants and/or mythical creatures.

Choose the first letter of your name, a child or grandchild, or a friend. Illustrate that letter with hobbies or pets, or perhaps choose five things starting with that same letter. You could continue writing a sentence or poem to practice your calligraphy skills.

Goggle ‘illuminated letters’ for thousands of images of historical letters, but there are also many examples of modern styles of illuminated letters, with beautiful swirling patterns in bright colours and gold.

Remember all that gold paint you bought for last year’s competition on Tutankhamen? Now is your chance to use it again. Don’t use all of it though as the competition next month will probably require some too ;o)

Don’t forget to add the colour of the year, Viva Magenta, to your paintings too. Use any medium to create your painting.

Finished workshop paintings from Dot and Tracy

Dot continued her workshop painting at home by strengthening the colours, now giving the painting a greater depth of field. The painting is now a colourful mix of pinks, blues and greens. Well done, it’s beautifully painted.

Tracy also deepened the colours on the workshop painting and added some pink and purple.

She tried the painting again but was very impatient and removed the clingfilm too early so has lost the interesting shapes.

The third picture was done with Brusho pigment powders which were sprinkled over wet paper and the colours allowed to mixed together randomly. The seed heads were masked and were left white intentionally for a more dramatic effect.

Watercolour workshop with Sue Bradley – March 2023 – Saturday

Artist and tutor Sue Bradley ran an interesting and very productive watercolour workshop with 22 members. Sue has visited us several times and we always appreciate her enthusiasm and patience with us.

The subject was seed heads, which we drew in pencil then covered in masking fluid. Once dry we added several colours to the whole sheet of paper such as cobalt and ultramarine blues, sap green and burnt sienna, then covered it with clingfilm, either flattish or scrunched up. When the paint underneath the clingfilm was dry we peeled it off to find patterns, which some emphasised to represent undergrowth and leaves. The masking fluid was removed and we painted the seed heads in browns, blues, yellows and purples. Some members then used white gouache and a sponge to paint the highlights on the seed heads.

Whilst everything was drying middway through the morning Sue gave us a demonstration of Brusho pigment powders. Only a few of us have Brusho so it was a great opportunity to see the powders in action.

At the end of the session we put all the paintings along the ledge to display them and it was fascinating to see that although everyone had started with the same reference picture we all ended up with totally different paintings in many colours. Thank you, Sue, for a great painting day!


If anyone finishes their painting at home please take a photo of it and send it to Tracy for inclusion in a later blog post.

Peta sat quietly all day and produced a very skilled drawing and an accomplished painting of a harbour. Fabulous work as usual, well done :o)

Our next session will be at the hall on Wednesday 12th April from 7-9pm.