March & April 2017


Wednesday 8th     7-9pm    –  Pocahontas

400 years ago, in March 1617, Pocahontas died in Gravesend and was buried at the old St.George’s Church.  She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan and during her short life she was known as Matoake, Pocahontas and Rebecca Rolfe. Paint a picture of her life in America, on a sea voyage, or in England. Use any medium or consider using several mediums, including calligraphy, to illustrate your picture.

Disney’s films, called Pocahontas and Pocahontas II are animated but do have colourful representations of her life. A live action film from 2005 called The New World is more about the struggle between the English and native Indians but the imagery is very evocative.

Saturday 25th   10am-3.30pm  –  Portraits

This subject was the second most popular of our objectives. It seems a difficult subject because we feel we must capture a person’s likeness totally accurately on a big scale on a sheet of paper or canvas.  If you want bring along a friend to sit for you, if only for an hour, then please do so, or sit for each other, otherwise you can work from photographs.

In an effort to simplify painting a portrait, Google ‘high key portraits’ and ‘low key portraits’ in photography. Try not to paint the person’s face really big, right in the middle of the picture, place their face to one side and use a smaller scale than you usually do.

High key’ portraits use a high amount of light, have a white or very light background and emphasise the eyes, nose and mouth.  You could use a white sheet of paper or canvas and paint only the sitter’s main facial features, without worrying about skin tones and shadows .

Low key’ portraits use a low amount of light, just on the face and sometimes hair. They have a black or a very dark background and the person’s skin tone and shadows are what captures the eye.

With watercolour paint a sheet of paper in a dark colour, but make sure it’s a colour that is non-staining so the paint can be lifted off, leaving the pale paper underneath. Once you’ve painted your paper use a small brush, dipped in plain water, to lift off the paint where the person’s face is highlighted at the forehead, cheeks, nose and anywhere else that is lit.

If you’re using oils or acrylics you could paint your canvas in a dark colour and then use lighter coloured paint for where the highlights are on the person’s face and hair.

The fee for today is £6.


Wednesday 12th    7-9pm   –   Animal Portraits

This is another popular objective. Use the techniques above for ‘high key’ and ‘low key’ portraits to  paint an animal’s likeness in any medium. It doesn’t have to be pet, you could paint a wild animal on a light background like snow, or a sun-lit animal against a dark background, highlighting only their main features.

Saturday 22nd   10am-3.30pm   –  Pastel Workshop with Joel Wareing

Joel returns to run another pastel workshop with us, again focussing on figures in an urban environment. You can see details of Joel’s previous workshop if you click on ‘November 2015’ on the right hand side of the blog, when we used soft pastels on mid coloured pastel paper. His website is at

Further details will be sent nearer the time but please book your place with Susan asap, by phone or email.

The fee for the workshop will be £16      (a little more than previous workshops, but this reflects the increased cost of hiring a tutor this year)