June 2021 Wednesday

Thirteen members met last Wednesday, our first evening session for several months. It was a very still, balmy evening and as a Covid-secure venue the hall should have air moving around so it was rather nice when the cool aircon kicked in efficiently!

Some members finished paintings from a while ago and others started working on this month’s subjects of the Thames Estuary (boats, flora, fauna etc), Brian May and the goddess Juno.

Most pictures started on the night are WIPs, i.e. works in progress, which will continue to be worked on at home or at our next session on 19th June (please note the change from the fourth Saturday to the third Saturday of June as the hall is being used for something else). All photos were taken at arm’s length with a selfie stick so Tracy didn’t get too near the other artists. Enjoy looking through the photos and hopefully they will inspire you to start your own picture.

June 2021

Our two sessions this month are due to go ahead, both under the ‘rule of six’ again, i.e. tables of 6, no mixing between groups, cleaning the tables and chairs and no access to the kitchen.

Hopefully you will have read recent emails from Steve saying that a small £2 fee will be due on a Wednesday evening and that the hall has already been booked by the vicar on our usual 4th Saturday session so we are meeting on the 3rd Saturday instead, 19th June.

Dates of meetings in June are therefore…

Wednesday 9th – 7-9pm – £2

Saturday 19th – 10am-3pm – £6

Here are some ideas for you to draw and paint at either or both sessions…


  • Brian May – the guitarist of Queen with his mop of curly hair is this month’s challenge. Paint him from his younger days or as he is now. Add other members of Queen too if you’d rather paint a group of figures.


  • Named for the Roman goddess Juno, goddess of marriage, daughter of Saturn and wife of the supreme deity Jupiter. In Greek mythology she was known as Hera, queen of all the gods.

There are many images of her online as statues and paintings have survived to modern times and are displayed in museums.


To tie in with this month’s Estuary Festival held in Gravesend and along the Thames, let’s draw or paint anything to do with the river and its environs.

  • the Dartford Bridge was opened 30 years ago. Love it for its elegant lines or loathe it for the traffic jams on it, paint its shape from a distance or close up.
  • ships and boats that currently used the Thames.
  • boats that now rust and decay along the riverbanks.
  • plants – colt’s-foot, marsh marigold, dog’s mercury, cuckoo flower, gorse, sea aster, yellow-horned poppy.
  • animals– harbour and grey seals, short-snouted seahorses, oysters, dolphins.
  • fish – did you know the Thames is home to 125 types of fish? Including Dover sole, salmon, flounder, corkwing wrasse, five-bearded rockling, goby, sea scorpions, sea bass, twaite shad, smelt.
  • birds – lapwing, avocet, black-tailed godwits, geese, knot, oystercatcher, shoveler, dunlin, redshank.
  • Deadman’s Island– actually in the Medway estuary not the Thames estuary, this island has been on the BBC news as coffin-buried bodies from prison hulks are now exposed due to rising water levels.

You may of course paint anything you want to. The subject ideas are there to help you if you need inspiration.

PAOTM – May 2021 – Prince Philip

The subject to draw and paint for the Portrait Artist of the Month challenge was Prince Philip, who very nearly made his 100th birthday in June. With such a long life documented with millions of photographs all the members who took part chose images from different parts of his life.

Peter painted Prince Philip in acrylics in his full military regalia. There’s very good detail of all the medals, they must have been difficult to paint.

Angela D took 1.5 hours to draw her Prince Philip, his straight-on gaze to the viewer being very intense. Her second picture is from the recent Natural History Museum subject with the frogs created in pastels on pastel paper. It took about an hour and Angela did the highlights in white acrylic.

Steve drew Prince Philip in oil pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. The details of Prince Philips’s face and his skin tones are spot on.

Juliet drew Prince Philip in pencils in quite a loose way. The lines she has drawn very accurately form his face with smudged pencil detailing the shading from light to dark.

Tracy took about 2 hours painting Prince Philip in watercolours. He was in his mid 90s in the photo reference used and the paint on his forehead looks splodgy but it is the liver age spots that were on his face.

This painting is from the day Prince Philip officially retired in August 2017 at the age of 96. It rained heavily and as Prince Philip walked away from Buckingham Palace’s forecourt he doffed his bowler hat. Tracy has called it “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu”.

George’s paintings

George has been very busy recently, completing 4 paintings. The first is a still life skilfully painted with the items looking 3D and the highlights on the glasses and metal objects perfectly painted.

Do not scroll down to the other 3 paintings if you are arachnophobic!

Inspired by the myth of mortal weaver Arachne who was turned into a spider by the goddess Athena, George has painted not just a spider but also her eggs. He was concerned that he hadn’t captured the translucent luminosity of the eggs, but he’s done a grand job.

May Saturday 2021

Sixteen members attended our first session in over 7 months and it was so good to see each other in person. Even though we sat in three separate bubbles of tables we all felt safe and enjoyed ourselves immensely, catching up with each other’s news whilst painting.

The suggested subjects were the month of May itself, named for the Greek goddess Maia, or anything to do with the Natural History Museum which is celebrating its 140th year.

(The Portrait Artist of the Month paintings of Prince Philip will be posted separately at the end of May.)

There were paintings of Maia, a maypole from May Day celebrations, flowers and many different types of animals, those alive today and long dead dinosaurs. There were also several landscapes and portraits. The mediums used were watercolour, acrylic, oil, pencils, pens and inks.
What a fantastic first session of the year, well done everyone who came along!

May 2021

Fingers crossed that we can meet again at the hall on the fourth Saturday of May, won’t that be good? Here are a few ideas of what to paint at home until then.


HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021.

Originally pencilled in to paint in June when he was due to celebrate his 100th birthday, let’s draw and paint him this month whilst all the photos of his long life in the newspapers and on tv are fresh in our minds. Born in Corfu, rescued by the Royal to Italy then educated in France, England and Scotland, Prince Philip was part of our lives for so long. With millions of photos to chose from pick any time of his life from schoolboy to sailor in the Royal Navy, young husband, father to four children and consort to the Queen, attending thousands of events together and on his own.


Opened 140 years ago the museum must have been visited by everyone at least once in their life, on a school trip or with their parents. The Hintze Hall is where Dippy the Dinosaur was exhibited for years and is now being shown in regional museums. Dippy’s replacement is Hope the blue whale.

Draw or paint any exhibit, animal, vegetable or mineral or anything to do with the natural world. This gives you a vast choice of subjects.

Look at the Natural History Museum’s website for more information and inspiration… www.nhm.ac.uk


May is named for the Greek goddess Maia and the Roman goddess Bona Dea whose festival was celebrated in May. Both goddesses were associated with fertility and growth. Images of them are easily available online or paint growing life, which ties in with painting from the natural world. 

PAOTM – April 2021

The two suggested people to draw and paint this month were the legendary motorsports commentator Murray Walker and American civil rights activist and poet Maya Angelou.

Steve drew Murray Walker in charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. What a great idea to include Murray’s headphones as this is how most people remember him.

Dot drew Maya Angelou in pencil and then added some inspirational words spoken by Maya herself. The words are so neatly drawn, well done. Dot also completed a picture of opening tree blossom, for the April subject ‘to open’.

Juliet drew both Murray and Maya in her usual impressive pencil sketch style. Their faces are instantly recognisable and their eyes the focus of attention as the pencil is used darker there.

Susan used her favourite medium, watercolours, for her portrait of Maya, beautifully capturing her glowing skin against the darker background.

Tracy drew Maya in HB pencil then added a few words and the rainbow in coloured pencils.

Paintings from April 2021

Some members were busy this month producing colourful selections of paintings on the themes of Greece and April’s own definition ‘to open’. Well done to all of you, it’s good to know how much you enjoyed painting at home by joining in with the suggested subjects. (PAOTM pictures of Murray Walker and Maya Angelou will be posted in a few days)

Jane has used oils to paint St.George’s Church in Lindos, Rhodes. Such good depth of field as she has used aerial perspective by painting the distant mountains in a cool purple and the foreground in brighter, stronger colours. It can’t come soon enough that we can travel again to distant lands!

Juliet has painted open blossom on trees in an orchard using watercolours and watercolour pencils. We could just step into the painting and walk amongst the fragrant trees.

Steve has painted open umbrellas in a fun and vibrant design using pen and watercolours. The painting works well with all the colours and shapes seemingly swirling around.

Susan painted this opening flower in watercolours and gouache on Indian watercolour paper which soaks in the paint and gives an interesting texture to the painting. A very delicate painting.

Dot painted an iris in watercolours on A4 watercolour paper and the daffodils and tulips in Brusho on smaller pieces of paper. Such well observed paintings of colourful flowers.

Tracy kept busy in April, loving painting pictures of Greece as it reminded her of holidays in the past. All paintings on Saunders Waterford 300gsm watercolour paper 5″ x 7″.

The first two paintings are of the Church of the Panagia (Our Lady) in Lindos, Rhodes. One in watercolours and one in gouache, giving different effects. Which one do you prefer?

The flowerpots with olive trees in are on a staircase in a shaded inner courtyard in the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes in Rhodes Old Town. The Old Town is well worth visiting as narrow, mediaeval lanes twist and turn and it’s all very photogenic.

Tracy thought painting the whole of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens was rather too complicated so painted a corner of it, trying a looser style than usual, taking inspiration from the Korean artist Sunga Park. Do look at her amazing art work as it’s both very loose and detailed at the same time… parksunga.com

Two final painting, this times on the theme of opening. Some magnolia flowers in watercolours and daffodils in an old coffee pot in gouache in a naive style.

George’s paintings

George has been busy and finished four more oil paintings. The first two were started long ago but he’s pleased to have had the time to complete them.

Here is ‘A Sharpe Lookout’ and ‘Forest Pool’

Here are two paintings from images taken by the Hubble telescope. George says that they are an experiment and the nearest he will ever get to an abstract!

Angela M’s Easter Cross

Twelve years ago Angela M was in her last year of Pastoral Counselling Training at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire which she attended once a month. She had a free afternoon and was just going to go for a walk to reflect on the morning’s session when she noticed, behind a shrub, a naturally formed cross that had ivy growing up it.

Angela knew she had to draw the cross and completed it in graphite in 3 hours. It was her first foray into the art world and she has enjoyed drawing and painting ever since. The picture is put up in her home every year at the beginning of Lent, through Easter until Pentecost.

It’s a very apt piece of artwork to put on the blog today as it is Easter Sunday. Thank you, Angela, for sharing your Easter Cross picture with us.