Finished pictures for Japan and July

Four more pictures have been completed for the suggested July subjects, having being started last weekend.

Doreen drew Mount Fuji in pencil then used coloured pencils to bring her picture to life. She used cherry blossom arching over the top and a figure in the foreground to great effect as they give a convincing depth of field.

Cynthia used graphite pencils in grades HB, 4B and 8B for her geisha, creating intricate patterns on the geisha’s elaborate kimono.

Angela D used pencils for her portrait of Julius Caesar, who the month of June is named for. The stern gaze of Julius stares deeply into the viewer.

Dot also used pencils for her portrait of Julius Caesar, using darker shadows under the chin and highlights on his cheeks to give the portrait a sculptural feel.

July 2021 – Saturday at Chalk Church

The forecast for the day was thunderstorms and rain but they were over before we even got to the church. For the eight hardy members who came along to paint and two who joined us for a chat we didn’t have a single drop of rain for the whole 5 hours we were there! It was a good session and we all enjoyed painting together in the verdant church grounds.

The suggested subjects of Japan and Julius Caesar for July prompted a sketch of the senator himself, a handwritten haiku composed on the day, a Japanese garden and paintings inspired by geisha, Hokusai and an Olympic Games illustration. Other members drew, painted and used oil pastels for pictures based on the scenery around them. It was very pleasing to know that 4 members who couldn’t attend created pictures at home too.

July 2021 – Wednesday

Fourteen members attended the evening session, some coming along for the first time in many months so it was great to see everyone so happy, healthy and enjoying painting together.

Many members started paintings of this month’s themes of anything to do with Japan, Diana, Princess of Wales for the PAOTM or painted their own subjects. The paintings are WIPs (works in progress) so will be worked on further at home or at our next session at Chalk Church on Saturday 24th July.

Have a look through all the paintings and be inspired to paint your own picture.

George’s paintings

Here are George’s latest five oil paintings. The first picture is of the actress Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn in a recent tv adaptation. It was a work in progress at a previous session but now George has finished it. The other two people paintings are of a Patagonian gaucho and a girl sitting on grass.

George has also painted two landscapes, called ‘Evening’ and ‘After the Rain’. They’re all super paintings, George, keep up the good work!

July 2021

Hopefully the rules about meeting others indoors will be relaxed this month, but we just don’t know. We plan to meet on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday as per usual, but as things could change at any time please do look out for emails nearer the time of the session.

Wednesday 14th July – Chalk Parish Hall – 7-9pm

This will still be under the ‘rule of six’ with tables and chairs cleaned, no mixing between groups, masks worn and no access to the kitchen for tea or coffee. The fee for this session will be £2.

Saturday 24th July – Chalk Church – after 10am-3pm

Please arrive after 10am so that we don’t block the road with cars before the car park gate is open.

This is our usual summer session at Chalk Church but as we meet there every year you don’t have to paint the church, come along and paint anything you want to!

The suggested subjects are below or start a picture for our Open Day which will hopefully take place in November. We may have access to the barn and refreshment facilities but we won’t know until nearer the time. Don’t forget your folding chair and lunch.

If you don’t want to paint why not join us at lunchtime with your own picnic? Bring along a chair and come for a natter with your art friends. If it rains we will still meet as there is shelter near the barn. No fee but a donation to church funds will be appreciated.

Here are some ideas to paint this month…


  • Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana would have been 60 this month and there are many articles with photos of her in newspapers at the moment. Draw or paint Diana as a child or teenager before her marriage. Paint her on her wedding day, as a young mother, as a style icon in one of her many glamorous dresses or as an ambassador for one of her many charities. Any medium, any style, you have a whole month to create your picture.


  • Named posthumously for the Roman Senator and General Julius Caesar as it was the month of his birth, previously it was called Quintilis. There are lots of images available online as many statues of him survive in museums.


Due to open on 23rd July Tokyo will host what are called the 2020 Olympic Games, even though it’s now 2021. They may be quite different to watch with fewer people allowed to attend in stadiums but the Olympics are always great to view and be thrilled by the best athletes in the world. Draw or paint ideas connected with the Olympics and Japan…

  • any athlete in any sport.
  • any sport of the Olympic Games.
  • look on the the official website for inspiration…
  • Tokyo – famous sites or quiet places.
  • Japan – a country full of bustling cities and stunning mountains and countryside.
  • Torii – a traditional entrance gate into a Shinto shrine.
  • Haiku – print out or write your own haiku (3 lines of 5/7/5 syllables), illustrate it.
  • Japanese traditional artists – Hokusai, Hiroshige and Hiroshige II. Look at their prints and copy a picture or draw/paint/print in the style of one of them.
  • a famous Japanese actor/actress.
  • a member of the royal family.
  • Ikebana – flower arranging.
  • Kintsugi – repaired broken pottery, embracing the flawed or imperfect.
  • Zen garden – a miniature stylised landscape using rocks, raked gravel or sand, moss, pruned tress, plants and water features.
  • any animal or plants/flowers found in Japan.

These are many ideas to get you painting this month, try just one or a few of them. As always these are just ideas if you’re feeling a bit stumped at the moment but you’re welcome to paint anything you want to and send photos of your pictures to Tracy for inclusion on the blog.

PAOTM – Brian May – June 2021

Brian May CBE proved a popular choice this month with some people completing two portraits of him. Brian has many strings to his bow (or guitar) as a musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, astrophysicist and university administrator, but it’s as a member of the rock band Queen that we all know him best. His lustrous, long locks proved a challenge, but everyone rose to that challenge.

Well done everyone who drew or painted Brian, your portraits of him are excellent, you are getting better and better!

Ron drew Brian with coloured pencils and included tiny details. Then he painted a second portrait in acrylics using a bright, bold background to effectively bring Brian’s figure to the front of the picture. Ron felt he had to include Brian’s guitar as it’s what he is best know for.

Kay sketched Brian playing his guitar and Freddie Mercury singing. The figures at the bottom of the page show how effective a few lines are as we immediately recognise who they are.

Steve drew Brian in oil pastels, using several different colours of pastel on his mop of hair to give volume. The guitar has been very well drawn and the subtle shadows behind it give a 3D effect to Brian’s portrait.

Juliet used pencils for her portrait of Brian, staring mesmerisingly at the viewer. Here is another use of using minimal pencil lines in Brian’s hair, but it is so effective as we know what is being portrayed.

Dot tackled two portraits of Brian, the first being a drawing in pencils of him as a young man. Drawn using the grid method Dot has captured Brian’s intense gaze and his hair is super. The second portrait is of an older Brian, this time with grey hair and a more lined face, very well painted.

Susan started her portrait of Brian using watercolour in a very loose way. One dry she used an ink pen over the top to create Brian’s features. Isn’t that a very effective way of producing a portrait?

Tracy decided to draw a portrait of Brian in one hour using one HB pencil. It was faster than she would normally draw but it was a personal challenge. As she started the picture she turned on the radio and Bohemian Rhapsody started playing…the perfect song to draw to!

June 2021 Saturday

19 members came along and enjoyed painting together for a few hours last Saturday. It was super to see everyone in such good spirits and chatting in their bubbles, catching up with news.

The suggested subjects were the Thames Estuary and the goddess Juno. The Thames was painted in London and along the north Kent coast, with big skies and wide waters. There were sailing and abandoned boats and barges, flowers, birds, fish and the Dartford Bridge. Members also painted their own choice of subject which is always welcome, to enjoy seeing how creative you are. (Any paintings of Brian May for the PAOTM will be posted at the end of the month.)

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”.