Capturing Spring with Watercolour

9 Mar - 30 Mar


£20 per session (£15 Concessions)

Class details

Capturing Spring with Watercolour is a short four week online course led by Gail Astbury. We look at the ways in which artists capture the spirit of this short season.


2 – 4pm

9 – 30 March

Fee: £20 per session (£15 Concessions)

This course is fully booked. If you want to join the waiting list for our next course starting in April, please email info@openealing.com

In the dreary days of early spring as the blossoms and bulbs begin to appear, nature blesses us with a spirit of optimism and renewal. Since the mid 1800’s Japanese art has had a major influence on western artists
in terms of style, poetry and symbolism.

Course Content

Week 1: Blossoms close up
The spectacular yet fleeting arrival of cherry blossoms (Sakura) are characterised in Japanese art in woodblock print, silk fabrics and on vases. Their depictions show an unconventional approach to composition and a careful arrangement of both lush and delicate colours.
Reference artists – Utagawa Hiroshige – Vincent Van Gogh – Damien Hirst

Week 2: Trees in bloom
We examine ways in which artists have looked at the arrival of spring from longer perspectives to incorporate the reflective nature of the season and the passing of time
Reference artists – Hokusai – Monet – Pissarro

Week 3: Fleeting moments
Birds or insects can lend the weightless element of flight to an image. In this lesson we look at the Japaneses art of ukiyo-e, which translates to ‘images of the floating world. Birds have long been a part of the art story and can add an element of suspense or intrigue. The Japanese have a method for drawing animals which we look at, as well as how contemporary artists are depicting birds in their work.
Reference artists – Yokoyama Taikan – Sim Sa-Jeong – Yayoi Kusama – Lorna Beiber – Fred Tomaselli

Week 4: The Arrival of Spring
We take a look in more detail at the series of iPad paintings that David Hockney is showing at the RA. In particular we look for any Japanese influences and also how he chooses points of interest and subject matter on a daily basis.
Reference artist – David Hockney


You will need to supply your own materials for this course. We recommend:

  • Watercolour paints (solid pans)
  • Watercolour pencils
  • Brushes (various shapes round/flat/mop and sizes ranging from 4, 6, 8,10 and 12)
  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour sketchbook
  • 1 x Palette
  • 2 x Water Jars
  • 1 x Apron

Book now for Capturing Spring with Watercolour. The class is limited to 12 artists.

About the Tutor

Gail Astbury has a B.A. (Hons) Fine Art Painting from Wimbledon UAL and an MA in Contemporary Arts Practice from Goldsmiths University and Tate Galleries. Her work has featured in many prominent locations such as London’s Trafalgar Square, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Academy and she has works held in the collection of the MMSU Museum of Modern Art in Croatia.

Gail makes work in her studios in London and La Péruse, southwest France. Her work starts with her immediate surroundings, taking photos, sketching and amassing a picture library to use as reference points. Then she plays with the imagery, using scale, colour, edits and zoom to select and highlight interesting focal points. She uses a range of techniques to create paintings that are celebratory. They tell visual tales and proclaim societal hopes and fears.  http://www.gailastbury.com 

Course Details


Dates: 9 Mar - 30 Mar
Tuesday 2:00 pm
Fees: £20 per session (£15 Concessions)

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