Be True To Nature : a four week watercolour course

Gail Astbury

14 Jun - 5 Jul

OPEN Ealing Arts Centre W5 2TD

Course: £70 (Pay as you go: £20 per week)

Class details

In this four week course we aim to be True To Nature and take ideas from the exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. It runs until 29 August. This unique exhibition explores the ways in which artists from the 18th and 19th century attempted to capture fleeting moments in nature. Tutor Gail Astbury has added some 20th and the 21st century artists to this group.


10am – 12.30pm

14 June – 5 July

Block Booking Fee: £70

Weekly Pay As You Go Fee: £20

Limited to 12 artists

Throughout the four week course you will have the opportunity to

  • practice different watercolour methods and techniques
  • develop your own subjects and ideas

We hope you will be inspired to take your painting outdoors throughout the summer holidays.

The Course

14 June – Water Effects 1

Exploring atmospheric water reflections, rain and ripples. We shall take a lead from artists such as Singer Sargent, David Hockney and Peter Doig.

John Singer Sargent; Stream and Rocks 1901

21 June – Water Effects 2

Exploring methods and techniques to depict the sea. This week the artists who are providing the inspiration include Carl Frederik Sorensen, JWM Turner
Winslow Homer, Jennifer Bartlett and Maggi Hambling.

Carl Frederik Sorensen; Rough Sea 1849; The Fitzwilliam Museum

28 June – Foliage

There are several artists to whom we can look for inspiration in this field. Gail has chosen Simon Denis, John Constable, Ekaterina Smirnova, Georgia O’Keefe and Toba Khedoori.

Simon Denis ‘Trees in front of a Valley’

5 July –

Creating a ‘True to Nature’ composition from our own photo resources and memories.

Gail Astbiry; Archacon Bay


Each week we provide support notes for you to keep. We send them to you before the class so you can bring the right equipment. Don’t worry we also give you a hard copy for the session. We also share any links of video clips that Gail shows in class so you can refer to them again.

You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the studio, but you’ll get more from it if you have some experience in painting with watercolours. We limit our class sizes to twelve. This means that you not only benefit from personal tuition but also enjoy peer support. So, why not join us for this short course and focus on watercolours methods and techniques to be true to nature?


We supply the following equipment and materials

  • Watercolour Paper for the preliminary class and colour mixing exercises
  • Palette
  • Water Jars
  • Kitchen Paper
  • Cotton Buds
  • Sponges


You will need to bring:

  • Watercolour paints
  • Watercolour pencils
  • Brushes (various shapes round/flat/mop and sizes ranging from 4, 6, 8,10 and 12)
  • Watercolour paper for the final class painting
  • Watercolour sketchbook
  • Your Apron


Course Details

OPEN Ealing Arts Centre W5 2TD

Dates: 14 Jun - 5 Jul
Tuesday 10:00 am
Fees: Course: £70 (Pay as you go: £20 per week)

About the tutor

Gail Astbury

Gail Astbury has a B.A. (Hons) Fine Art Painting from Wimbledon UAL and has recently gained an MA in Contemporary Arts Practice from Goldsmiths University and Tate Galleries 2014. 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 series of paintings and watercolours 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 draw reference from. She then plays with the imagery, using scale, colour, edits and zoom to select and highlight interesting focal points. She uses a range of techniques from renaissance lighting and brushwork to the colour and decorative compositions of 20th century modernism through to contemporary mass media image making and production. The resulting paintings are celebratory, they tell visual tales and proclaim societal hopes and fears. 

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