Master the art of watercolour with Gail Astbury

Join Gail Astbury and master the art of watercolour by exploring and drawing inspiration from famous watercolour artists. In this four week course we draw inspiration from Helen Frankenthaler. Her paintings and woodblock prints are on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery until April 2022.

Tuesdays 2 – 4.30pm

2 – 23 November

Venue: OPEN Ealing Unit 14 School Lane Dickens Yard Ealing W5 2TD

Course Fees: Full £90 ; Retired £75 ; Concession £60

Pay As You Go Rates: Full £25 ; Retired £20 ; Concession £17

Frankenthaler is finally getting the attention she deserves for her pioneering paintings that she made
over 6 decades pushing the practice of painting into new heights. Her bold, expansive and sublime use of colour provides us with the perfect excuse to paint

  • a little bigger
  • with watercolour paint in tubes
  • using a range of broader brush and wash techniques

She was perhaps one of the most important American abstract artists of the 20th century.

Course Content

Week 1 : we explore how to make the transition from Abstract Expressionism into Colour Field Painting

2 : we use the technique of working ‘wet in wet’

3 : we explore working onto different grounds, papers and surfaces

4 : we end the course with an in-depth look at her triptych, “Madame Butterfly” and the influence of Japanese woodblock on her practice


We supply the following equipment and materials

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

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

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.

To find out more about Gail’s work, please visit her website