This popular course is for anyone, from beginners looking for an encouraging way to start, to those who have painted with watercolours before and want new inspiration to make more progress.

There will be plenty of demonstrations to show you how the unique and illusive properties of watercolour can be achieved by freshening up your techniques. You can expect to go away with lots of new ideas on how to apply watercolour simply and effectively.

This course is suitable for both beginners and those with more experience of watercolour. We begin the course by looking at a selection of your previous work and discussing with you what you would like to achieve during your time with us.

We would definitely encourage you to bring some of your work along for us to see. Please don’t be shy – it would help us to help you! We recognise that not everyone is ready to exhibit, and you need not show your work to anyone else if you don’t want to!

We will then look at some of the elements of watercolour painting.

We will look at:

An Exploration of Mark Making

Why paint it if the materials will do it for you? We look at the importance of experimenting to increase your knowledge of your brushes, paints and other watercolour materials. Having increased your range of marks you will then be encouraged to use them effectively in a painting.


Lights and darks and how to see them! This is the element of watercolour painting most likely to affect the success or failure of a painting. We will consider the importance of careful observation, experimentation with different media used for drawing (including paint), mixing dark watercolours, balance of tone within a composition and the relationship of tone to colour.

Information Gathering

The traditional pencil sketch is only one way of gathering information from which to paint! In this workshop we also consider the appropriate use of photographs, tonal notes, colour notes and written notes as effective ways of gathering together information about your chosen subject matter.


Some of the mysteries of colour mixing are unravelled in this workshop.

‘Giving your work The Professional Touch ’

A successful painting always involves an element of planning. Consideration of composition, tone, colour, line and texture at the planning stage makes a huge difference to the outcome.

Our teaching method involves using exercises, demonstrations and experimentation on your part to discover not only what you can do, but what your materials can do for you. Although we focus on elements of watercolour painting we make constant references to how they work together in the context of a painting. Having explored the techniques we help students to appropriate them to the best advantage of their chosen subject matter. Our aim is to equip you to continue to enjoy painting after your time with us, hopefully armed with new techniques, a sense of direction and renewed enthusiasm.

Tutor: Rob Dudley

Rob Dudley has lived and worked in Devon since completing his degree in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art in 1980. The landscape has always been a starting point for much of Rob’s work.  Finding the variety of landscapes in Devon particularly inspiring, he spends a great deal of time exploring the different effects of light on moorland and coastal scenes.  He records the fleeting changes of light with both sketches and photographs, which he takes back to the studio to develop into more finished works.  Rob works almost exclusively in his preferred medium of watercolour.  Although a difficult medium to master he finds its elusiveness, which can be both rewarding and frustrating, makes each painting an exciting challenge. Rob also enjoys writing and in 2018 saw the publication of his first book on watercolour; ‘Painting Rivers from Source to Sea’. He is a regular contributor to The Artist and Illustrators magazine and demonstrates to art groups in the south west of England. He also is one of the script writers for the award winning animated children’s series ‘Shaun the Sheep’ produced by Aardman Animation, home of Wallace and Gromit and shown on the BBC. His work is in private collections in the UK and abroad. Rob’s website is:

Tutor: Siân Dudley

Siân Dudley is a largely self-taught watercolourist with a fascination for the way the medium has a life of its own, making its own contribution to the finished work. The depth and clarity of colour, textural marks, spontaneous expression and fineness of detail that are possible in watercolour have inspired an experimental approach, allowing her to explore a range of styles, from the 'tight' representation of botanical illustration to much freer, almost abstract paintings. Siân always begins with a close direct observation of her subject, using a combination of sketching and photographs as reference for paintings that are completed in the studio. In botanical subjects Siân's inspiration comes from the effect of light through petals and leaves, and a sense of colour and pattern. In her portraits she aims to capture something of the character of the person, as well as a good likeness. Her other work reflects her interest in paintings with a strong sense of narrative, and an element of participation by the viewer. In 2018 Siân saw her first book on watercolour 'Painting Flowers : a Creative Approach' published by Crowood Press. Whatever she is painting, Siân hopes that her paintings provide an uplifting experience to the observer. Siân's website is:

If you would like to join us for a whole week and enjoy a 10% discount on the fees, choose to attend either:

To take advantage of this offer, please ring the centre to book - 01206 297110

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks

Before You Attend

What to Bring

Please bring along anything you already have. As well as paints, brushes, palettes etc., kitchen roll is essential! Please bring along any photographs, sketches or other reference material you would like to work from. We are happy to supply inspiration and reference material if you need some!

Please note that the centre shop no longer stocks art materials, apart from loose sheets of Bockingford 140lb.