Using natural plant materials, baubles and various Christmas decorations we will be setting up a still life ready to paint for use as a personalised Christmas card or as a festive gift to give to family or friends.

This weekend course is for those who have had some previous experience in using watercolours. There will be lots of demonstrations and we will be using a salt technique to obtain textures.

Beginners, intermediate and advanced learners are all welcome.

Please note: Good eyesight is essential for this course as the work in some cases will be detailed.

Tutor: Lesley Smith

Lesley Smith has been teaching botanical illustration and watercolour painting in adult education for over 30 years, and is also a qualified Pergamano tutor. She runs several very popular courses throughout the year at Flatford and has been teaching for over 20 years at the Redbridge institute of adult education in east London, which has just gained an Outstanding from OFSTED. Lesley started painting in an adult education class as a complete beginner and after 6 years was asked to take the class over when the tutor Freda Titford retired. Freda had been taught by Mary Grierson at Flatford Mill and Mary attended classes with John Nash the founder of the course which was run up until last year by Jenny Jowett SBA who sadly passed away in March 2019. Lesley attended Jenny’s course for over 30 years and learnt a great deal from Jenny and fellow attendees, giving her a wealth of techniques and knowledge to pass on to students to improve and enhance their botanical painting.

What's Included

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

Before You Attend

What to Bring

Watercolour paints, artist quality is preferred but whatever you usually use.

    • Good quality brushes
    • Good paper makes a good painting, you can buy large sheets of good quality watercolour paper from most art shops, one sheet can be cut into 4, or bring any paper you are happy working on if you have painted before. I use Saunders Waterford 140lb Not surface paper. Some students prefer hot press paper. Bring whatever you are most happy painting on. However Bockingford is not suitable for this course as it is extremely hard to work on.
    • White palettes
    • Water jars as the ones at the Centre are sometimes quite well used
    • Cotton rag or kitchen roll
    • A putty rubber
    • Pencils and a sharpener
    • Blu-tack
    • Masking fluid
    • Your Favourite colourful baubles or Christmas decorations, maybe one that has sentimental value. Or any decoration you think you might like to incorporate into a still life.
    • Cooking Salt or rock salt, some cheap cling film. (Tutor will have some available to use.)
    • Glitter if you want to add some sparkle.
    • Some spices if you have some available. Ie cinnamon sticks, star anise, nutmeg.
    • Cones.
    • A limited amount of festive flowers, fruits, satsumas etc will be provided but if you have any plant material in your garden that you think would be suitable for your own use or you think someone else would like to paint then please bring them along. The more variety the better.
    • Most of the above items can be purchased online from Ken Bromley, or Jacksons.

Please note that the Centre shop does not stock art materials.

About FSC Flatford Mill

We have four buildings that are used for visitor accommodation. Whilst most rooms are either en-suite or have a dedicated bathroom, there are some rooms in The Mill that share showers and toilets at the end of the hall. If this is un-suitable for you please make the office staff aware upon booking or as soon as possible. Please be aware that you are visiting a Field Centre that caters in the main for school parties; the accommodation is basic and dormitory-style, but warm and comfortable.

Arrival Day

Check-in is between 1400-1800, if you are arriving after 1800 please advise us, so we can ensure you are advised of access codes, room key location, and room location. You will meet the tutor at Dinner, and you will have your first session after Dinner.