Last Saturday saw the inaugural meeting of the Brighton Painting Group and I was delighted to be in attendance!

The premise is simple. It’s an totally free untutored group that will meet every second Saturday of the month and welcomes artists working in any medium and of any level of experience.

The rendezvous point for this first meeting was on Brighton seafront. It’s a location I know supremely well and, despite years of walking up and down it, I’ve always found it to be an incredibly challenging view! I don’t mind saying that I think I lost sleep the night before the event because I was fretting about quite what I was going to paint, not to mention the lack of ‘hiding places’ from which to paint!

I had in my minds’ eye thought that the boats of the Brighton Yacht Club that are stored on the beach might make for a good subject. I’d also ruled out anything looking straight out to sea, or that included the pier as a focal point. The other thing that was troubling me was the weather forecast! Fortunately, there wasn’t any rain due, but it was expected to be overwhelmingly grey. Anyone that’s familiar with my work will appreciate how panic-inducing this might be for me without any straight into the light contre-jour or strong shadows to work with!

So, six or seven intrepid painters gathered at around 10am and introduced themselves and basically had a nice little chat before dispersing in search of inspiration. After quickly discounting my original idea of the Sussex Yacht Club, I was fortunate to spot some contrast, even on a great day.

There was a row of large white umbrella awnings set against the dark background of Shelter Hall, which also has quite a striking silhouette. As I was setting up, the sun did grace us its presence for just long enough for me to get a mental image and a couple of photos too!

Here are some progress shots from the day, beginning with my choice of subject, just as the sun made an appearance to give me some shadows to work with!

All set up, sketched out and ready to paint!
First wash done…
Second wash and a few details on the background buildings
Some figures and details added and just one final step back…

And a little video while everything was drying off!

A little video with extra special crunching pebbles sound effects!
The finished painting

I finished my painting with about an hour to spare before the planned reconvene at 1.30pm. Not long enough for me to find another subject and do it justice so it was nice to just take my time packing up and enjoy the feeling of having come through the experience not just unscathed, but actually quite energised!

It felt good to have found a subject and committed to it despite it not necessarily being my ideal scene. I think as a discipline, this is a great asset and, with practice, it will only serve to improve my painting all round.

Afterwards, we all reconvened and shared our work and experiences of the day. Here’s the obligatory the group photo (I was fortunate to have been joined by my barefooted daughter by this stage!)

The inaugural gathering of the Brighton Painting Group!

Everyone that participated was lovely and very supportive of each others’ efforts and the conversation flowed freely and easily. I have to give a special acknowledgement to Stephen Hawkins who had the misfortune to set his easel up close to mine and had to endure my running commentary of sighs, muttered complaints and general exaltations of disappointment.

I may not be able to attend every month, but I would like to attend as often as I can and really hope that, as word spreads, the group grows and flourishes as I think it’s a wonderful initiative.

The next meet up will be at Saturday 11th December at a location that’s yet to be determined. You can find out more by following the Brighton Painting Group on Instagram and be added to the WhatsApp group by contacting the group’s organiser and brilliant painter to boot, Elliot Roworth.

International Watercolour Masters

Some of you may be familiar with the wonderful watercolour artist David Poxon. He’s the main curator behind the major UK watercolour event, The International Watercolour Masters exhibition which will take place from 16 – 29 May 2022 at Lilleshall Hall in Shropshire.

The event had been due to take place in 2020 and then 2021 but it’s now a definite (as much as anything can be!) that it will take place in 2022! Well, I was delightfully surprised to see a message from David in my comments wishing me well and asking whether I’d be able to share with my followers the new dates for next year’s event.

Aside from the exhibition that will feature works by many of the world’s leading watercolour artists, there is a staggering array of workshops and events. To see the talks, demonstrations and workshops schedule, and make any booking enquiries, visit the full Programme which reads like an incredible who’s who of the world’s most accomplished watercolour artists!

This is sure to be an amazing event and my only regret is that I’m unlikely to be able to attend! This is of course hugely frustrating however separately to the IWM, I’m already booked onto a two-day masterclass with Alvaro Castagnet on the 21st and 22nd May, plus I’ll be exhibiting in Brighton’s Open Houses exhibition next May so all of my weekends will be booked up. I’ve looked at the possibility of midweek visits but it’s really difficult! I’m about a 4-hour drive away so I’d need to do an overnight stay but I need to be here in Brighton to look after things like the school drop off and pick up, not to mention keeping the day job!

This means that I’ll be relying on others to visit and tell me all about it so that I can experience it vicariously through you! I hope that I can count on you!?

9 thoughts on “Brighton Painting Group

  1. I think you mean your next meet-up will be Saturday DECEMBER 11th, not June.

    Congrats on finally having a group. Find a way or make a way. If you can’t find a group then you make one.

    It will be fun and inspiring for all of you not only to have each other but to meet each month in a different spot. Unfortunately the plein air meetings of our local watercolor society still seem to be on hiatus. Even my watercolor class is still not meeting in person and online just isn’t doing it for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. June? I wonder where that came from! Thanks so much for pointing that out Mary and I’ve already corrected it! Yes the group is a great initiative and I’m really hoping it can develop a core group that will keep it going! Hope that your plein air group reconvenes soon! (Though I think my participation in the winter months will be very weather dependent!)

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  2. I thought the group idea is such a good idea. I have watched Elliot’s work on Instagram and the inaugural photo! Such talent!
    I really hope your group will continue and keep posting. And, maybe something like it could happen in Mid-Suffolk?

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    1. Hi Barry and thanks so much for this. Yes, Elliot’s work is really impressive and it’s all credit to him for having the drive and initiative to set this up. It’s certainly beyond my limits to do this but I’d delighted to be able to join in every now and then. I’m really hoping that a core group will become established which I think is what’s needed to ensure it doesn’t fizzle out! I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to attend as often as possible. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that something similar happens near to you (I don’t know the area well but I understand it’s a very beautiful and scenic part of the world!)

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      1. Hi John, I also meant to say how much I enjoy reading your Thursday blog! And your painting is going from better to better!
        I’ve joined a tutorial group on a Friday led by professional artist Ed Cooper. He’s so inspiring and helpful, also he’s produced no end of videos on uTube covering painting, drawing, in fact all aspects of art. I’m hopeful of improving 😉
        But good luck John and thanks!
        I bet your daughters feet were freezing!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Barry and thanks so much for this, really appreciate your kind comments about the blog, it means a lot to me! I’m sure you’re going to enjoy and get a lot from your sessions with Ed Cooper – I’ve had a look at his work on Instagram and it’s almost enough to tempt me towards oils!! As for my daughter’s feet – yes, you’d have thought she’d have been freezing but she runs surprisingly hot – even now I can’t get her wear a coat!

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