Welcome to my website

Here you will find many examples of my paintings for sale, divided into Plein Air and Studio galleries, and information on my tuition (below).  You can also subscribe to my Blog, where I reflect openly on many aspects of my practice.
Please get in touch, via the Contact page if you have any enquiry.


A French lane in winter. For sale


General Information

I am available to give watercolour demonstrations around the South and Southwest of England, and to run workshops at Art Groups/Clubs/Societies in this region.  I am also happy to travel further afield if possible, but will need to cover the additional travel costs incurred.  Please enquire and I’ll check viability.

I teach privately one-to-one, tutor on residential painting holidays, run workshops at venues such as Big Sky ArtWindrush Gallery, East Devon Art Academy, The Sandpiper Studio, Flatford Mill, and locations with Alpha Painting Holidays.  I also write for Leisure Painter magazine.  Please click the relevant tab below for more detail on each of these.

Private one-to-one tuition

This is based at my home studio in South Bristol.

I love to tutor on a one-to-one basis.  I feel it is the quickest and best way for students to learn.  The ability to focus up close on any aspect of painting the student wants to is so beneficial.  In a relaxed atmosphere I can demonstrate techniques – in and out of the context of a painting – at your own pace, and even guide your hand almost literally if desired.  We can go off on tangents as we need to, discuss any issue or problem and resolve it to move onwards and upwards.
You may have a firm idea of where you’d like to begin, for example with techniques for a specific subject (skies, trees, water…) or maybe it is something more fundamental such as composition, creating impact or improving your mark-making that you want to focus on.
Alternatively, I can structure tuition around priorities that I can identify from viewing your work.  I am happy working with anyone, from ‘absolute beginner’ upwards.

Painting holidays and residential courses

(See also ‘Workshops’ for courses of shorter duration)


New – Big Sky Art! – 3 day painting break in wonderful North Norfolk location.

10th – 14th September 2018

Please consider joining me for this delight.  In the stomping ground of Wesson, Seago and many notable artists since, I’m excited about teaching and painting in this place, soaking up its unique atmosphere and its wealth of fantastic subjects for the artist.
I could rave on, but probably better for you to see for yourself the huge promise of Big Sky Art’s whole offer, here:



‘Constable country’ – beautiful Flatford Mill, Suffolk.  9th – 13th April 2018

Another stunning location!  Please follow this link for a full description of the course: Flatford Mill


Paint historic Wells and Somerset countryside.  6th – 9th May 2018

I’m delighted that I will be tutoring the above painting holiday with Alpha Painting Holidays.
As usual, my tuition will cover everything I consider most important for successful watercolour landscape painting, and will feature full group demos and attentive guidance for each individual.
You will be most welcome whatever your current level of painting, and together we’ll have fun whilst making progress.
Further details of the holiday can be found here:


Please contact me for any further information, or Matthew or Gill at Alpha Painting Holidays, on 01934 733877 or by email:



tea-interval-at-an-art-group-demonstration,t_dMy usual painting method is to work fairly fast, so it is possible to do 2 paintings in a 2 hour session with a short break in between.

This depends how much time is taken, for example, in preliminary drawing or question & answer, etc.

All this can be discussed in advance to meet the preferences of the Art Group.
In demonstration I find it works to explain everything I am doing and why I am doing it, whilst encouraging questions at any time.



(See also ‘Painting holidays’ tab for courses of longer duration.)

I run my own workshops from time to time, either based indoors, or outdoors ‘en plein air’ when possible.
I also teach workshops at well-known establishments, such as Windrush House in the Cotswolds, (Former home of James Fletcher-Watson and base of The Pure Watercolour Society), The Sandpiper Studio on The Wirral, East Devon Art Academy in Sidmouth, and at other venues specialising in Watercolour tuition.
Please scroll down for details of upcoming workshops.

Workshops at art groups/clubs/societies – general info:
My workshops are thoughtfully structured and designed to help you tackle the traditional techniques of the watercolour medium.  I aim to provide a lot of relevant information through analysis, demonstration, some exercises and usually a step-by-step painting which draws everything together.
I believe that being bold, and potentially out of your comfort zone is the best way to learn.  Please be energised, and not be worried about using up some paint and paper!  After all, practise and experimentation is never ‘waste’.  To get the best from watercolour we generally need to take some risks, so you shouldn’t be taking home a masterpiece but hopefully some ideas to work with.

Windrush Gallery day workshop, Cotswolds, 17th May 2018
Weather permitting we’ll paint outdoors either in the village of Windrush or on the banks of the river. For bookings please contact Josephine Neil at Windrush Gallery, details here: http://www.jamesfletcherwatson.com/courses.asp 

East Devon Art Academy two-day workshop, 7th & 8th June 2018.
I’ll be teaching a two-day workshop in Sidmouth, Devon, at the East Devon Art Academy.  For details and bookings please visit the EDAA website, here: http://www.eastdevonart.co.uk
This will include some plein air painting, weather permitting, and is aimed more at intermediate level rather than beginner.

Sandpiper Studio, Wirral.
10am – 4pm

£75 including lunch and refreshments.
This workshop will focus on how we can use light and shadow in our compositions to enhance atmosphere, depth, form and visual impact. Our subject will include buildings within a landscape scene. All reference material will be provided and a suggested materials list will be sent to participants in advance of the day.

Please join me!  Bookings here:

Magazine articles

I am a regular contributor to Leisure Painter magazine, where I always work hard to ensure my articles are of practical benefit to the reader.

In the past I’ve also had articles published in New Artist, Paint & Draw, and Paint (magazine of the SAA; Society for All Artists).



Leisure Painter Oct 2016

Testimonials / feedback on tuition

“I’m still not close to getting on paper what my head and heart intends and that is why a day with an artist of Jem’s calibre is so valuable.  Along with exceptional painting ability, Jem is a skilled teacher.   Listening to a quick analysis of some of his favourite works proved extremely useful, especially as an impatient painter who often goes off half-cocked with the brush before planning anything!  Some of the most well thought-out and useful exercises I’ve seen followed, and the hush settling over the room, as artists became absorbed with their own efforts, was very comfortable.  This method of breaking the subject down into techniques was a good confidence booster, and took away the pressure to ‘perform’ that stops a lot of artists continuing to attend workshops once they’ve reached a certain level.  Jem covers the room well and has that knack of arriving at your shoulder just when you need help.  The demos were as mesmerising as you’d expect, whilst still communicating a lot of important information.  Applying the techniques in the context of a full painting brought the afternoon to a very satisfying, tired and happy close.”
K Thomas

“I recently attended a Watercolour Beginner’s Course at the Bristol Folkhouse which Jem was running. This was actually a Christmas present from the family, which I chose, and without a doubt it has been the best Christmas present I have ever had.  The course was really well researched and organised, Jem was really generous with his advice, helpful, enthusiastic and inspirational. In my day job I’m an architect who does a lot of visuals and was moved to explore watercolouring as a medium to present these, as well as for sketching etc. In actual fact, I have taken so much more from the course in lots of other, unexpected, ways. Jem routinely discussed matters such as composition, colour balance and contrast, and I have found myself applying these already at work to great effect. For inspiration and personal satisfaction, this was the best use of my money and I would highly recommend one of Jem’s courses to others.”
Matthew Trapnell

“I’ve been painting watercolour for a number of years and became hugely inspired when I stumbled across Jem Bowden’s marvellous work on his website.  The simplicity, ease and confidence of his painting are an absolute delight for those who fully appreciate the true values of this most difficult of mediums.  I personally have no doubt that Jem will go on to follow in the fine tradition of Britain’s leading watercolourists.
But the really great thing is that he is more than happy to pass on all skills and techniques through his brilliant and fascinating tuition.”
Frank Walters.

Dear Jem,
Having viewed your website and the pre-holiday information you sent us, we were not surprised to find during the week that your preparation for the holiday was first class.  The mix of input, exercises and demonstrations which built on each other through the week really helped our confidence and at no time did we feel abandoned to our fate. We came away with some quite satisfying paintings, which is not always the case!  
We really appreciated the fact that, unlike some tutors, you are obviously willing to impart your knowledge fully and do not ‘keep your secrets to yourself’.
Best wishes,
Mary and Peter”

“Those who receive tuition from Jem  will find someone with a comprehensive knowledge of watercolour and an intelligent, insightful  approach to teaching.
English watercolour painting has had many great champions in the past with Seago and Wesson to the fore. This great tradition is now in safe hands with artists such as Jem Bowden.”
Jon Robertson

“Hi Jem,
I am so grateful to you for your patience and encouraging method of giving a critique. I have looked forward each time to hearing your voice and it has given me great inspiration to keep going.
I can’t thank you enough, and I’m quite sad now the course has ended!  Over the past few months I have enjoyed painting but not really felt passionate about my subjects. I enjoy landscapes but finding the old photo album from a trip to Kenya was a complete turning point.  Your comments re my drawing skills also gave my a boost.  I  have joined The Wildlife art society Internationale and hope to exhibit some of my attempts.  Again, thank you so much for all your help.
Best wishes, Jane Feld”

“I recently spent a workshop day with Jem in his studio. Jem’s dedication to watercolour in its purest sense and enthusiasm for painting is very infectious.
I hugely enjoyed the day and he was able to make some very positive comments which will help to improve my painting – I hope! I think a day spent with him either in a group or one to one will be very helpful to an aspiring painter at any level. I am certainly looking forward to another day with him.
Kate B”

“Jem, I am so glad I took this course. You took me well out of my comfort zone, but with your support and encouragement, I found I enjoyed painting chickens and tackling strong colours and simplifying my landscapes. I will enjoy painting so much more following your tuition.  I am so proud of my beach painting.  Thanks again!  Jude.”

“Jem, It’s been a privilege to be your pupil, I’ve learnt so much. I see this year as the beginning of my painting going places. Happy Christmas to you!  Gillian.”

“Hi Jem,
Please find attached assignment 3, part A. Thank you for your wise and encouraging words in regard to my last assignment. You really inspired me to keep painting. I have also started to visit more art galleries and find I have an even greater appreciation of these works of art. Even the Youtube videos have started to make sense thanks to your excellent guidance and the course.”

“Dear Jem,
You must get tired of repeating yourself but it has paid off.
We have learned so much and had a great time doing it. The week has been inspiring, we really enjoyed it, got a lot out of it and appreciate the work you put in all day every day.
We’re now looking at the world entirely differently, seeing tones and soft edges everywhere!
Thank you so much!
Pat and Geri.”

“Jem, I am so pleased you are my tutor. I am ‘studying’ your paintings assiduously and I am beginning to grasp some of the language and techniques that you talk about. The light in your work is amazing – all done by leaving the paper white! Thank you for your blog, too, which I am also reading very carefully and learning a great deal as a result. I would like to book onto your workshop in November…”

“Hi Jem
In terms of feedback on the outdoor painting day I really only have positive comments.  It was definitely very worthwhile for me.  The locations were great, one a vista, the other more intimate, the pace was good, time sped by and your presentation was very clear. Thank you for a very stimulating and enjoyable day.
Kind regards,

“Dear Tricia,
Many thanks for organizing Jem Bowden’s workshop which I thoroughly enjoyed.
It really is very useful to see a professional artist at work. The format of the day was well constructed including demos & the opportunity to carry out exercises & a final  painting. Jem’s enthusiasm flowed throughout the day. An enjoyable day spent in great company. Please pass on my appreciation once again to Jem.
Best wishes, Graham”

“Dear Jem,
What a pleasure to meet you and have your excellent tuition.
I promised myself I would get some tuition in the new year, and what a start!! Brilliant!  I learnt so much and would really like to have another session soon to complete your game plan.
You were able to point out what I could not see or understand.  Looking at paintings I think ‘I like that one’ but I have not been able to analyse the ‘why’ and you have helped enormously!  I will now be able to look at paintings by my favourite artists and analyse them better. The photos are so helpful.  They really help as a reminder of the brushstrokes etc that you did.
Let me have some dates of when I could come again, if you will have me that is?
Many thanks again Jem.  Cheers,

“Dear Jem,
What a wonderfully productive afternoon for me – it was so worth my journey!  Thank you so much.  I look forward next to your email tutelage.  You have given me a real art-bounce.

“Jem has been tutoring me now by e-mail for about 4 months and I can honestly say he is a marvellous teacher.  He gives a very in depth critique and suggests helpful excercises at the same time.  Nothing is too much trouble.  I know from experience it’s not easy to find the right tutor but if you want to learn how to paint pure water colour then Jem’s your man.”
Tina Grimley

“Jem, thank you for all your patient help during the outdoor painting workshop.  The day was as good as I hoped it would be.  I have meant to go back to the locations since, they were ideal!   I can’t fault the structure, and I think your idea of having a time limit was especially useful and new for me.  You treat your painting like sketching, but with paint instead of pencil, which was a real eye opener, and a great way to learn outside.
Very best wishes,
Carol Sykes.”

“Dear Jem,
I have found the whole experience of your Email Tutorials very helpful and two points in particular are things I need to consider.  The first is variation in tone, hue, shape and edges, which you  call ‘range’, and using small marks  to contrast with big shapes.  The second is to be aware of recession/perspective in relation to horizontal surfaces, which I had not thought of before (but having looked at paintings of many other artists it is a common design feature). Many thanks for your helpful critiques.  In each case I was able to see exactly what you mean but NOT UNTIL IT WAS POINTED OUT to me.”
Mike West.

“Thank you for all you have done already Jem.   I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience of your ‘e -tuition’ and hope to continue, if you can stand it, for a little longer.  I don’t want to let all that I’ve learnt from you to go stale, so I will be trying to keep my hand in, there is nothing worse than not practicing.
I wasn’t sure whether it would work to be honest but it must be a sign of your excellent teaching ability that I feel it has.  I’m sure I’ve improved in certain respects, but I do still need help with my painting in lots of areas, as you know.

“Hi Jem
Thank you for a very enjoyable and informative day with you in your studio. It was a real pleasure, and I feel confident to try your methods and I am sure will succeed in producing work in a style I love.
Looking forward to the next lesson!
Best wishes,

“Hi Jem,
Many thanks for your excellent tuition , I shall be doing my best to apply these newly learnt skills when painting this weekend .
Next week I shall be searching for local scenes to paint {no more copying !!}.
Shall be buying a painting from you during next month , not sure which one yet .  Very best wishes and thanks again.
Bob Morton”

“Hello Jem,
Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed yesterday and how much I learned.
It was truly inspiring and all I was hoping for.
I will be buying the brushes, colours and paper later today.
Many thanks and kind regards,


I have a range of charges for the various different types of tuition or demonstration I can give. There is some flexibility, depending on duration, expenses incurred, and what is desired by the student or group.  Please contact me to discuss your requirements or for further information.