Mumbles, workshops and other snippets

The Mumbles, from Bracelet Bay. For sale

A couple of weeks ago I visited Swansea Art Society for a demo and while there managed to visit The Mumbles (headland/small rocky islands with a lighthouse), where Swansea Bay meets the Gower peninsula.  

I only had time to take photos, so the above painting is worked from those.  I hope to visit the Gower to paint plein air sometime soon.
It was a dull cloudy day, so my photos were quite flat.  The painting struggles a bit for depth I think, but I decided to stick to facts, rather than inventing lighting and potentially more interesting counterchange.  The shapes the mumbles make can be enough in themselves, so I’m relying here on composing them well and making a sky that combines well with it.

Here’s another photo from the day, to give you an idea of the scene.  I took loads, so I may have another crack soon if I get chance:

Workshop news

Next year (7th & 8th June 2018) I’ll be running a two-day workshop in Sidmouth, Devon, at the East Devon Art Academy.  For details and bookings please visit the EDAA website, here:
This will include some plein air painting, weather permitting, and is aimed at intermediate level rather than beginner.

Sandpiper Studio workshops

There are still a few places still left on my one day workshop for intermediate/improver painters this September 2nd at Sandpiper Studio on the Wirral.  I’m also running a workshop there the day before on the 1st September, that one aimed at complete beginners, or those who’ve not painted for years and want to get started again.
For bookings please visit:

I’m looking forward to visiting the Wirral, where Sandpiper Studio is based.  I’ve not visited before, so will be staying a couple of extra days to do some plein air painting of the area, just for me.

6 week Beginners course

I’ll be running a 6 week Beginners course again this Autumn in central Bristol, at The Folk House (Weds evenings from 1st November) and also a one-day workshop for complete beginners on Sat 21st October.  These need to be booked through the Folk House, but this can only be done once they release their Autumn term prospectus later in the summer.  Details can be found here:

‘Better Landscapes’, day workshop

I ran this recently, and I’ll be running another one of these hopefully in the Autumn, or otherwise again in Spring, 2018.
It will be at a venue local to me (i.e. near to Bristol or Bath), so I can get there!  Hopefully you can too.  Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll put your name on a reserve list.

This is an indoor workshop, with a maximum of 8 participants at the price of £55, which I hope ensures good value and enjoyment of the day.  This workshop is aimed at more experienced, or ‘intermediate’ watercolour painters rather than beginners or very unconfident painters.

Overlooking Brislington – a recent painting.


The Artist (& Leisure Painter) magazine/Patchings Open Exhibition

I’m really pleased to have had a painting accepted for this year’s exhibition.  ‘Cley windmill after a summer downpour’ – a big sky painting, which you could see here on my Studio gallery page.
My gratitude to the judges!

I enjoyed doing a demo at last year’s Patchings festival, but unfortunately I can’t attend this year’s as it coincides with my Wye Valley painting holiday.  However I will be part of a group show at Patchings later in the year, as one of 10 award winners from the 2016 competition.  I’ll have 6 of my best works in the exhibition (which will be entitled ‘The Artist’s Collection’) running from Saturday 30 September until Sunday 19 November 2017.  For details of Patchings festival/exhibition, and later the group exhibition  please visit:

Nightmare narrowly averted

I visited the Otter Vale Art Society recently for a demo and workshop, and left my folder on the train!

It contained about 10 of my better paintings, and my board/paper.

Not a good feeling I can tell you, and I couldn’t believe I’d done it.
Very fortunately, some undignified running about to get help led to it being taken off by staff at the next railway station, which I was then kindly driven to by the very tolerant lady from the art society who was putting me up/putting up with me for the night!  We got on the main road to find it at a standstill following an accident….
I had set out early so hopefully get a plein air painting done before the demo that evening.  I suppose I was very lucky still to manage this, though it was a very quick one in the end, below.

Rather rushed plein air – Field at the edge of Ottery St Mary, Devon.

Thank you again, Jacqueline, and I promise I’ll never do it again!

Busy in the workshop the next day.

Great watercolours

I’ve just come across the artist Alan Runagall RSMA.   He works in the traditional ‘pure watercolour’ style, and some of it puts me in mind of Edward Seago. Check out his work online or in the real world if you can.

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Richard Finney 1 year ago . Reply

Hi Jem, I’d like to come along to your “Better Landscapes” workshop. I live in Bristol, so it would be easy for me to get to. If you have any places left then please add me to your list!
(I tried to reply to your email address but to no avail -it got sent back to me)
Been reading your news about your Gower visit. If you get over there again two great places to go are Worms Head and Three Cliffs Bay
Happy painting

    Jem Bowden 1 year ago . Reply

    Thanks Richard,
    I’ll email you directly.