Testimonial for Jem Bowden

Below are comments from people who have had tuition with me, whether on painting holidays and courses, workshops, or privately.  If you’ve joined me for any tuition and would like to leave a comment, please do so using this form.  I’m grateful for all feedback.

Testimonial Comments

The information Jem passes on is carefully thought through, easily understood and logical. He is generous with his knowledge about the medium, gives masses of encouragement and helpful information on how to improve techniques. Above all, plein-air work places additional demands on artists; working with Jem demonstrates how straightforward this can be - provided the approach is simple and well organised. Simon
Hi Jem, I just wanted to thank you for an excellent demonstration today. The zoom worked perfectly, and the painting was excellent but what really made it was the clear explanation that you gave. I have already had positive feedback from many of our members. Kind wishes, M Daniel, Chairman.
Jem, I hope you won’t mind me leaving a ‘testimonial’ here. You wear your knowledge lightly online and so I will trumpet loudly. I so appreciate the time I had with you last week, and realise that I’ve learned a huge amount. I’m glad I took the notes, and have been reading on repeat as I have worked on my current ‘project’, which I do believe is showing the benefits. I had an idea from our phone call that your instruction would be ‘in depth’ but it exceeded expectations. Although I had come specifically regarding my composition problems, I now see just how linked up everything is, or as you put it ‘an ecosystem within the frame’. Thank you, Jem, for the great efforts you take. I’ve been in too many classes over the years, but I think I learned more of use in one day with you. I will be in touch, and meantime will be spreading the word Roger
You taught me to be a man and love boats, Jem. And I've been painting them ever since. Tony.
Dear Jem I wanted to thank you again, following our lovely course with you last week. I honestly never expected to leave with such renewed enthusiasm for painting, and you filled in so many gaps and ironed out my confusions! It speaks of how much you give of yourself in your inspiring teaching and in your kind, encouraging manner. I know the others felt this too, and I sincerely hope that I might be lucky enough to join one of your courses again in future. Kindest wishes, Penny (and Paul)
Dear Jem Thank you for a wonderful few days at the White House. You have inspired me to learn more about the subject and I will endeavour to improve. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Wishing you all the best for the future and I'll follow your work with interest. Thank you again. Kind regards, Jane
Dear Jem, I simply wanted to say how much I valued my time with you last week as I know others did. It’s always a privilege to see and learn first hand how those who really know what they’re doing and talking about tackle the watercolour challenge. You explain it all so well and have reinvigorated my enthusiasm for getting out and about more often. I’m now following you on FB and look forward to seeing what you get up to. Take care and wishing you all the very best up there in Scotland. Mike
Good afternoon Jem. To let you know your painting arrived safely this morning. Thank you for a great service experience. We are both delighted with it. I have been to our local framer this afternoon and should have it framed on our wall in a couple of weeks. Will send you an image when it is up. Will carry on viewing your paintings on your on line gallery. So much of your work leaves me with the same wonder of our beautiful landscape in the same way as Edward Wesson’s work does, but of course in your own individual style. Our very best wishes, Sally & Ian
Jem, You did a Zoom mentoring session with me two years ago and it dramatically improved my work. Thank you! Like you, I have no interest in competitions, etc. My only goal is to paint joyfully. I try to paint outdoors every day even if for 15 minutes. Your work and approach to your art continues to inspire me. Good luck. Peter S.
A big thank you, Jem, for organizing the competition and for taking so much care in commenting on each piece. Your comments are relevant, informative and always positive. Congratulations to the winner for his vigorous brushwork, the atmosphere and the harmony of his work. It’s really magical to share this moment of painting online and see everyone’s interpretation. As if we had met in the same muddy field. And now we have to do it outside and make the right decisions on our own!
Hi Jem. Just wanted to say how nice it was to literally bump into you in Pittenweem last week. For me it was a great stroke of luck and opportunity to say hello to an artist i have admired for some time. Thank you for your time and inviting us into your home to veiw your paintings and talk about your art. I am delighted I found the painting that was perfect for me and now own one of your paintings and will be sorting out framing asap. We are now back home in leafy Cheshire a little more chocolatbox than the Fife Coast. Look forward to future blogs and as always following your watercolour journey. Best wishes Dave.
Jem, Good to see you again!! I love the paintings - I always do, so lively, full of atmosphere; I can feel the weather, be there... Best thanks, though, for the photos. I've just spent a week in Yorkshire, painted, enjoyed it tremendously. But disappointed by the paintings. Looking at your photos, a few things spring out: Look! Actually see! Don't try to paint exactly, but more for the place, the atmosphere. I looked at your photos and couldn't find one I'd have painted, and I was disappointed with myself. I'm going to make an effort to open my eyes to possibilities. Secondly: "Bother, that's not exactly the same colour as that bush, field..." Thanks for the stunning way you demonstrate that it really doesn't matter! The tone matters. The feel matters. Third: Do it, paint it! I've have permanent bruises where I kick myself for putting another layer of paint on, which kills any zing. Dead paintings...ugh! I really don't think your blog was meant to be a lesson, but it has been to me! And well as a real treat! So thank you on both counts. I'm going to look through the Jem file, where I keep your articles from LP and the Artist, and enjoy them again. Best wishes with the move. Hope the house works out well, and that it brings you much happiness. Patricia
Hi Jem, Just a quick note to say… I have been sketching a lot (trying to get out en plein air as much as possible) and loving it. Your tuition really helped me. Looking at a composition and seeing soft and hard edges relative to the overall has been a game changer. Thank you! Look forward to catching up in a few weeks. Best wishes Vicki
Thanks so much again, Jem. Great meeting you and lots to take away and put into the work. Looking forward to working on a ref with you from scratch next time. Will be in touch soon. Jon
Hi Jem, that was perfect! I know how difficult doing a zoom demo is, and you handled it brilliantly! I know lots of members will have really appreciated all your careful and thoughtful preparation, along with your commentary about your design/composition choices, and the execution of the painting was so clear and direct - I for one loved it, and several members have already thanked the Committee for ‘engaging’ you!!! All good wishes for the rest of the spring and summer, for your personal work as well as your workshops. Do keep in touch, and if you move to Scotland and set up any short courses, I’ll be there! Best wishes, Jane
Good evening Helen, I appreciate that I spoke to you on Saturday, but wanted to put something in writing regarding the fantastic art demonstration by Jem. I think you can judge the success by the fact that no one left the hall!, so all of us stayed for the three hours. And what a three hours it was, full of so many tips and inspiration and Jem's style, that is where you can learn so much. Aspects of his technique I had never thought of before, and his use of negative spaces, so interesting. The rest of the day was fabulous. Thanks to all for those who helped with the organisation. Kind regards, Norman
Hi Jem Just read your two new articles. I get both magazines in digital format from my library. They were great. And both had a lot that was extremely helpful to me. As it happens I've been trying plein air painting this week and you were in my thoughts. There is so much around where we live that I decided just to get me stuff and go and paint. So I did. Three times? The same scene, a lane next to where we live. And although they were not particularly good I did learn a lot. Nicki insisted that I frame the third attempt and it's now on the wall. So kind of confirms all you say in tge Leisure Painter article. So thanks for your words and the help you give. Cheers, Randy
Hi Jem Thanks you for a really excellent lesson! Just wish I had contacted you earlier in lockdown. You really explained everything so well. It helped going through my bad paintings, looking at the other artists as well as your work and I understand what I should be trying to do. I have lots to work on but feel enthusiastic again, so will be painting more often. Looking forward to the next lesson. Thank you again Margaret
Well, what can we say about this quick fire, accomplished and informative demo in watercolour? Jem's dexterity with his paintbrush, and his "one wash" ethos had us on the edge of our seats. The first half covered his shape-tone-colour process, demonstrated by sketches, delivered at a lively and engaging pace. In the second half Jem painted a half imperial watercolour using the process previously explained... and at every step Jem outlined the stages clearly and in full. We thank Jem for his demo, and look forward to his next visit.
Hi Jem, I did not have chance to thank you again for such a good demo for CWS this evening. I think you were inspirational to many of our members and I really appreciated your speed! Anyway, hope you had a reasonable journey home and you will come again in the future to demonstrate watercolour for us. Thank you once again. Kind regards, Kathleen.
I want to here publicly thank my fantastic tutor @jem.bowden - He has patience of a saint and the eyes of an eagle - his critiques and guidance have been of invaluable help on this journey! Thank you, You’ve given me encouragement and motivation to keep practising. E Montonen
Jem has a very rare mix of inspirational and practical teaching skills. His kind manner, patience and helpfulness built my confidence and had me trying new things on the very first day. He is both a talented painter and teacher, I would recommend his courses wholeheartedly!” K Herrick
Hi Jem, what a great week’s course! Thank you so much for your brilliant instruction and tireless patience.  Hope to see you again soon. All the very best,  John
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.
Hi Jem, Just wanted to say a big thank you for the 2 days last week, I gained a huge amount from working one to one – it’ll probably take quite a while for me to digest all that we talked about and to start building it into my practice! It certainly met all my objectives for the 2 days. I’d definitely like to spend some time again later in the year, if you’re willing. Thanks again (oh, and I hope the demo went well on Friday?) Best wishes, Brian.
I just wanted to say thank you so much, Jem, for your calm encouraging guidance, it has meant a lot. Looking back to the two main reasons I had for embarking on this course – confidence in some techniques and a possible ‘steer’ in which direction my own work could develop – both have been achieved. I have felt supported and encouraged throughout the whole of this course. I am more confident in my ideas and work. I’ve already tried to pass on some of the things I have learnt to those whom I’m teaching. Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year! Yours sincerely, Diane.
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
Dear Jem, On behalf of the society I would like to sincerely thank you for giving us such an excellent demonstration yesterday. Everyone there really appreciated all the tips and hints you gave us as well as producing such lovely work which inspired us all. I think your workshop is already sold out! I look forward to seeing you on the Saturday 29th June. Kind Regards, Brenda Stewart, Programme Secretary
Dear Jem, Thank you again for all your good company and tutoring for the course. I hugely enjoyed the group and have come back looking at every detail in my environment with 'artistically interpretive' eyes. There's a great urge to whip out the paint brushes so I think you managed to inspire at least an urge if not the talent! I will keep on experimenting… Very best, Emily.
Hi Jem, I thought I’d let last week sit with me in order to give you the best feedback. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the holiday, and felt I learned such a lot. In retrospect, I think four days is the right length of time as I came home quite tired and already had plenty going on in my head. I enjoyed both the day in the studio, which was ever so helpful, and the time en plein air. Your demos were great - sorry I kept asking for them but each time I wanted to see how you would deal with the scene. I’m afraid we kept you hard at work! I liked working on the hard/soft edges and learning to work out how much paint and water to use as I think that is where I am going wrong. I look forward to more articles in Leisure Painter and hope to see you again in the future. Many thanks for your patience with all us old biddies! All the very best and thanks again, Elga.
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. F Walters.
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 Original article here: https://www.karenthomaswatercolour.com/single-post/2017/04/19/A-workshop-with-Jem-Bowden
Hi Jem Thank you so much for coming yesterday; everyone without exception thought it was brilliant and hugely inspirational, and are now looking forward to next Tuesday hoping to put into practice all you showed us!! And I am so pleased with the painting I bought!! Hoping you had a good journey home. Thank you again and with best wishes Juliette
Hello Jem. Meant to write to you shortly after getting home from the Flatford course but what with selling house interruptions and family staying over Easter during fantastic weather, my intentions got lost somewhere. Thank you so much for the sessions you gave us, all of which have proved very useful, and will take my painting to new places. I’ve had practically no opportunity to get back to painting but yesterday in spite of a gale, did manage to get back into the landscape. I have written a full set of notes based on the demonstrations and advice you supplied and will regularly revisit these to make sure I stick to my intentions. I shall adapt your way of working to what I tend to work towards which is capturing sunlight – too often elusive due to fleeting English conditions. Thanks again for a very enjoyable course, which has provided me with a wealth of valuable information. Best wishes, C Lucas