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Painting Course on the Norfolk Broads
'Whispering Reeds & Watery Landscapes in Watercolour'
at Broadland Arts Centre. 

Friday 11th June - Tuesday 15th June 2010
(Welcome Evening on 10th June)

Tuition fee (c£250 - £300) - accommodation not included but can be arranged.

The Old School, Dilham, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 9PS

Now Booking

How to Book :  www.broadlandarts.co.uk or:
Telephone: 01702 475361 or 01692 536486

Course Description

Five days, plus the preceding Sunday evening welcome and demonstration. Paint landscape and water with Joe Francis Dowden. Starting with basics - drawing, composition and perspective - Joe builds confidence. Out in the setting of the Broads he guides you toward realistic and inspired landscape painting. Tips and techniques are dealt with in the studio, with opportunity to see how he paints. Home base is a village school converted to an art studio. Step by step teaching. Group tuition and one to one guidance. Workshops and confidence building tuition on site from one of Britain’s top teaching painters. Underwater stones, wet looking water, beach shingle and foreground foliage are favourites. Sea and sky, landscape and light, these are some of the subjects covered. Get solutions to those thorny painting problems. Paint in the Norfolk landscape and in the studio. Go home with new insights.  

Broadland Arts Centre is an education centre where teaching is personalised for needs. Joe sees this as one of the top art education faculties in the UK.

Website Link: http://www.broadlandarts.co.uk/courses.html

Check out other fine courses at this superb facility!!

About Broadlands Art Centre

Established: 1989.
Rural village
Old village school with studio, large sitting room and small library, utility room, kitchen etc and some accommodation. 
Angela Dammery NDD ATC GMC

I think Broadland Arts Centre is one of the best places in England to learn about applied arts and here are some reasons why.
Proprietor - Angela Dammery is one of the best teaching painters in Britain. I value her back up because of her vast experience. It is virtually impossible for anyone to have more experience than Angela because she has taught art in school, for local adult education, and at degree level for more than a working lifetime.  

Although I ran courses internationally before coming here, Angela has taught me a tremendous amount. She is a professional painter, able to paint and teach any subject in any medium to art gallery standard. The venue is more or less perfect. She bought the old Dilham School 20 years ago and took five years to build it up as one of Britain’s premier teaching locations.

A vast landscape of Broads stretches away from Dilham. Open spaces of wetland, seascape, and the unique water environment of the Broads. Nearby is the River Ant, flowing down through Weyford Bridge to Barton Broad and Barton Turf. There are many windmills – actually wind pumps. Huge yacht like barges, Norfolk Wherries seem to glide across distant meadows. Pleasure yachts like the classic pre-war Hunters Yard fleet sail from April to September.

There is often an opportunity to sail on Angela’s Edwardian launch from the nearby moorings.

This fascinating freshwater environment is changing all the time. It is a beautiful place to teach. It is a great place to do some watercolour painting in a tranquil environment.

Joe Francis Dowden. March 2009

2009 itinerary to be announced - Sample itinerary shown below.


Meet the artist, Joe Francis Dowden and proprietor, Angela Dammery
NDD ATC GMC for drinks and pre course familiarisation.


Sunset over tidal water. A simple but realistic painting completed with uncomplicated washes to show how brilliance of light can be achieved in watercolour. It will be the basis for the first workshop on Monday morning.


WATERCOLOUR WASHES. Plus composition and layout.

9.30 am. Step by step workshop based on above. How to do washes plus a new way of thinking about layout, aperture, proportion and composition. Simple composition solutions which can be applied to all painting. This time I produce a small version of the previous nights painting, Maximum 12 across. After explanatory talk about the mornings proceedings I check that everyone is equipped to start this project and all limit the size of the image to a maximum of about 10 across, (even smaller than mine). The painting is completed in three stages, one stage at a time after waiting for me to complete each stage on my demo painting before proceeding with the same stage. Advice given on each before lunch.


PERSPECTIVE, simplified.

Starting with a 20 minute talk and drawing demonstration, principles of perspective are demonstrated. There is additional info on mixing convincing greens, and preparation for the afternoons scene.

We go to the scene, a local place and paint a simple view which lends itself to the principles of perspective. Brief talk in situ, where we will all remain within a small area and paint the same scene.

Back to the studio for de-brief and critique of days work. 15 minutes.


COMPOSITION. Detail on composition.

9.30 am. Having prepared the ground for composition we go over the subject again with a 40 minute preparation talk.

Then to Mundesley or Waxham for the whole day. Painting in situ after on site talk at muster point. Local drawing problems sorted. Getting down to painting, possibly a morning and afternoon painting for each, with break when all are gathered round for brief teaching and review sessions at intervals during the day. Break for lunch in situ and then back to Dilham for de- briefing session. 

WEDNESDAY  (Half day)

TONE. With info on colour mixing, greys.

Starting 9.30 with 20 - 40 minute talk on using tone to create light. Make a painting dynamic by preparing tone before starting.

Then to Hickling Broad. Paint the broad on site after brief talk. Water, sky and tone. As always accompanied by group and one to one tuition and supervision.

Lunch. Back to Dilham. Afternoon free with option of possible cruise on Broads in Angelas historic launch.


DEMONSTRATION PAINTING. River or other scene

All can relax and watch tutor produce a demo painting of a completely different subject, either a river or a scene based on a request from the group - there is often a consensus at this point.


TEXTURES. Many different tricks and techniques for producing the fabric of nature with texture. Starting at 9.30 am. I will demonstrate sample textures. These are special effects created by techniques which simulate any number of different things - foliage, water, underwater stones, shingle, stone or rock, etc. Students follow along on watercolour paper to take home as a texture directory. It will look real, and you will have done it yourself. Refer to it whenever you need. More effective than any book.

Brief preparation for the afternoons work - probably Horsey Windmill, with instruction on how to draw and paint a windmill.


. Combining the elements, going over what we
ve learned.   

Out with lunch and eat on site. Horsey windmill. After Lunch, pre-painting talk on site followed by afternoon of tutored painting. Home by 5.00 pm and critique of days work.


BOATS, boats in perspective, getting reference material.

9.30 am 20 minute studio talk on drawing and painting boats and handling the problems associated with drawing them.

Then to BARTON TURF. Muster point established for two or three group meetings. Roam around and find your favourite pitch. I will endeavour to see as many individuals as possible, and those within a defined radius will get my attention first.


3.30 pm.

Back to Dilham.


4.00 pm - 5.00 pm

CRITIQUE, and display of paintings.

Constructive help for all. Final display of work and group photograph of people and paintings.

This curriculum is subject to modification and changes of both material to be covered and places to visit.

This is the course structure. This does not limit the teaching to this subject matter. It will be peppered with insights into the art of landscape painting in watercolour. The curriculum provides the framework for all of this. Many different aspects, subjects, tricks of the trade, etc will be covered.

Joe Francis Dowden
January 2008

Please note - destinations may change and there may be changes to the curriculum. New changes include new ways of teaching perspective, and increased constructive critique for each painter.

Materials List


List of suppliers ant end of materials list.


This is free advice on materials, not just for my courses but for all your needs. I have sold or published landscape paintings with materials by almost every quality brand on the UK market. Watercolour painting is hard enough without cramping your style by using indifferent materials. Get the best you can and heed the following simple advice.


BRUSHES - Round brushes.

The central part of my recommended kit is the “round brush”, a round headed sable brush which forms a point when wet. Most of the work is done with brushes between size 3 and 12, and these should be of sable fibre, not synthetic. Other types of synthetic brushes are OK - riggers or specialized brushes - fan blenders etc, but the basic tool, the round brush must be of natural fibre.


Why is this?  

I teach watercolour with natural fibre brushes so synthetic brushes are not ideal. To avoid excessive expense, larger synthetic wash brushes can be retained, or replaced with squirrel or squirrel/sable mix brushes, rather than sable. You can also use goat hair, (hake), or mongoose fibre brushes. But for the bulk of the work you will need sable.


Synthetic brushes have many fine qualities, but do not mimic the quality of sable. Pigment will not wash from synthetic fibre as quickly as from natural fibre, making quick colour changes vital to this medium more difficult. Synthetic fibre brushes have more spring than sable, making them unsuitable for techniques I teach. They don’t form the same strokes shapes sable and the fibres themselves behave differently in motion.


What about sable synthetic blend brushes? My answer is - buy sable brushes without synthetic fibre in them. Its less crucial with smaller sizes below 4 but these sable brushes are less expensive.


Equal to many of these in quality but vastly less are some of the catalogue brushes - sometimes a third the price of an equivalent top brand name quality brush in the shops, but only available by mail order. One of these is Rosemary & Co. Mail order only. 01535 60090 www.rosemaryandco.com


This is a recommended list of Rosemary & co brushes.

Series 33 number 2 or 3

Series 33 number 6

Series 22 number 8

You could also get a

Series 33 number 10 or 12, but this is not vital.

If you would like to make yet a further saving, invest in the less expensive series 99 brushes, and just purchase one series 22, or 33 - say for example a series 22 number 8.


Series 33 is normal length very high quality kolinsky sable fibre - very controllable. Series 22 is the same fibre in longer length - superb for flowing controlled strokes.

Series 99 is good quality sable fibre


SAA sable brushes are also very reasonable - Mail order only.


Mop brushes - you might like to experiment with one of these.

Sable and squirrel mops both large and small are a wonderful tool for lucid strokes and loose washes, especially when working rapidly on site. A mop brush, otherwise known as a “French Polisher“, must have a round ferule - not a flattened or oval one. When wet forms a long flowing tip - less controllable but results can be beautiful. Squirrel mops can be an excellent alternative or supplement to sable, if you can get the hang of them. Popularised by Edward Wesson who made his discovery of them in the 1930’s. Used today by great watercolour painters such as the Australian David Taylor. You could try investing in a small squirrel mop of equivalent size to an 8 to 12 sable.     


Colour shaper for applying masking.

Large flat brush between 1 and 1 ½. Ideally Hake.

Old brushes for mixing.


Important note : -

Brushes deteriorate imperceptibly until they are almost useless. You may be surprised how much you benefit from replacing an old friend with a new one. Please make sure you get the most from this course by bringing decent brushes of the best quality you can afford - and once again, and as regards the main “round” brushes you use, make sure you have some really decent sable brushes.


Use tubes not pans, artists quality not student quality. You can bring pans along to work on site if you are happier doing so, just be prepared to wet them in advance and bring old brushes to do the donkey work of mixing them up into a decent paste so you can get enough colour out of them.

Use respected brands of tube colour.


 List of many of the good brands - .

Rembrandt / Sennelier / Maimeri / Grumbacher / Utrecht / Winsor & Newton / Lukas / Old Holland / Rowney / Terry Harrisson/ Holbein / Don Harrison / SAA / M V Graham / DaVinci Paints (DVP) /
Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor /Michael Wilcox School of Colour/ Schmincke.


Old Holland, M V Graham and DVP can be obtained from T N Lawrence of Hove - www.lawrence.co.uk.


Just one more word of caution - some of the European and American Burnt Sienna’s lack the vibrancy of British versions such as SAA, Rowney or Winsor & Newton.      

List of Colours

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Umber

Raw Sienna

Yellow Ochre

Naples Yellow

Light Red

Crimson Alizarin

Cadmium Red

Cadmium Lemon

New Gamboge, or Gamboge Hue

Cobalt Blue

Ultramarine Blue

Cerulean Blue

Phthalo Blue

Cobalt Turquoise Light (Winsor & Newton or Schmincke Cobalt Turquoise)

Phthalo Green

Hookers Green

Paynes Grey

Neutral Tint



Either : - Buy Lukas  or M V Graham paints from T N Lawrence www.lawrence.co.uk Or phone 0845 644 3232. Order the colours you want and where names dont match get similar. Buy Burnt Sienna from the SAA.

Or : -  Buy SAA. www.saa.co.uk  Phone 0800 414 444


Masking Fluid Winsor & Newton is best.

Toothbrush - simple medium or stiff bristle head. Stout sewing needle to clean the tooth brush fibres. When dry, dip in a cup of hot water and comb it clean.

Kitchen Roll, Hairdryer, scissors, pencils - B grade for drawing on watercolour paper and some softer pencils for sketching and tonal drawing. Sharp knife, Cartridge paper drawing pad.


Mixing palette or palettes.

Please ensure you have a decent palette, which gives you plenty of space for mixing colour - not the flying saucer type - round with several half hemisphere mixing wells arranged in a circle. You need large flat areas on the palette for making colour mixes, with plenty of room for different versions of the same colour in the same general area on the palette. If nothing else, then old crockery will do. 


Plastic water bottle. Water jars.


Arrange lightweight mobile equipment in a portable bag. Make sure that whatever equipment you bring along on the course, you have lightweight portable painting things for using in the field.


Light weight easel, or if you prefer, a portable stool, (or both).

Sketch Pad, A4 or a little larger for working in situ.

Easel, my recommendation - David Potter Easel, Available from the SAA

www.saa.co.uk  Phone 0800 414 444



Watercolour paper, 200lb in weight, not surface, (cold pressed). With Arches use 140lb not (i.e. cold pressed) or 300lb not (i.e. cold pressed). It is best to stretch your paper, and absolutely essential to do so if you use Arches. You could use a plywood board of 5mm thickness or more. Brush a sealant onto it. I staple using an Arrow JT21 stapler - anything heavier is too much. Use 6mm staples. Soak the paper thoroughly, and staple it to the board while it is wet.


If you are fully competent at wetting and stretching paper with gummed strip, then by all means do it this way, but remember that the process is virtually useless if it comes unstuck at all anywhere along the edges.


A 14 x 10 or larger Hahnemuhle Tiepolo or Leonardo rough. Langton or Bockingford Watercolour block or pad. Fabriano Artistico and Artisitco extra white. Langton and Bockingford are useful in heavy weights for site work. 


The best papers in my view are “rag”, usually not really made of rag, but cotton “linters” from the cotton crop. Most cotton paper is “mould made”, in a cylinder mould machine - by far the best quality manufacturing process - without giving a long lecture about the relative merits of hand making and mould making. Mould made is not to be confused with “machine made” papers, produced on a fourdrinier machine and giving an inferior quality paper for watercolour.     


Most paper can be purchased less expensively by getting it from catalogues - see list at end of materials. Also paper merchants are an excellent source  and will answer your questions and very good service  -


Paper merchants :

R K Burt - www.rkburt.co.uk 

John Purcell - www.johnpurcell.net 


Scrap paper, cartridge sketching paper, and pencils. You may find it useful to bring tracing paper along, because I sometimes teach by overlaying my drawing over yours as a good fast way of teaching on site.


Great Art - 0845 601 5772. www.greatart.co.uk

Jackson’s catalogue - 0870 241 1849. www.jacksonsart.com 

SAA - phone 0800 980 1123 / 0800 414 444 www.saa.co.uk .

Ken Bromley - 845 330 32 34 www.artsupplies.co.uk

Cheap Joe’s  - www.cheapjoes.com

T N Lawrence - 0845 644 3232 www.lawrence.co.uk .

Rosemary & Co. 01535 60090 www.rosemaryandco.com

R K Burt (Paper) 020 7403 3672  www.rkburt.co.uk

John Purcell Paper 020 7737 5199 www.johnpurcell.net 

Booking Information - Bookings being taken now.
How to Book :  www.broadlandarts.co.uk or:
Telephone: 01702 475361 or 01692 536486

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