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Painting - watercolours

to contact me: chris.baker.london@gmail.com and to see my work: http://chrisbakerwatercolours.wordpress.com

My painting news

It was one of our most successful!
2017 HWG poster

Image - Golders Hill Park: Chris Baker

We'll next be exhibiting small works and postcards at the Fair on the Square in Highgate in June.

 Delighted that one of my Portmeirion paintings was selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017. It was at the Mall Galleries in September from 18th - 24th and then on tour until March.
You can see the painting by clicking on my Wordpress site link. And it's on the screen inside!

At the Mall

I've set up a Facebook page - please take a look click: Facebook. ... and do visit our website to see more.
The latest page has information about our stall at the Highgate fair in June.

Interested in painting? Have time to develop your interest?
Maybe you have more time on your hands. But if you aren't working full time you have a fantastic opportunity to really enjoy your freer time. Just think - artists don't usually retire!

Watercolour is a wonderful medium. It's relatively inexpensive, it's easy to carry around (great in summer) and it is totally involving once you get hooked. But - and I am sure you enjoy a challenge - it isn't easy at first. Unlike oils or acrylics you can't easily make corrections or change your mind much as the painting progresses.  However, if you practise, I promise that you'll never be bored and you will produce something you can be really proud of.  It may take a while until you become as skilled as some of our more famous watercolourists but you will certainly become skilled at looking at the world around you and enjoying what you see.

Whether you are a beginner or someone returning to art now you have more time, the best way to develop your interest is to join a local class or art group. Day time classes cater for all age groups and you are unlikely to be the oldest in the class. Or you might prefer an evening class at somewhere such as the City Lit in central London. By joining a class you will be able to learn about what materials to buy to get you started - and, best of all - you'll meet fellow artists and have fun!

PS If you want to see what I have learned since I retired please look at my Blog. It's at http://chrisbakerwatercolours.wordpress.com  and do get in touch.

A few years ago I  joined a local group of highly experienced artists (all more talented than me, so I can learn a lot) .
The group I joined is the Highgate Watercolour Group - they have a web site at http://www.highgatewatercolour.org.uk/  and I have some of my paintings there .


Once you gain confidence you could enter competitions.  So there is so much enjoyment to be had in stretching yourself and immersing yourself in a pursuit as wonderful as this!  See competitions below for details.


Below are some ideas about getting started. It would be great if you could add your own thoughts. My e-mail is at the beginning and end of this post.


Artists groups

The Painters Online website, which is maintained by the publishers of the magazines the Artist and Leisure Painter, has a database of arts groups across the UK and a lot of other really useful information (including a list of open competitions). See

http://www.painters-online.co.uk/clubs/ for details
Books and other resources on watercolours

Beginner Soar     Gentleman         Book-about-drawing


      * Watercolours for the Absolute Beginner, by Crawshaw, Finmark and Waugh, is a useful introduction - or revision of basic techniques  

* Learn to Paint Vibrant Watercolours, by Hazel Soan, gives a good overview with some demonstrations. A DVD is also available,

 * and for inspiration from an artist, now in his eighties:

      London, You're Beautiful, an Artists Year, by David Gentleman

 *   Again for inspiration take a look at A Short Book about Drawing, by Andrew Marr

There are a also a large number of DVDs you can look at. The advantage of DVDs is that you can see professional artists demonstrate works from the first wash through to completion. They help show the craft aspect of watercolour. Quite a few demos are available free on Youtube.


The latest competition for over 60s by the Oldie

The  OldieOldie magazine's annual competition for the Oldie British Artist
is often announced in the Autumn edition - the closing date for the next one will probably be in May.

...so a bit of time to prepare.

Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour annual open exhibition runs at the beginning of each year. The standards are quite high for entry, but it is also an opportunity to get ideas. 
Bankside Gallery,
48 Hopton Street,
SE1 9JH.
Tel: 020 7928 7521

 "The RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition is an annual competition open to non-Members. It aims to encourage innovation and experimentation in watercolour painting, spanning work on paper in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, pen & ink and watercolour mixed media. Artists may enter up to three works which, if selected, are exhibited at Bankside Gallery, the home of the Royal Watercolour Society."

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) annual open competition also is a feature of the first part of the year.
Venue: Mall Galleries,
The Mall,
London SW1.
Tel: 020 7930 6844

Time to prepare for next year now!

The Artist Magazine also runs competitions so keep a look out.


Arts and community centres often offer courses. Local Libraries often keep info.

In London organisations such as the City LIt: www.citylit.ac.uk  and the Hamstead Garden Suburb Institute; www.hgsi.aci.uk have a good range of courses. There are also a large number of private art schools. Again for London, Floodlight is a good source of information: www.floodlight.co.uk

Another way to develop your interest is to join a painting holiday.
West Dean College near Chichester runs summer schools and all year round short courses www.westdean.org.uk  There are many others including the Friendship Travel company which has a wide range of activity holidays: www.friendshiptravel.com 


Atlantis Art has its headquarters in Brick Lane, East London and it is a great place to see what's available and to buy a range of paints, brushes and papers.


Cass Art have a good number of stores in London and are a great source of reasonably priced materials and helpful advice. www.cassart.co.uk
NEW: CASS Art now supply goods Online, though I must admit I prefer to browse their shops first. If you are signed up for an art class you can claim a 15%  student discount at CASS from time to time.

London area
    London Graphics Centre - Covent Garden, 16 Shelton Street, London WC2;                         tel 020 7759 4500;    www.londongraphics.co.uk.
    Daler Rowney Percy Street, 12 Percy Street, London W1T; tel 020 7636 8241;
    The Handmade Paper Company Ltd 16 Daleham Gardens, London NW3;
        tel 020 7435 8008;     www.handmadepaper.co.uk.
    Roberson, C and Co Ltd (brushes);  1a Hercules Street, London  N7;
        tel 020 7272 0667.
    Winsor & Newton Ltd, Whitefriars Avenue, Harrow, London HA3;
        tel 020 8424 3200;  www.winsornewton.com.
Of course there are many more suppliers available, for example: Jacksons Art Supplies.

Exhibitions - see competitions above  but please add please add your contribution to this section

see also

http://www.painters-online.co.uk (home page)

Framimg  You can buy ready made frames but I have recently found a really good wholesale supplier based in Basingstoke called "The Readymade Picture Frame Company"


The large galleries in London do have collections of watercolours but they are not always on display as often as their collections of oils and paintings in other media. You may like to visit some of the smaller ones. Two that come to mind are the Royal Watercolour Society at Bankside and The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours which exhibits at the Mall Galleries. These two have a special interest in the media.
Their addresses are given above in the section about competitions and below in the Societies entry..

Current or recent at Bankside

The Royal Watercolour Society: Spring exhibition see http://www.banksidegallery.com/  for more



And at the Mall
See: http://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions





with material on watercolours (references and info about)  There are a large number, two popular ones are listed below but you may have others to add:

                                           Artist-mag            Art-of-watercolour
The Artist has online content on a site entitled Painters Online. It also has a useful digest of competitions listed by month, giving some really useful details. And it has demonstrations of how the artists have built up their work through the various stages of development as well as lists of community art groups and courses. Highly recommended! Also a new find for me is a magazine called The Art of Watercolour. It's an international publication dedicated solely to watercolour. It's comprehensive but quite expensive - though unlike the Artist - it doesn't come out every month.

Online Learning
There are a number of sites online which can be freely accessed. For example, the Society for All Artists has a channel on You Tube. There are demos - very good for complete beginners - on techniques for painting with Watercolour, acryllics and other media. They sell materials and DVDs, too. See: The Painting and Drawing Channel.

Paints: choosing

One site has a very comprehensive guide to choosing which brand of paints to use is to be found here: http://wonderstreet.com/blog/which-brand-of-watercolour-should-you-choose

Publish your work online

There are a lot of free websites you can sign up to. Wordpress and Blogspot are probably the best known. My wordpress site is shown just above these directory pages if you would like to see an example. I've discovered that there is a good community of fellow artists out there who can give you encouragement.

       Royal Watercolour Society - exhibitions every two months at the Bankside
                 Gallery, beside Tate Modern
       Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours

       Mall Galleries. Contact via Mall Galleries: 020 7930 6844


        Society for all artists www.saa.co.uk - are mainly suppliers but they also have an annual summer show, now held in Bristol and Manchester, where you can see live demos and join workshops as well as buy books, DVDs and materials.

Sources of information or advice

This is something we could share - please add ideas

Here are some lovely stll life, botantical and landscape paintings by a fellow artist, Valerie Clapham, working in Somerset:

Still life Rose  Country Lane

And here's an image of "West End Impressions" by Nicky Scott-Francis                                       


Please send your contributions

contact me at:

and see my work at http://chrisbakerwatercolours.wordpress.com

























Chris Baker, 21/11/2015