Watercolour Day for Beginners

Wet-wet technique, run-backs, granulating pigments and dry brush are used in the miniature seascape (Janine Pinion 2016).

Wet-in-wet, run-backs, granulating pigments and dry brush are used in this miniature seascape.

Friday 23rd September 10-3

Five hours of watercolour bliss in a small group (max 4) – open to all levels of artistic ability but with little or no experience of watercolour painting. Tuition in my studio near New Brighton, Wirral, close to the prom and historic Magazines area.

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Upcoming Dates for Watercolour Classes


All masterclasses 10am-3pm £45 (discounts for returners). This is an intensive day for those who prefer it to weekly classes and all or some materials are included. Maximum of four per group.

Masterclass 1 is for anyone new to watercolour painting, whether you’re a practising artist or starting out. Materials included. Friday 15th July (one space left); Saturday 16th July (one space left); further date to follow (four places)
Masterclass 2 is a follow-on day OR for those who have some experience of watercolour painting. Materials to supplement your own. Saturday 2nd July (full) & Friday 22nd July (two spaces left)
Masterclass 3 (coming soon!) is for those with more experience and will focus in more depth on advanced techniques and on my own particular approach. Bring your own materials, specialist materials provided.

How to book: send me your preferred class and dates via the contact form below.


Practice sessions are suitable either for those who have attended a Masterclass or who have some experience of watercolour painting but want to develop their skills further (not suitable for complete beginners). If you would like to come for informal tutoring for up to 3 hrs in a small group, let me know via the contact form below. Bring your own materials  (water containers and supplementary materials provided). 10am-1pm or 1pm-4pm £15 (dates coming shortly)


There has been some interest in a series of weekly classes, so I will be trying these soon, dates and prices to follow. Let me know if you are interested. I also tutor groups as a visiting artist, so please feel free to ask for details via the contact form below. If you would like to book a class in my studio for your group of up to four, do get in touch as I offer special rates.

Wirral Open Studio Tours 2016

Tomorrow I open my studio for the first time – in previous years I’ve shared or been in a venue – I’m feeling  both excited and anxious to get everything in order. Three of us are opening in New Brighton: Breda Whyte, Neal Dawson and myself, luckily all within a stone’s throw of each other in the Magazines area.

Not only are our studios open, but there is plenty to add to your visit: Vale Park, historic Magazines area, pub, vintage shops cafes etc, promenade and beach. That’ll give you a nice break before continuing your tour to other artists across Wirral – you can download a brochure with maps here: http://wirralart.com


Watercolour Masterclasses

Students practising their skills, February 2016After many requests to run classes, I have now opened my studio twice a month for up to four students per session. Although I intend to run short courses later in the year, for the moment I’m focussing on intensive days, starting with watercolour as that is the medium most artists feel is difficult.

In fact I find watercolours fascinating, and after initial difficulty (I won’t post my early attempts) it is much like learning to ride a bicycle – a shaky start but worth it for the wheelies in the end. There is a practical science to the combination of water, pigment, surface and implement. Once these are grasped, possibilities open up. Therefore I run my classes with lots of experiments combined with encouragement, reassurance and a few learning ‘anchors’ to prompt the memory and focus the nervous mind on the basic principles. Students then learn for themselves how these operate without too much talking from me.

Masterclasses will run on the second Tuesdays and third Saturdays of each month 10am-3pm and must be booked in advance (using the Contact form below). There will be plenty of individual tutoring, demonstrations and all materials are provided for you to try. Cost: £45 (including refreshments, but bring a packed lunch).

People can attend just one or several as they wish, and I will indicate whether the session is Initial, Returner or Improver. Masterclasses are open to all levels of artistic experience, so you are free to choose which level of watercolour level you are at.

Surrendering to Paint

Detail: Bow Wave (watercolour) work in progress

It’s happened again tonight, a delicious madness that ends in tears which merge, often literally, with the paint itself. I find myself on the other side of the room from my easel, not really sure how I got there, heart racing, gulping air and crying out. It sounds painful and in some ways it is, but it’s become a regular and welcome experience in my new work about the sea.

I suppose it could be like drowning, raw and visceral. I think painting the sea means touching the power of it and the cycles of tides and living species submerged in it through a process of examining what it looks and sounds and smells like, what it means, the stories it carries, the stories I carry, and so on.

Then there’s the technical stuff I really love – a flick of masking fluid here, some broad welts of squid-ink there, a fat hogshair brush or a sword-cut sable. I feel like a surgeon under my spotlight, selecting a series of precision tools. I’m slicing in, not knowing what I’ll find, checking I’ve got all the right settings, checking all the records I’ve gathered which culminate in this operation. I’ve painted this wave before but it’s not the wave I’m painting – I’m searching for something in the experience of this bow-wave; it’s not what I set out to do but it’s how I discover whatever it was that subconsciously drew my attention.

The paint runs and merges. I have a new brush, a filbert with whiskers which tickle the thick paper and send little snake tongues of acid yellow into a blend of phthalocyanine, alizarin and paynes grey. Across the lacy swirls of masking fluid it settles into small muddy dots on the surface and with a slap of lamp black the underside of the wave makes its presence known.

At once the feeling is of both power and vulnerability. The lacy spray of seawater/paint catches me unawares and I’m at the mercy of both the sea and the art itself. Against all the complexities of managing daily life this feels elemental and necessary!

Splash! New work from a summer by the sea.


I’m very lucky to have achieved my childhood dream of living by the sea and later resolving my adult dilemma of city or rural home. The area I live in has a curious maritime history of pirates and sea-shanties, a run of blossom-sweet cottages and its own castle walls where the Liscard Battery once was. Across the bay, a Manhattan-like view of Liverpool’s world famous waterfront is majestic by day as the ships dock and leave, and magical in the evening as the sun goes down and city lights begin to shine instead.

There’s that moment when the sky is a deep warm blue and the electric lights warmly amber that I find very appealing. Added to the view is the Mersey and sandbanks visited by hungry seabirds. As the tide goes out it is very pleasing to hear the sounds of water and birds and human life and look at the colours and shapes of pools left behind.

In the summer I ride out to Leasowe Bay where the sand is firm enough for me to enjoy a cycle along the water’s edge and if it’s warm enough, a swim. I’ve recently learned some digital photography skills and have recorded the patterns of the coast – waves, sandbanks and light, particularly lovely in the evening.

With all this at hand, there’s the risk of making art that is clichéd or that I can’t explore. I like a challenge; I like not being sure how I’m going to approach a subject or what is has to say to me.

One day I took a trip on Tuskar with Liverpool Bay Marine Life Trust. We sailed our way out and through the wind turbines, across to Hilbre Island and back. I felt raw and energised scooting through the swell and as we returned past New Brighton and turned into the estuary, I became mesmerised by the bow wave – the swell made as Tuskar sped through the tide – and the gash in it made by the boat’s hull. Clean jewel blues, blacks and greens offset by the white and creamy crusts of the wave top appeared in around forty pictures I took that day.

I began sketching and drawing in pencil and pen, producing several images and then developing works in watercolour and inks. As I painted, the painstaking detail of the distant town became a distraction and I ended up obscuring it with a dark pour of Phthalo, Veridian, Umber and Black mopped in places and spattered in others as I relived the excitement of the sail.

Personal Development Using Images – Two Workshops

Images: Understanding and Healing Relationships

Second of two workshops facilitated by Janine Pinion (Note: can be attended separately but for full benefit attend both)

Date & Time: Thursday, November 18th 2010 9:30am-4pm

Venue: Wirral Mind Fountain Project,90–92 Chester Street, Birkenhead

Relationships bring up our ‘stuff’ – our insecurities, assumptions, unmet needs, expectations etc. This may lead to patterns, perhaps a series of disappointments or the same frustrations occurring over and over. Spontaneous image-making offers a playful and insightful approach to explore and discover what’s really going on inside us about relationships. We can then imagine changes with awareness and go on to create images which feel satisfying. We will learn how to apply loving curiosity without judgement or interpretation to our own and others’ images.

Using Spontaneous Images for Personal Healing

First of two workshops facilitated by Janine Pinion (Note: can be attended separately but for full benefit attend both)

Date & Time: Thursday, October 21st 2010 9:30am-4pm

When we feel emotions, they are experienced in the body – what keeps us stuck and distressed are the thoughts, stories and beliefs going round and round in the mind. In this session, we will:

• Create spontaneous images which bypass ‘monkey mind’

• Explore using Person-centred skills to get straight to the heart of the matter

• Learn how to witness and facilitate the process for others

• Make space for our inner wisdom to speak to us.

We do this using chosen, imagined or drawn images – no artistic skills are required! We then apply loving curiosity without judgement or interpretation. Participants may also:

• Experience emotions and truths (‘aha’ moments)

• Feel an uplift in energy and awareness of choices with steps ahead

Masterclass Fri 24th April

I feel very honoured to be the first guest speaker at a series of Community Masterclasses hosted by North End Writers, Liverpool, on Friday 24th April at Newsham Park Lodge, Gardners Drive, Liverpool L6 7UR (just off Sheil Road).

The event is in the conference room – 6.30pm for tea & coffee, talk is 7pm – 8.30pm with time for Q & A and discussion.

I’ll be talking about my life in poetry, art and personal development – from early beginnings to how I made a living, and how I changed my approach so that it all became easier and inspiring after a tough start following old myths.  I’ll tell you about my 15-min rule and why Ted has travelled with me for nearly 50 years. Hope you can make it.

Many thanks to Pauline Rowe for organising this event.  For further details on North End Writers and their future programme of Community Masterclasses, visit the website at http://www.northendwriters.co.uk