Anna’s Art Class

Art With Anna – Art Class online:

January 2021 Update:

Hi Everyone,

Following the recent guidelines, Thursday’s Art with Anna will be run online using Google Classroom.

Recent studies in class included some discussion about the idea of “Chiaroscura” looking at Caravaggio and Artemesia Gentilleschi.

In class today, I briefly talked about these paintings by Chardin – 1. “The School Mistress” 1736 (National gallery) and 2. “Still Life with Silver Cup”, 1768 (Louvre).

Chardin (1699-1779) was a French, 18th century artist, contemporary of Boucher and Fragonard who were know for their florid, Rococo style of painting – the height of fashion at the time. Chardin achieved fame early in his life with his quiet, homely still lifes which were painted simply and directly with well-balanced compositions. Their small size and simple subject matter followed the style of the Dutch Golden era, which were very popular in France at the time, so his work appealed to both Bourgeoisie and Royalty alike. Chardin’s father was a carpenter, so Chardin was educated in practical skills, but he showed an early talent for painting and soon enrolled in the Guild of St Luke as a Master Painter. Later, when friends suggested he should become more ambitious, he started to paint figures and domestic scenes. His figure paintings are reminiscent of Vermeer; the poses and unspoken exchanges between the figures making them so poignant and atmospheric. Figure compositions were considered a step up from still life, and might allow him entry to the Paris Academy. He was eventually accepted and became a councillor of the Academy in 1755, but he never became Rector or Professor as these posts were reserved for History painters.


Hi everyone,

November Update 2020.

Following the recent guidelines for National Lockdown from 4th November 2020, Art with Anna Art-class will be run online until Lockdown is lifted on 2nd December.

September Update 2020.

In spite of the on-going Covid situation, classes at Wanstead House and Buckhurst Hill Community Association will be continuing, albeit with the relevant restrictions in place. As they are both centres where educational courses take place, we are delighted to advise that courses which are run by a tutor in a Covid-safe centre, such as WHCA and BHCA are able to continue. Each centre has their own set of restrictions and students are informed of these when they enrol. Art with Anna, therefore, has been running at Wanstead House this term and is set to continue for the foreseeable future.  If you would like further information about Art with Anna at Wanstead House, please email Anna via the contact page on this website and she will send you further information. Thank you.

WCpeoniesSMWatercolour Workshop at Bedford House Community Association

For 3 weeks in August, I ran a short course called

“Painting Flowers in Watercolours”

With all the Covid restrictions it’s been difficult, but, it’s been amazing how everyone has adapted to the situation! Firstly, Bedford House set up their building to make it Covid-19 proof – as Covid-19 proof as you can be, with all the regular guidance for everybody – not an easy task! Secondly, they have set up a Summer School programme, covering a range of arts and leisure courses in Bedford House for the month of August. This has been great for tutors like me, who have been a bit nervous about getting back into teaching face-to-face in the current situation – so I now feel prepared to start my regular classes in September. Thirdly, I have been lucky enough to have a group of students who have tackled “Flowers in Watercolours” with interest and enthusiasm – they have worked beautifully together as a group and they have been a pleasure to teach! Some have been painting for a while, some were complete beginners, but all were focussed on watercolours.

Pink Flower 1

A few points of interest: in the hot weather for the first two weeks, Bedford House put up large gazebos in the garden and the classes were taken outside, which was delightful and made the heat much more bearable as there was a lovely breeze! In the last week, we were inside, but we used two class-rooms to accommodate the 10 students in a socially-distanced way. Thirdly, as a tutor, I continued to practice my techy skills producing hand-outs for students as well as two new videos to show them the tricky task of drawing and painting roses.  Below you will see some photos of the Roses and Japanese Anemones we were painting and the links for the videos are here too – my one regret is that I didn’t take any photos of the group – but I will hopefully see them again at Bedford House in the near future – some students signed up for my weekly class at Bedford House! Thanks so much to all the students for coming along and thank you to Bedford House!

For the Bedford House website, go to:

For my short videos on Watercolours, go to:

Anna’s Art Class Online:

Class No. 8 “Boat Sunset with Glazes”

This is an exercise to see if you can get the hang of using Glazes in watercolours.

A Glaze is a technique with the brush where you lay an area of colour over other colours without disturbing the first colour.

If you look at this image, you will see that the sails in grey are laid over the top of the sunset background. You can see, especially in the larger sail, the background sunset changing colour through the sail This shows that the sunset colours have not been disturbed by the second wash of colour.

The other point to note is that the whole of the sail area is similar in tone all over. That is because the whole of each sail was painted in one go.

ie. the whole shape was completed before any of that shape started to dry. This is the essence of a Glaze.

The rest of the details, ie. the details of the boats, the people and the foreground (you may spot some dry-brush here) were painted after the large sail areas, and mainly in the “Sketching with the Brush” method. You would need to leave the Sails to dry before doing this.

NB I have used a blue-grey for the sails rather than the orange in the photo, but you can use the orange or any other colour if you like.

Have a go and see if you can build up the image using the skills you have learnt this term.

Felix Scribo

Anna’s Art Class online:

Class No.7 “Pen and Watercolour”


Anna’s Art Class online:

Class No.7 “Pen and Watercolour”

Having done a fair bit of watercolours over the last few weeks, I’d like you to have the chance to try  pen with watercolours, which offers an alternative and sometimes quicker way to get a finished product.

You can try this with your small sketchbook or with a small piece of watercolour paper, on the basis that you may be outside sketching or on holiday (we wish!) and you want to travel light.

The images below were done with Faber Castell PITT artist pen, followed by watercolours, in an ordinary cartridge paper sketchbook.

You will need:

A drawing pen; this could be a Rotring pen, a dip-pen, or a fibre-tipped art pen. If not you can try using any black ball-point gel-pen, a black fibre-tipped pen or biro – just try it out with water to see if the ink is permanent, ie, if you go over the dry drawn line with a wet brush, it stays in place and doesn’t “bleed”. As I don’t have any art pens at the moment, I am going to try using an ordinary black biro.

Your regular watercolours, or even better, a small travelling set of watercolours in “pans” rather than tubes.

Water and brushes as usual.

Any watercolour paper would be best, but if not available, use cartridge paper.

You can use any subject you have to hand, from life or from a photo, just to try the method.

1. Lightly sketch out your image onto the watercolour paper in pen.

2. When you are sure the ink is dry, start to add your first layer of watercolours. You could try the wet-in-wet technique to start with, as with the “Footpath” project, to get the main light colours down first.

3. After that, you can strengthen the sketch with the “Sketching with the Brush” method outlined earlier in the term.

4. Build up the tones with some “Stippling”, as with the trees.

Really, it’s a chance to put into practice all you have learnt in watercolours, but with the back-up of pen-work so that you can more easily see where you are going. You may be able to use the pen to add detail that would normally be tricky with watercolours alone.

Small exercises or sketches are best to start with – I am going to try a simple sunset on a small scale, hopefully to send to Wanstead House. See below the Sunset image I am going to use, as well as two pen and watercolour images I did last year. These took quite a long time, the Sunset shouldn’t take so long, as it is much simpler.

Happy sketching, Anna.

Lockdown Art Class online:

28th April 2020. Class No.5 “Fluffy Clouds in Watercolour”

So far we have been working onto dry paper with a straight-forward sketching technique.

Here, you will see the next stage in creating a watercolour painting: creating the back-ground sky, covering the whole paper, onto which you can add the fore-ground of your choice.

Here, you will find out how to create a blue sky with white, fluffy clouds, a useful back-drop for any landscape painting.

It is also very important to appreciate the difference between working on wet paper and working on dry paper. “Wet-in-wet”, where the paper is wet before you add the colour, enables the artist to add colour without the crisp edges that you get when working on dry paper – the edges will be soft and the colour will be fluid until the paint starts to “set” into the paper.

Please use the following link to watch the video “Fluffy Clouds”:

Then you can use your own photo of fluffy clouds and produce the image using the wet-in-wet technique (or print out the photo attached here).

Leave the painting to dry before adding the foreground of your choice, going back to the sketching technique used last week.

Lockdown Art Class online:

21st April 2020. Class No.4: “Sketching with the Brush: Bird Bath”

An exercise in sketching in watercolours, you can watch my next demonstration in Vimeo, on this link:

As last week, try sketching something in and around your house and/or garden. See if you can spot the following techniques or activities in the demo:

Sketching with the Brush;

Dry Brush (brush on the side or dragged);

Negative Painting/Negative Spaces;

Stippling (brush vertical);

Glazes (for shadows);

Making changes to your “drawing”;

Lifting out “puddles”;

Use of “Local Colour”, rather than just the limited greys.

Hope you enjoy it, Anna.

Lockdown Art Class online: 7th April 2020.

Class No. 3: “Sketching with the Brush: Fish-bowl”

One way into working in watercolours is to just pick up a brush and start using it AS IF IT IS A PENCIL – ie. try not to think about it being a brush, just think as though you were going to do a normal pencil sketch. You can watch a video of a short sketch I did in the garden the other day – I used neutral colours, plus a green for the planting – so virtually no colour to think about – go to the link below.

Whilst you are watching it, try and look out for the following techniques; some will be more obvious than others.

Sketching with the brush


Stippling (brush vertical)

Drybrush (brush horizontal or dragged)

Shadows (glazing)

Paper dams (gaps of dry paper between brush strokes)

Hard edges v. soft edges

Negative painting or negative shapes.

Pick a small area in your house or garden and see if you can do a sketch including some of the techniques above. Just keep practising.

Lockdown: Anna’s Art Class online.

30th March 2020 Lesson 2: “Through the Window”


Here is a painting by Henri Matisse, “Open Window”, 1918 which he made when he was in Nice. The size is 60 x 47 cm. Beside it is a sketch I made from my back door. You may not have a lovely sea view at the moment, but you might have a garden view you would like to draw or you might have an interesting alternative view, such as the view down the street, or a view onto other buildings. Whatever you can see from your window, it will be your own unique view and it would be great if you can sketch it in pencil, or charcoal if you prefer, as part of your Daily Sketch project.

Alternatively: If you really are not inspired by the real world as it is at the moment, try taking Matisse’s painting, copying the window part and then putting in a view of your own choice – from another image or from your imagination.

Enjoy your work!


Lockdown: Anna’s Art Class online.

23rd March 2020 Lesson 1: “A Cup of Tea”

Hi Everyone,

next time you have a cup of tea or coffee, when you have finished it, do a drawing of it, wherever it is.

This can be in biro, in your small sketch-book.

This will give you practice in cross-hatching, ellipses, perspective and, if the mug/cup has pattern on it, surface pattern.

By using biro or any other kind of pen, you will also be practising drawing without rubbing out, which is good experience: I usually start light, and then when I am sure of positioning etc. I begin to work more heavily, adding shading and further detail. See my example above.

When you have finished, if you can photograph it and upload it to your facebook page, then tag me and I’ll have a look.

Happy Sketching,

Felix Scribo.