Ideas to keep us painting and minimise the sense of isolation:

This page will be updated weekly with links and ideas to keep members painting in this time of uncertainty and postponement/cancellation of our social contact events.

If you have paintings resulting from the suggestions here that you would like to share, please email them to (we will take this as permission to share them on this website and the Society's FaceBook page).

Happy painting and stay safe    


Don't forget to send in some of your paintings/drawings.

Take a look back at previous weeks if you are signing in for the first time or just looking occasionally rather than weekly- some links may stop being available over time, but many will be there for the long haul. 

Week 17 (11th July 2020)

Patchings Festival is online this year: 

There is a lot to browse with video demos to view, links to workshops, free project downloads and offers. Live demonstrations from 11-12 by Matthew Palmer on Saturday and Alison Board on Sunday. Also the opportunity to see the winning paintings in this year's TALP (The Artist & Leisure Painter) Open competition and vote for your favourite.

The weekly drawing challenge from Artist & Illustrator magazine has the theme "Going Out" (see link in last week's post). You can use the theme for motivation even if you don't want to submit an entry.

As Museums and Galleries begin to open, it might be useful to keep an eye on this site for updates if you are thinking of venturing forth. It will be updated as changes are announced. 

Week 16 (4th July 2020)

This coming week would have seen us plein air painting at Frensham Pond if we had not had to cancel our Summer days out. Take inspiration from this and paint scenes of a boating lake, anglers, or lakeside beachgoers; perhaps you have photos from earlier visits to use as reference.

It would also have been Alton's Last Night of the Proms in the Town gardens  on Saturday followed by the new Eco Fair on Sunday - 2 more cancelled events we could take inspiration from. Musicians, singers, happy crowds waving flags, picnics in the park. Alternatively, the eco-theme could see you painting scenes of erosion, plastic waste, deforestation or new growth, beachcombing clean-up crews, or a myriad of other subjects. Let your imagination run riot.

The weekly drawing challenge continues from Artist & Illustrator magazine; another source of inspiration even if you choose not to send in an entry.

Week 15 (27th June 2020)

As lockdown eases, many of us will choose caution and stay at home a while longer, so this page will be continuing weekly for the present.

We have had some varied Summer weather over the past week, and I thought I would try to give you some Summery inspiration: sun, rain, beaches etc.



Try your hand at a seascape/ a collection of shells/ a boat or beach scene this week.

Also some ephemeral watercolour work to inspire: watercolor-paintings-gunnel-moheim

If you want to visit a gallery, why not try one of these for inspiration:



Keep sending in your work please and stay safe.

Week 14 (20th June 2020)

Apologies for the slightly delayed posting this week. Even in these times, sometimes life gets in the way of things and this time it was baking (mostly). 

I hope you have had the chance to enjoy some of the artist demos that were on last week -pity there were some technical issues but well worth persisting. Don't forget they are still available to view.

This week I thought I would spark your creativity with some alternatives to traditional brush painting, though you can take that inspiration back to your brushes if you prefer. 

Take a look at these alternatives and techniques, then maybe try something new: 

palette-knife-painting an introduction

painting-techniques  a range of techniques not using brushes

golsa-golchini-tiny-figure-paintings  Impasto and modern technology combined (but you could always try using a brush for the whole of it!)

ian-berry-denimu-denim-paintings  traditional images in a non-traditional medium (though he also does 3d work)

string-art-ben-koracevic  string as the body of work, not just a drawing tool

marta-grossi-sink-art  an inspirational use of what was to hand in lockdown Italy.

Week 13 (13th June 2020) 6 SAA artists - Denise Allen, Alison Board, Jeremy Ford, Ali Hargreaves, Sharon Hurst and Matthew Palmer are doing a series of live demonstrations at 7pm over 7 days from 14-19th June. You do not need a Facebook account to watch these. If a pop-up asks you to sign in or log on, you can click on the small "not now" text at the bottom and you will be able to continue to view the page. They will be saved for later viewing if you can't watch live. It is worth knowing that each of these artists has their own website where you can find additional demonstrations and information about them, their work and techniques.

Short Poses RSA Life drawing This is a series of fortnightly posts of a short pose taken from the 2018 Life Drawing Live event at the RSA. There are already 3 poses which you can view, with the 4th due soon. If you would like to try a short pose, here's an opportunity. The full event from 2018 is also available to rewatch (not being live now, you can pause it if there is a pose you like, you need more time on something, or 'rewind' to revisit a pose). Lots of options for figure work.

A thoughtful little snippet:  pavement art to make you smile

Week 12 (6th June 2020)

While lockdown has eased, many of us are still shielding or at least being wary of the easing, so this blog will continue for the foreseeable future to provide support, ideas and inspiration.

Where has our lovely weather gone! Perhaps it is time for indoor work until the gardens are sunny enough to paint out again. We had been due to paint in Anna's garden on Thursday, but this has been cancelled - if the weather picks up by then, perhaps our own gardens will be offering something new. In the meantime, you may be interested to consider now opened up to all and entry extended to August. 

A little more inspiration for your sketchbooksalicia-aradilla-sketchbook It may be a while before you can travel again, but photos from past travels or using google earth to visit different locations could get you started.

animal-drawings-mark-powell this link shows you don't even need your sketchbook, just a means to draw and a surface to work on!

None of us will be working on this scale (at least at the moment), but I have included this article on the artist Christo christo-tribute for the colour, vision and overall impact.

Stay safe and keep painting.

 Work in progress Mary W


Week 11 (30th May 2020)

Wow, those SAA demonstrations last weekend were super! They are still available to watch if you missed them and a heads up - they will be doing more over 7 days from 14-19th June at 7pm (again they will be saved for later viewing if you can't watch live. The link in last week's post will work to get you there.

A few links this week to stimulate your imaginations. The first to encourage loose working and really looking at the subject: Howard Tangye  and the second a reminder of perspective for those who want to work in a more structured way: Drawing from 1 point perspective

For all watercolourists, take inspiration from a Russian painter: eleanor-mill-architectural-watercolors and get your brushes out. 

Don't forget your sketchbooks seascape-plein-air-paintings-fidan-zaman there is always something to sketch/draw/paint wherever you are.

I will leave you to choose a subject this week and hope these links and the continued good weather inspire you to get your paints out.

Week 10 (23rd May 2020)

Live Demonstrations: The SAA is doing a series of live demonstrations on Sunday & Monday this Bank holiday weekend. These will be on their Facebook page but as they are public events, you can watch them even if you don't have an account.  They will also be available to watch (possibly for a limited period of time) after the livestreams, so if you miss them this weekend, or want to do more later in the week, it is possible by clicking on the video link on the Facebook page.SAA artist demo days on Facebook (If a pop-up asks you to sign in or log on, you can click on the small "not now" text at the bottom and you will be able to continue to view the page).

The Artists & Illustrators Magazine has been running a weekly Lockdown Drawing competition for the last 2 weeks with the topics "Kitchen" and "Portraits". You can see the results of the past two weeks and find a link to week three's topic here: artistsandillustrators lockdown-drawing-challenge Entering or not is your choice, but this could be a good source of weekly inspiration for however long they continue.

Keeping to local events, this weekend was scheduled to be the re-enactment of The Battle of Alton. If you have photos of past events, this would be an opportunity to make good use of them.

                                           Water based oils by Mary W   

Week 9 (16th May 2020)  

I hope some of you caught this program on BBC4 on Tuesday -I didn't know about it until after last week's post. If you missed it, it's still available to view for about 3 weeks so take advantage of the opportunity of a life model in your living room. life-drawing-live-series-1-drawing-the-nation-together 

With lockdown eased, but confidence in the wisdom of this still low, I invite you to go out virtually to explore galleries in Santa Fe georgia-o-keeffe-museum, in Denmark skagens-museum and in Columbia museo-de-arte-contemporaneo-de-bogotaThis will surely be a safer way to do a day trip than venturing out in the UK at present.

I have not left our property since a few days before the lockdown started 8 weeks ago and am currently shielding, so don't anticipate venturing forth for quite a long time. If you are out walking for exercise or day tripping somewhere, do take a sketchbook and share some of your jottings for those of us not out and about.

We were due to have a plein air painting day in Selborne on Tuesday 19th, unfortunately that won't be happening. Those of you with an architectural leaning might like to use this week to sketch Gilbert White's House from your own photos or by browsing internet images. Others might like to take a leaf out of Gilbert's book and do a nature based piece.

Week 8 (9th May 2020): VE Day

With the 75th anniversary of VE Day, you may be inspired to paint from an historical perspective. If tempted by the street parties of recent years, or the social distancing ones of this year, you will need to include people. Some artists are hesitant about putting figures into their paintings, so I have included a link to a video relating to this. Adding figures in paintings This could be useful whenever you want to paint scenes with figures.

leonardo-da-vincis-notebooks for anyone wanting further historical inspiration, the V&A has provided online access to  Leonardo's notebooks with some context and the possibility of browsing the notebooks' pages.

This week's challenge, should you wish to try something outside your normal style, is to try using the fragmented forms and deconstructed shapes of Cubism in a piece. Choose a subject and use this link to for inspiration: what-is-cubism

 Mary W pastel on paper 'Fields, Brick Kiln Lane'

Week 7 (2nd May 2020)

This week I would like to set you the challenge of choosing a book, or a quote from a book to illustrate in some way. To get you started (and feel free to use this one if you wish) here is a quote from Oscar Wilde: "With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?" Looking forward to seeing some fabulous interpretations, so please send them in.

If you are missing attending workshops, these may be of interest. Rather than a fee, there is a voluntary donation of £10 for the Trussell Trust - a food charity. Video Tutorials   I don't have any information on the quality of these, so some feedback would be great if you choose to try one out. Of course there are also many free tutorials available on youtube should you want to browse for something that takes your fancy.

Until 7th May, submissions on the subject "view from my window" are being accepted for "Grayson's Art Club" episode 4. If you have something from our week 2 topic on this, you might like to send it in? See details in week 5 notes.

Week 6 (25th April 2020) ANZAC Day: A day of remembrance for Australians & New Zealanders

I hear some of you are running short on images/ideas for inspiration. A useful site with plenty to choose from is: Free source photos "safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist - even for commercial purposes". That said, if you use these, you do so at your own discretion and not with any permission as such from AAS, so read the information on the website if you plan to sell any paintings you produce.

Artists can always find a way. Those of you with family members working from home may relate to Banksy's situation. Or perhaps his wife's!  Banksy-lockdown-artwork  While on the subject of street art, perhaps a stroll through some of Paris's might give you inspiration (to paint, not to go out!) Paris-street-art

For anyone wanting a specific challenge (ie not wanting to disappear down a rabbit hole looking at all the possible options these links provide), this week I suggest:

A reflective surface - be it a metal object; a glass pane in a building/vehicle/whatever; a pair of spectacles; or something else as long as it has a reflective surface. It can be the subject of your painting or just a part of it, but send in your results if you're willing.

Week 5 (18th April 2020)

"Grayson's Art Club"  may be of interest to members. coronavirus-lockdown-creativity-continues-with-grayson-perry's-art-club-and-the-isolation-art-school  (Also consider following the link in the article to The Isolation Art School).

Scheduled to start on Channel 4 on 16th April, it has been delayed until 27th, so there is still time to submit your art for inclusion in the second episode of the show if you wish:   There will be 6 weekly programs each with different themes - week one is portraits, week two animals. 

Ideas for this week are: A self portrait, or portrait of someone else. If you would rather concentrate on something smaller: your eye and eyebrow (try observing from real life), your foot or your hand. Solves the problem of getting a patient sitter if you draw yourself.

While April in Paris seems to be out of the question at present, you can still take inspiration from the artwork to be found there.: paris-museums-put-100000-images-online-for-unrestricted-public-use  

Thanks to Joanne for pointing me in the direction of much of this week's content.

Bluebell Woods in acrylic ink                                              and in pastels both by Joanne May

Week 4 (11th April 2020) Happy Easter

In this age of instagram when people photograph their food, I was interested to come across an article about a Japanese man who has drawn his meals for over 30 years:  Japanese artist - food drawings

This week, why not take a leaf out of his book and draw a meal, or a food based still life. It could be a painting, or something for your sketchbook for those who have taken up last week's suggestion - even a daily sketchbook challenge!

Alternatively, why not try a "Blue period" this week like Picasso - paint any subject using only monochromatic blues and blue-greens. For inspiration (or just to enjoy) take a look at:  Picasso and paper at Royal Academy Virtual tour

For those who fancy something architectural and have already drawn their home from every angle, why not visit the Globe Theater. You can use the Virtual tour to select a view from the stage, the audience or towards the 'roof' - whatever takes your fancy. Then try your hand at getting the perspective sorted with or without the camera distortions.


A lovely idea from Liz to include a note for the postie when keeping in touch with friends (turning old paintings into cards too).

Week 3 (4th April 2020)

"Home-Thoughts From Abroad" by Robert Browning ............ Thanks to Ann for this suggestion

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning unaware,
That the lowest boughs and.the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

We have been very lucky weatherwise so far - fingers crossed this will continue.This week venture into the garden and take inspiration from the plants, garden birds and for some, perhaps other wildlife as nature carries on regardless. If you don't have a garden, or the weather doesn't hold, perhaps illustrate the poem.

Our April workshop was planned for today (4th), so consider trying your hand at some mixed media

Subjects to consider whatever media you choose:

 A vase of flowers 

A collection of favourite objects

Sketchbooks are a great way to keep you active with your art even when you have limited time - I have found being at home all the time has meant I can't overlook the need for spring cleaning or the fact the garden will become a jungle if I don't do something with it. Over the last couple of years I have been carrying a sketchbook with me and trying to dip into it as often as I can. Anytime you have a few minutes to spare, draw whatever happens to be around you - previously I have opened mine in coffee shops drawing unsuspecting fellow customers; on countryside walks; city spots that catch my eye; whenever and wherever I have travelled be it on a day visit or longer; odds and ends around the house when nothing else is to hand. This last one is what we have now, so try taking inspiration from anything and everything around your home. Drawing often keeps your eye in and helps to maintain and build skill. You don't need to be working on a masterpiece all the time, just draw! If you haven't tried keeping a sketchbook before, now's the time.

  A page from K's sketchbook

On Thursday evenings put your feet up and go to the theatre:

Week 2 (28th March 2020)

While we are on lockdown, mostly confined to our own homes, now might be a good time to take inspiration from some of the great artists. Take a look at the following article for inspiration, or just choose a view from your window that appeals to you - you can make the view, the window itself or the room including a window your subject, whichever inspires you most.

Lots of people are offering free access to their resources for a limited time. Try this one for 5 free "lessons" - 2 back to basics, 2 animal and 1 landscape painting/drawing ideas. Available for 4 weeks from 16th March. It's also worth looking around the website at other articles - while not video lessons, several of them "talk through" and illustrate ideas.
If you want to remove yourself (mentally) from your own space for a while try the penguin cam at Santiago Zoo. There is a live feed (but they are several hours behind the UK) and also recorded sessions which you can watch anytime. Cute subjects for a painting or at the very least a reason to smile.

Don't forget to send in some of your paintings/drawings.

Week 1 (21st March 2020)

We were scheduled to have a demonstration in oils today, so if you have some oil paints you have been meaning to have a go with, why not do it this week? Alternatively pick a medium of your choice and see if one of the following subjects catches your fancy.

Your favourite coffee mug

A tranquil lake scene

Your pet