My new garden studio got going with students from near and far joining me for classes in the Autumn last year and Spring 2022.
Here is the new programme of classes for the summer. If the weather is kind, we will also have the option to enjoy painting in the garden. I hope there might be something to interest you.


All classes start at 10am and end at 4.30 – 5pm.
Studio open from 9.30am

Watch this space or sign up for my mailing list on the contact page here and be the first to get notifications when new classes are being offered.

Classes for June to September 2022

Sat/Sun June 18 / 19 – 2 day class
Expressive painting inspired by nature
Nature – the sky, beautiful light, trees, a flower, a corner of a garden, a vast vista, animals and birds and other wildlife, a wild sea, a burst of autumn colour….as painters we often have the experience of something in nature that urges us to linger and look more deeply. We want to capture the essence of it, and to express how we feel about our experience.

For this, our tools are paint, colour and mark making. No matter what the medium all paintings are created with marks. How we use these makes a huge difference to the final expression of the painting. Also helpful, is knowing or choosing how to begin.

The texture of the paint, the speed and manner of it arriving on the canvas, and the energy of the gesture, all affect the final result. For the best expressiveness we need a large vocabulary of marks – working directly from landscape and found objects or from sketches/photo references. This class explores all kinds of mark making, and techniques we can use to create expressive paintings inspired by nature.

Weds July 6 – 1 day class
All about Acrylics – colour, mediums, techniques
Acrylic paint is a very versatile medium for the artist. It is now well established and available in professional and student grade. But which is best?, Which colours do you really need?… and why?

There is also a bewildering range of acrylic mediums and additives which give a huge range of special and exciting effects. There are glaze mediums, thickeners, crackle mediums and tar mediums…and much more…but what do they all do and which are essential and which might be not worth the cost?

All this will be explained in this class and you can expect to come away knowing techniques of when and how to use these in painting. We will explore acrylics through working directly from landscape and still life set ups or from sketches/photo references.

Sun July 10 – 1 day class
Getting ‘looser’ in painting
Depending on your aim and style of painting, there are different degrees of ‘looseness’ and many ways of being ‘looser’. But usually this term means allowing the painterly marks to play an expressive role and be seen in the finished work. This aim is one many artists and students aspire to. If you are one of those, then this class could be just what you need to achieve your goal.

We will explore a variety of fun ways to break through any inner barriers to ‘getting looser’ using drawing, acrylics or oil paints. We will look at what ‘loose’ means from Rembrandt, to the Impressionists and up to the present day.

This is an opportunity to address any inner mental blocks – such as, ’I’m scared of making a mess!’ or technique based barriers – like ‘I don’t know how to add more colour without making mud!’. If you have any issues such as these which stop you from being looser, this class will introduce you to strategies for your painting practice which will help you overcome these.

Sun Aug 7 – 1 day class
Ink drawing – a freeing approach
I was taught this way of drawing many years ago and whenever I want to loosen up it is my ‘go to’ method. In this class we will use soft, Chinese style brushes and black waterproof ink. For those who don’t mind getting their hands inky, I will also share an oriental method of drawing with ink with with just the use of the hand and little finger nail. We will also explore the use of a fountain pen/water soluble pen and a water brush. These are my favourite tools for outdoor sketching because they are light and easy to carry. I find the expression possible through these minimal tools is amazing and, because of their nature, (they are hard to correct) help me be more decisive.

Sat/ Sun Sept 3 / 4 – 2 day class
The language of colour – making it sing!
As a painter who enjoys using colour expressively, colour, and how to understand it, and make it work, is my favourite topic for a class. I have been studying colour since I was at school. It is a huge topic and there is always something new to learn. At art school it was one of my specialist subjects … and it is ongoing. I have taught colour at post graduate level (Royal College of Art), to adult learners and to young artists in schools and everything in between.

In this class we will explore how to express mood and feeling through colour and discover how colour theory can help make your colours more expressive and personal. We will learn about limiting the palette, creating space with warm and cool, and how to use tonal and colour contrasts to lead the eye. The aim is to make colour a powerful element in your painting. As colour is so personal there is no one way to make it ‘sing’ but this class will introduce the main options in the painters toolkit to help you find your personal voice in colour.

Classes for April to May 2022

Weds 27th April – Half Day Class
Drawing for beginners
This fun introduction to drawing with help you begin to make observational drawings in pencil and charcoal. You will also learn how to start seeing the way an artist sees which is the key to good drawing. Absolutely no previous experience is needed.
All materials provided.

Thurs May 12 – 1 Day Class
Oil paint – how I use it
An over view of mediums, technique, process. Oil paint is a very sensuous and responsive medium and artists have enjoyed it for centuries. For some artists its slow drying can be a difficulty, but there are several fast drying mediums which can rectify this issue and allow a painting to progress more quickly. I mostly use these. In this class I will share my process of building a painting in layers, beginning with an acrylic underpainting and building up though glazing and impasto (thick) mediums in oils.
It can be as gestural or as controlled as you like and I will show methods for working with it in both ways and gve some tips for easy clear up and storing wet colour. 

Sun May 15 – 1 Day Class
Interpreting photo references for painting
Since the end of the 19th century painters have used photo references. They are very useful….and they are limited. When and how to use them can be helped by knowing about the drawbacks, and, taking the approach of ‘interpretation’ from the information they contain rather than ‘copying’. What are they really good for? What in them should be ignored? When would a sketch be better? This class will cover these and more, and show how to use photos to begin a work and/or use them as reference materials as you go along.  

Booking your place
Please follow the links in the course info to take you to my Shop where you can pay for the class. As there are only six places do book early to avoid disappointment.
Or, email me or use the contact form to get in touch with your booking and I will send you my bank info to pay online.
Unless the course is cancelled no refunds are possible. It may be possible to carry your booking forward to another class. If I have to cancel for any reason I will refund you in full.

Plan ahead for the summer!

August 13 – 20 2022.

My summer school workshop at COBER HILL, near Scarborough in Yorkshire has proved to be popular and is now full. As sometimes people have to cancel, do get in touch if you would like to be on the waiting list for a place on this course I intend to run a week long course each year at this lovely venue. Check it out at the link below and look out for 2023 dates which will be announced soon.

About the Garden Studio

Formerly a woodwork shed, I have worked on clearing and repurposing this during the long lockdown in 2020. It was slow in getting completed because of the difficulty of getting help at that time. It was full of machinery, sawdust and junk! However, with the help of a few trusty and willing friends, and the one or two reliable tradesmen I was lucky to find, it has been up and running since October 2021. It is ready to welcome you.

The house and garden are located a 2 minute walk from Lockerbie rail station and High Street. In the heart of the town, yet with a secluded, and private sunny garden.

The studio is light, spacious and well equipped with inspirational objects and – tables, easels, drawing boards, water pots, drawing and painting materials and equipment , rags, tape and all the other stuff we need for making art.

For most classes you should bring your own, paints, brushes and paper….but no need to lug drawing boards or easels or any of the heavy stuff, or the sometimes useful things like cling film, masking tape or tracing paper. All you need will be available to borrow if you are short of anything.

If you are a complete beginner, there is the option to hire what you need for the day for a small extra charge. No need to buy any materials or equipment before you come to a class.

The groups will be small, with a maximum of six students. There will be demos and slide shows, and the stimulus of sharing in a group, with plenty of time for one to one tuition as well.

The price includes tuition, course notes to take away and coffee, tea and biscuits – bring your own sandwiches for lunch.

Staying over
If you are coming from afar, there are several good hotels in Lockerbie. One a two minute walk away, another about 5 minute drive and there are several Air b and b choices. You will find them all online or get in touch and I can send you some contact information. The mainline rail station is two minutes away bringing you from Edinburgh or Glasgow in under an hour and from London, about 4 hours.

Dates for your diary

Creative Space with Bella
Monthly class for individual tuition and feedback
Try it for free!

This class runs mostly on the first Friday of each month. It started at the request of local artists who came to some of my classes last October. They wanted a flexible but ongoing class to do their own thing with help and some guidance from me. It runs from 10 – 5pm with personal tuition throughout the day. Also, for about an hour each class I will demo a technique or talk about colour or show some inspirational slides relevant to the ongoing work in the class.

Here are the dates for the next block of classes….there is one place left.
Autumn/Winter 2022
Sept 2 | Oct 7 | Nov 4 | Dec 2

If you would like to see if you would suit you, and get a feel for my approach, there are still two more days May 6 and July 1 in the current block.

These two places are FREE to the first two people to contact me.

Tuition for a four week block it is normally £260, or if you book two blocks of 4 classes
the cost is.£475

More Dates for your diary

Classes coming in the Autumn.

Here are the dates I plan to teach in the Garden Studio after the summer.

Titles and more info soon

Thurs Oct 13 – 1 day class

Sat/ Sun Oct 22/23 – 2 day class

Thurs Nov 3 – 1 day class

Sun Nov 13 – 1 day class

Sat/ Sun Nov 26/27 – 2 day class

Thurs Dec 1 – 1 day class