Watercolour workshop with Ruth Baker

IMG_0911Nine regular Lewes Community Allotment clients attended a special plant and wildlife-themed art session that Flourish organised to take place on Wednesday 20 July. This was run by Ruth Baker, a local watercolour artist. The art class was held at the St Nicholas Day Centre instead of our allotment, because of the extremely hot weather. This was useful in terms of spreading out and being able to change water frequently.

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Things we learnt

Some people had tried watercolours before, but not with a trained artist.

Ruth started by explaining about the three primary colours - red, blue and yellow. Participants painted a shape of their choice in each colour, using water to add tone.

We then put dots of two primary colours next to each other and merged them to make secondary colours. All results were different depending on how much water was used, but the lovely thing was that there was no wrong results!

We used a water dropper, and people developed skills and confidence using watercolour paints and brushes.

When people felt a bit more confident about mixing the colours, we went on to paint colour was boxes and flicked red dots onto one, then drew green lines down from the dots to make simple but effective flower pictures. On the other box we painted a darker wash in a hill shape - again, all were different, but all were right, which felt good for all.


This was a very good exercise in building people’s confidence of choice (shapes, amount of colour/water, sizes) and those who were hesitant to start were much happier to put the brush to paper by the end.

People helped each other with changing water, cleaning plates, squeezing paint etc.

We went outside at break and had a look at things that could be painted another time.

Ruth spoke about her painting, how long it takes, how she sells work, showed examples and postcards, to give an insight into life as a painter.

People showed a lot of interest and asked lots of questions. Everyone enjoyed the session.

Words and photos by Sarah Rideout, Lewes Community Allotment Coordinator