Tony Osler – Committee member of the SEAW

What led you to start painting?

Having some sketches published in yachting mags

Do you have a preference for painting style? If so, can you describe it?

Speedy, under pressure!

Describe your perfect weekend

pottering about on my boat

A person who changed my life is:

ME! In the end you have to make life work for you!

If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Stop complaining and get on with it.

My favourite place to paint is (and why):

My hut down the garden. Not too hot or cold. No wind, no rain, no over the shoulder onlookers

Artists who inspire you:

Edward Seago, Laura Knight, and many others

The gallery I would always travel to visit is:

National Portrait Gallery

Your favourite colour to paint with?


Best piece of advice you were ever given about art

Paint what you know and love

Best piece of advice you were ever given about anything.

Do different!

More about Tony


SEAW gallery


What’s on in Watercolour

Where we share workshop and exhibition news from the world of watercolour in London and across East Anglia. Please let us know if you are aware of any watercolour events we haven’t listed. If you can’t find a workshop here, why not head over to our workshop page to see which of our members teach regular classes and workshops.

June 2019

  • Experimenting With Watercolour Negative Painting With Mo Childs: 29th June, Tindalls Ely

July 2019

August 2019

  • Three-day workshop with David Poxon RI:  9th, 10th and 11th August, Memorial Hall, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire

September 2019

  • Using Pen & Ink with Watercolour with Alasdair Bright: 7th September, Tindalls Cambridge

October 2019

November 2019

December 2019

MEET THE MEMBER – Jackie Devereaux

Antarctica 3


Jackie Devereaux

Other art societies you belong to

Current President, Society of Graphic Fine Art (the drawing society)

What led you to start painting:

I have been painting and drawing all my adult life, exhibiting seriously in the ‘70’s when in my twenties.


Do you have a preference for painting style? If so, can you describe it?

I have a very open mind with regards to what I am attracted to, and with regards to my own practice, I have always been drawn to creating minimalistic contemporary work – strong composition, colour and space.

Describe your perfect weekend

Taking a gentle walk with sketchbook – drawing whatever presents itself, plus rummaging in antique stores or charity shops for bargain props for my still life paintings.

The best thing ever invented was:

In my mind the ‘travelling squirrel head brush’

A person who changed my life is:

In real time it has to be my husband, retired Industrial Photographer, Barry Devereux – we have travelled the world together, recording everything that moved (or not!), exhibited together and ‘laughed out loud’………what more could one wish!

With reference to other artists it would have to be J.M.W.Turner from the past, but an artist sadly now deceased, is Amelia Shaw-Hastings. Amelia and I travelled to the States in the early ‘80’s, exhibited together, laughed and drew together. Her keen eye and swift, eloquent drawing skills were a constant inspiration.

If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Always keep an eye on the horizon!

My favourite place to paint is (and why):

I love to paint alone in my studio – working from sketchbooks compiled over the years, I can transport myself anywhere I wish. What is more, I can create a world unique to me.

Is there somewhere on your wish list of places to go and paint? If so, where and why

I should like to explore the wild parts of Canada preferably by train.

I have grown to love wide open spaces – taking in the dead centre of Australia, to Antarctica – stark contrasts.

Artists who inspire you:

Cezanne and Turner from the past, as well as Hockney for his masterly line!

Your favourite colour to paint with?

Pthalo blue (green shade)

Best piece of advice you were ever given about art

Composition, composition, composition…….oh, and negative space awareness!

More on Jackie:






MEET THE MEMBER – Justin Hawkes

Frisbee Man


Justin Hawkes

Other art societies you belong to

BAPCR Associate

What led you to start painting?

Seeing the work of Paul Cezanne when at school visiting the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge.

Do you have a preference for painting style? If so, can you describe it?

Free association watercolour painting

Describe your perfect weekend

Playing Jazz and Painting

If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Look for your own politics

My favourite place to paint is (and why)?

A surface such as a table rather than an easel – The easel I associate with classical art. I paint on the surfaced that will help me free up painting from gravity.

Artists who inspire you

Frank Bowling, Jeremy Moon, Bridget Riley

The gallery I would always travel to visit is

The Serpentine

Your favourite colour to paint with?

Grey (made without black or white)

Best piece of advice you were ever given about art

There is more to do on some paintings

More about Justin


SEAW Portfolio



A Festival of Watercolour in Norfolk

We held our most successful exhibition ever at Wells Maltings in Norfolk in February. Late in November, we got the opportunity to stage a Festival of Watercolour at this prestigious gallery. Despite many reasons to shy away from this challenge: (lack of lead time, winter exhibition, travel distance, Christmas!), the committee of the SEAW decide to take a leap of faith. We put the opportunity to our members and launched an open call in order to be able to hang watercolours from other excellent artists in the region.

Visitors' Favourite: Looking out to Sea by Anthony Mashman
Visitors’ Favourite: Looking out to Sea by Anthony Mashman

The response was exceptional. 128 paintings were hung on the walls of the beautiful Handa Gallery with a further 84 in the browsers. Forty-four watercolourists of East Anglia celebrated their appreciation of the medium through their works on show.

As usual, we invited visitors to vote for their favourite painting. 937 votes were received over the course of the exhibition and the visitors’ favourite was Looking Out to Sea by Anthony Mashman. In second and third positions respectively were Behind the Eyes by Stephie Butler and Votes ‘Four’ Women by Mel Collins.

The winning card was completed by Viv Henderson.

A Festival of Watercolour. Private Viewing Awash Exhibition January 2019
Visitors to the Private Viewing of Awash: A Festival of Watercolour
A Festival of Watercolour. Private Viewing Awash Exhibition January 2019
Good conversations between members and supporters at the Private Viewing of Awash: A Festival of Watercolour

A Festival of Watercolour for everyone

In addition to providing a show of some of the best watercolours in the region, we wanted to give visitors the chance to take an active role.  The members of the SEAW tutored a series of workshops for artists of all levels of experience. Watercolour taster sessions allowed those who were interested in having a go at painting in the medium to come along and try their hand. We decided to stage these inside the gallery rather than in a separate room. This allowed visitors to witness the process of creating watercolours before they reach the walls.

The taster sessions and full day workshops proved highly popular. We are grateful for the support of our workshop sponsors, St Cuthbert’s Mill.

What made this our most successful exhibition?

Naturally this is a subjective judgement. In my view it is the fact that over 2800 people enjoyed the exhibition. Many people made a point of coming back to a second visit. A high proportion of visitors took the time to tell us how much they appreciated the standard of work on the walls. There were great conversations. There were requests for information about becoming a member, and there were a good number of red dots on the walls.

The Society of East Anglian Watercolourists was given a warm welcome by Wells Maltings and the people of the Wells-next-the-Sea area. SEAW members were enthusiastic about the experience of stewarding and chatting to visitors.
Next year we will be staging Awash2: A Festival of Watercolour. Sign up for our news if you want to stay in touch.

In the meantime, why not visit our Members’ Exhibition at Long Melford, open to the public from 18th to 28th April.

MEET THE MEMBER – Michele Webber

Boat at Harbour by Michele Webber


Michele Webber

Other art societies you belong to?

Gainsborough’s House Printmakers, SAA (Professional Associate)

What led you to start painting?

I always drew as a child and always wanted to be an artist. People told me it wasn’t possible so I gave it up after leaving school. At the age of 34 I decided I still wanted to be an artist so started again.

Do you have a preference for painting style?

If so, can you describe it? My style is precise but not exactly realistic. Stylised would be a good description, I didn’t choose it, it chose me.

Describe your perfect weekend

Spending time with my daughter, martial arts training, horror or sci fi movie and a dinner at a vegan restaurant

The best thing ever invented was:

The dishwasher!

My favourite game as a child was:

I didn’t like games and still don’t. I liked drawing pictures, roller skating and reading.

If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?

You can do more than the people around you say you can do.

My favourite place to paint is (and why):

My studio in the summer. It’s light and warm.

Your favourite colour to paint with?

Talens Rembrandt Cerulean Blue. Other brands just aren’t the same and I adore this delicate granulating blue.

Best piece of advice you were ever given about art

I would take the quote by Steve Martin ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’

More on Michele:

Website address:

Instagram: @michelewebberart

Facebook profile: /michelewebberartist

SEAW gallery page

A sideways look at the magic of watercolour

Thoughts of a striving painter – Part 1

by Alan Noyes

Whatever jottings and ramblings I put down here can either be attributed to ideas and advice I have gleaned over time from numerous books in my studio, (How to Paint like Turner by Tate Publishing in particular), or from studying the works of other artists or to the accidents and magic of watercolour that occurs whilst messing about with the medium.  And if messing about equates to having fun then that is what it should be – fun.

To my mind, watercolour is the greatest and most perfect medium of all, it is certainly one of the oldest. Cave paintings in central Europe show silhouettes apparently applied by spraying a mouthful of raw sienna solution over a human hand. I am not advocating that – but whatever turns you on! Watercolour doesn’t smell much, it doesn’t stick to everything, doesn’t cover everything with dust and if (like me), you are untidy, doesn’t take up a lot of room and is easy to carry about – the perfect medium.

My preferences aside, I suppose the first question is “what is watercolour” and, at a very basic scientific and mundane level, the colour part could be described as a mixture of natural or man made materials held together with a binding agent such as gum arabic, awaiting the addition of water to provide a solution which can be applied to a surface, usually by brush, resulting in a dried translucent film allowing light to reflect from the supporting surface – and how boring is that – a definition designed to send you off to learn bee keeping or macramé.

 Where does the magic happen?

But at the ‘awaiting the addition of water’ stage is just where we come in. We are the magicians who conjure up the magic in what is certainly a very magical process.

Just by the addition of water we can release the magic of watercolour. Those beautiful flowing and swirling tones, those misty, mystic washes that combine to form a masterpiece of brilliant, iridescent and transparent colour.

Simple isn’t it – just add water.

Those of us who practice this aggravating art of watercolour know that simple, it is not.

Watercolour is a headstrong mistress with a very definite mind of her own and success as a painter in this medium relies on recognising that fact and practice, practice, practice.

PRACTICE –  to understand the limitations of the medium

PRACTICE –  to understand its boundless possibilities and finally,

PRACTICE –  to put the two together in a successful finished work – but the real secret ingredient to success comes when you realise that watercolour knows what it is doing almost by itself. You are but an aid to the final result, a mere manual labourer and the more you try to interfere in the process the more stubborn the mistress becomes to a point where she just gives up and turns to mud.

Try a little magic watercolour experiment

  • Fill a jam jar with clean water.
  • Mix, in separate pots, fairly strong solutions of the three primaries, red, yellow and blue.
  • Using a full brush or dropper, drop the three colours individually into the water and watch the result.

Undisturbed the three pigments retain their individuality, tumbling about each other.

Now give the water a quick stir and see what happens. Magic to mud in a second.

This is an extreme illustration of what happens when we overwork a watercolour, scrubbing and pushing at the paper, the translucence and brilliance of the pigment disappear and we begin to lose heart – wash it out, tear it up, start again.

The real magic of watercolour

But how lucky are we, we 21st century watercolourists. Bear a thought for those who came before –  Turner, Constable, Cotman, the founders of The Norwich School and their predecessors. Not for them the on line art store, the local art shop, paint in tubes. Although William Reeves produced small hard cakes of watercolour towards the end of the 18th century, most artists ground their own pigments from coarse materials prepared by colourmen. So the next time, when things are not going right or you run out of blue, don’t chuck your brushes in the air –  just be thankful you don’t have to reach for your muller and grind your own.