16th March 2021:
Following what appears to be a successful vaccination programme I am hopeful and feeling more optimistic that summer 2021 will see a return of my oil painting en plein air workshops.
As you will have seen the government have introduced a four-step roadmap easing us out of lockdown back to a more normal life, with the success of each stage being assessed and analysed before firm dates for each stage can be given.
As soon as we are allowed to meet as a group and it is safe, which for many of us will be 7 to 14 days after our second vaccination, and suitable venues are open and available to us - I shall arrange a couple of dates. Realistically, this is unlikely to be before the end of June but I hope to get at least 2 dates arranged for the summer months (more if I can).
I shall post updates on here and on my Workshop Facebook page. It is very likely the number of students I will be allowed will reduce from 8 max down to 5 max (assuming the Rule of 6 applies) and of course other Covid-19 guidance will need to be introduced and followed for our continued safety. Thank you for your patience during these difficult times.
Please keep well and I very much hope to see you when the summer sun is shining on us all (fingers crossed).
2nd January 2021:
Happy New Year everyone. I hope you are well and coping with this crazy, worrying and unsettled life we are living through. Since my last message the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened with this new variant/strain being more contagious, as a result I cannot see a return of my workshops for a while yet. With Kent (where I live) and East Sussex (where many of my workshops are held) both in Tier 4 this is now out of my hands in any event, but the health and safety of my students and for myself will always be the deciding factor in whether I run them or not.
I know that some of my lovely regularly returning students were really hoping I would be able to run a workshop in the summer or autumn of 2020. I am sorry if I disappointed you. I too want to run them and see you again and as soon as I feel it is safe it will happen. In the meantime, I hope that you can enjoy doing some painting in your home or if you have one, in your garden. I have done a fair amount of gardening and painting this past year. I enjoy both but painting outdoors is my real passion and over the last 10 months it has become even more important to me. It really is very therapeutic; connecting with nature and taking some time to forget about the troubles in the world- something we all need to be able to cope at the moment.
Please keep safe and well.
If you are new to my workshops and would like to be added onto my email notifications for new dates, please send me your email address using the contact form on this website.
16th March 2020:
I cannot run events that have even the slightest possibility of putting our health at risk, therefore, with the heaviest heart I am obliged to announce that all my workshops are postponed for the time being and pending a return to something like normal life. All students who booked my April and May workshops have been contacted and will receive a full refund very soon.
Wishing you good health.
The following workshops will NOT be taking place but details have been left here to provide you with "a flavour" for what I do if you would be interested in future events:
“The Rother Valley in Spring”, Tuesday 28th April* @ The Hub, Quarry Farm, Bodiam, East Sussex:-
For my first plein air oil painting workshop of 2020, we will be returning to The Hub, Bodiam. The painting location will be a short drive from The Hub setting up in one of the Quarry Farm apple orchards overlooking the beautiful Bodiam Valley. Free parking and toilet/washroom facilities will be available nearby.
Painting subject matter:- rows of apple trees in the gently sloping orchard with views across Bodiam Valley, within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From our painting location Bodiam Castle can be seen in the distance as well as farmland, oast houses, vineyards, trees and big skies. By late April the orchard will be full of fresh spring colours as will the surrounding and distant landscape. There is the possibility that nature will provide us with a special treat of apple blossom on the orchard trees (a slim chance, so fingers crossed!).
We will use The Hub as our base, for the pre-workshop meeting point and to buy/have our lunch break. Beverages/breakfast can also be purchased from 9.00am.
Workshop time: 9.30am -to- 5.00pm.
Address: The Hub at Quarry Farm, Bodiam, East Sussex TN32 5RA
Price: £45 for the whole day (food/drinks not included but available from The Hub).
*Back-up date: Tuesday 5th May (if Tues 28th April looks unsuitable).
"Views from Frame Farm”, Tuesday 19th May** @ The Oak Barn, Frame Farm, Benenden, Kent:-
Frame Farm nestles in a magical grassland valley below the village of Benenden within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The owner's Grade II listed barns (used for private events, parties and weddings) are surrounded by over 20 acres of sheep grazing with views across Kent’s High Weald.
Painting subject matter:- The gently rolling landscape in this part of West Kent is the perfect place to set up your easel if you enjoy painting an idyllic landscape scene. There are numerous shady spots provided by mature oak trees where you can often see sheep lazing and grazing. A babbling brook runs between the oaks, fed by a pretty pond which has willow & silver birch trees planted around it. By late May all the trees will be in full new leaf giving us fresh late spring colour as well as casting lovely shadows (sunshine permitting please!).
The venue offers free parking as well as toilet/washroom facilities. Complimentary tea & coffee will be available. There is no cafe at this venue so students are asked to take their own packed lunch, snacks and any other drinks they may wish to enjoy through the day. Tables and chairs will be available in The Byre or The Oak Barn 1st thing and at lunchtime.
Workshop time: 9.30am -to- 5.00pm.
Address: The Oak Barn, Frame Farm, Iden Green Road, Benenden, Kent, TN17 4EZ
Price: £45 for the whole day (food/drinks not included).
**Back-up date: Tuesday, 2nd June (if Tues19th May looks unsuitable).
My workshops are suited to those who have some painting experience but are starting out with oils or those who would like to improve on existing oil painting skills while getting to grips with the challenges of working en plein air. My medium of choice is traditional oil paint, but you are more than welcome to attend if you would prefer to use water-mixable oils.
At the workshop you will learn how to find your subject; set up your easel; plan your composition; create atmospheric perspective; simple linear perspective; colour mixing; application of oil paints and various useful hints & tips to assist you with the demands of outdoor landscape painting.
Students are required to bring their own equipment. If you would like to see the equipment list in advance of booking, contact me and I will email it over to you. If you are new to plein air, I have a limited number of free-standing easels (first come, first reserved) that can be loaned. If you are new to oils, for a very small additional fee, traditional oil paints & low odour white spirit can be supplied. Gesso primed canvas boards can also be purchased. If you need anything else please ask.
Because we are weather dependent, I like to have a back-up date arranged in the event of unsuitable weather. When you book please let me know if you would be available on the back-up date indicated. I will do a final check of the weather forecast the day before the workshop and advise if things are looking good for us. If I cancel the workshop you will be offered the back-up date (if one is available) or a full refund, whichever you prefer.
To book or make further enquiries, send me a message using the contact form on this website. If I have a choice of workshop venues listed, please indicate the date you are interested in. Remember to include your email address. I will then reply to your enquiry (usually within 24hrs) letting you know if there is availability. If you wish to go ahead and book a place I will email you my Information Terms and Conditions, Equipment List and the Booking Form for you to complete and return.
Spaces are limited to a maximum of 8 students per workshop (to ensure plenty of one-to-one tuition through the day).
If you use Facebook I have a dedicated Fran Russell Workshops Page. Give it a "Like" it to receive updates. On there you can also see photos of workshop locations and those taken during my workshops (permission to take photos is requested on the Booking Form and photos are only used for marketing/on social media if students have provided their permission) - just click here to take a look...
Please also see my "Testimonials" page (drop-down menu under "Workshops" heading above).
If you would like to be notified by email as soon as new dates are organised send me your details using the Contact me page above (if you attended a workshop with me in 2018 or 2019 you will be on my workshop emailing list).
Painting outdoors has its challenges but the rewards are so great - give it a go!
"Trees" Workshop at The Hub, Bodiam. November 2018: