Discover how to paint a plein air picture in just 20 minutes with Tom Byrne

Painting by Tom J Byrne, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Our new Watermill painting tutor Tom Byrne, who stepped happily into the breach when Sarah Spencer had to full out for medical reasons, reckons he can show you how to achieve a great plein air study in just 20 minutes.

Tom’s course, in oils and watercolours, will run from Saturday 3rd to Saturday 7th June. There are more details below. The course is suitable both for beginners and more established plein air painters.

Painted in watercolor in the Corsini gardens, florence, Italy. May 2015. This is the tree over the box maze where the tortise wander around being cute.

Painted in watercolour in the Corsini gardens, Florence, Italy. Tom says: “This is the tree over the box maze where the tortoise wander around being cute.”

During the week we’ll be visiting local beauty spots as well as painting in the stunning Watermill gardens and along the millstream and river and Tom says: “I’ll be demonstrating both at the mill and on location an I’ll be showing you methods for making a quick study as well as more elaborate techniques.” There will be 20-minute painting studies in both oil and watercolour.

The focus will be on good composition and among the topics are:

  • Best practice in laying in a plein air
  • Under-painting for plein air and alla prima in oil.
  • How to use watercolour in wet on wet and colour layers.

Tom says: “Italy has always been the first-choice location for artists who flock here from all over the world to experience the light, friendly people, good food and verdant Italian countryside. We’ll do all that at The Watermill.”

Tom J Byrne is a landscape painter living in Florence, Italy where he specialises in plein air painting. He is from Ireland, where he studied and worked as an artist for 20 years, but for the last 15 years he has been living between France and Italy. In his workshop Tom will demonstrate in both oils and watercolours. He says: “The simplicity of watercolours means they are a fantastic way quickly to grasp the principles involved in seeing and painting. Oils give us a very robust and powerful painting which is more easily appreciated by an audience.”

Painting by Tom Byrne a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Work in progress: a view over Florence by Tom Byrne

Here’s some praise from former students. One said: Tom Byrne is a charming host as well as a superb artist. He set up an easy and congenial atmosphere with fantastic food and plenty of wine. Tom is also an inspiring teacher. He’s serious and fun at the same time.” Another said: “Tom Byrne made the experience a special one by creating a friendly, collegial atmosphere among the guests with relaxed, interesting conversations over delicious Italian dinners. There was comprehensive tuition tailored to suit all levels of experience. I was amazed how much I actually painted while thoroughly enjoying myself.”

3 to 10 June 2017 Tom J Byrne

Oils and watercolours

To learn more about Tom and his course at The Watermill, please click here.


Come and join us at the Watermill and paint en plein air in the glorious Tuscan countryside with TomLunigiana Bardellino

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