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Learning to paint the card way

PUBLISHED: 12:14 28 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 September 2010

Was your New Year s resolution to learn to paint? Do you consider yourself artistically undiscovered because you ve never had a chance to go to art school or even classes – and don t now? If the answer to either question is yes, an innovative venture by

Was your New Year's resolution to learn to paint? Do you consider yourself artistically undiscovered because you've never had a chance to go to art school or even classes - and don't now?

If the answer to either question is yes, an innovative venture by former Finsbury Park resident Jenny Rodwell could help you

learn watercolour painting without leaving home. Her painting instruction cards and materials for projects can be bought

through the internet.

It's no surprise that the first set is called Painting In The Countryside because Jenny, who studied at St Martin's School of Art and the Royal Academy, grew up in the remote and beautiful Derbyshire Peak District village of Edale, which is at the start of the Pennine Way. She lives there again now, amid moorland hills and valleys that make enticing subjects in changing seasons and weathers.

It was where Jenny's fascination with paints and painting began, on her grandparents' bedroom hillside farm. On top of their wardrobe was a biscuit tin, the lid jammed shut with rust. She knew it held paints that her grandmother had used when she was a village schoolmistress and amateur artist, before becoming a farmer's wife too busy to paint.

"The tin had not been opened for nearly half a century until, when I was ten years old, I took it out into the garden and banged the lid off with a stone," says Jenny.

"Inside were a dozen or so small tubes of used colour in perfect condition, the Winsor and Newton labels faded and oily but still readable: Ivory black, zinc white, rose madder. Even now, after a lifetime of painting, teaching and writing books

about painting, the smell of oil paint still reminds me of that rusty tin and the magical colours inside."

You only need six colours and three brushes for the countryside projects - winter landscape, woodland view, waterfall and wild flowers. This is not "painting by numbers", aimed at a copy, but a way of learning or improving techniques - like mixing colours, laying a wash, working wet and dry. Once mastered, you can use these simple techniques for your own compositions.

Two other sets of cards are in the pipeline: Flower Painting and Sun, Sand And Sea, for taking on holiday. The cards are a portable A5 size and laminated for outdoor use and so that paint splashes won't matter.

It's said that self-taught artists don't always have the best teachers but Jenny Rodwell's cards give you the best of both worlds: freedom to paint as and when you like with an experienced and caring tutor in your pocket.

o For more information and methods of ordering, see www.JennyRodwell.com.

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