Dear Painters and Friends, with this spontaneous drawing (done on my iPhone with index finger) I would like to wish you all a lovely time over the Easter Holidays.
May the creative juices flow freely!
Dear Painters and Friends,
Spring is definitely coming and my brushes are getting very restless. The urge to travel and paint further afield becomes overwhelming every day the sun shines. Thankfully there has been some encouraging news: travel restrictions should be lifted by the end of May. This means my June painting week in wonderful Andalusia, Spain is going ahead as planned, but two of my Europe courses had to be cancelled. At least we can now look forward to meeting and painting together again in the summer in Spain, Scotland or Devon, “Road Map” permitting. Until then we still have to be patient and find inspiration closer to home.
Below are a few watercolours painted at past painting courses which might spur you on to keep painting, refresh your memory and inspire you to explore your colour palette.
I wish you a lovely Spring, filled with sketching, painting and plans for the summer,
Dear Painters and Friends,
I hope you are well and have been able to be creative during these ‘grey’ month of the year. At least there is no shortage of colour in our paint boxes!
However, it’s with the greatest regrets that I received the news from my colleague Camilla at Art In The Algarve, that the lovely art school in Olhao has had to close down permanently due to the effect of the ongoing pandemic. I know Camilla has been working hard to keep the school open but in the end had to make the sad decision to close. I am so very disappointed as everybody must you be, who had planned to paint with me in Portugal this year.
Losing the art school is a big blow for all of us painters and tutors, not least because the founder David Clark - Camilla’s father – who felt so passionate about the arts, had anticipated it would go on for many happy painting years to come. I will certainly try and visit Olhao another year by myself, but I am sure I shall miss painting with everybody at the Art School and working alongside the energetic and charming Margarida, her family and colleagues.
With great hopes for a better summer, and that we get another chance to meet, if not in Portugal perhaps in another of my painting locations,
Painting course with Bettina Schroeder
at Brynaport, Scottish Highlands - 11th – 15th July
I hope you have survived the difficult times we have had this year. Although all 2020 courses unfortunately had to be cancelled, we are planning courses for next year with the same inspirational tutors.
We are working on our existing facilities to allow for necessary social distancing and hygiene measures in 2021 and are confident that we will be able to hold courses. Changes include running with smaller group sizes (7 students), and adapting the studio by adding adjacent wash and toilet facilities. The courses will all be non-residential for 2021. We will supply a list of recommended self-catering and B&B accommodation in the village.
Courses will include a delicious lunch individually boxed, afternoon tea and cake. All dietary requirements can be catered for.
We hope you will be able to join us and we look forward to welcome you in 2021 at North West Highlands Art.
You can contact Northwest Highlands Art at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01520 733227.
For further information and prices visit the website. We are currently making alterations to the website to allow for Covid19 restrictions.
These will be available shortly at : www.nwhighlandsart.co.uk
Dear Painters and Friends,
August and September are usually the two months when I am teaching in wonderful Devon at Coombe Farm Studios. But as you might be aware, this season the pandemic has sadly made all my painting courses impossible. The focus is now on 2021, when we should be able to meet again, enjoy traveling and paint together. The website has been updated with all the new course dates, so feel free to wander through the pages and get inspired for next year.
Prevented from travelling this year, my mind however has travelled with the aid of paintbrush, camera and ukulele to the far away corners of the rainforest. RAINFOREST LITANY, a ‘song’ I made in August, was part of a compilation album to raise money for an indigenous-led human rights organisation to assist child refugees in Wamena, West Papua. Have a listen here: https://tinybandintherainforest.bandcamp.com/track/rainforest-litany
I have also been contributing music to another charity project earlier on. The ‘song’ BABY DOLL has again been created with poetry and sound instead of my usual medium watercolour. Click on track No. 43 on the album: https://womencomposerscollective.bandcamp.com/album/her-indoors. All proceeds went to a charity against domestic violence.
At the moment, painting is still taking a bit of a back seat because I am currently working on a project with my friend and colleague Jude Cowan Montague involving sound and poetry and - very exciting - also videos. Sound and video have the advantage that we can easily exchange and post information and materials to each other via the internet and personal meetings are not necessarily needed. In the absence of teaching it’s fun to work with other people this way and to stay in touch with everybody.
I very much hope that you are also able to be creative, meet friends in person or via Zoom and will continue to enjoy painting.
With the best wishes and keep well,
My thoughts all too frequently travel to the wonderful painting locations where I have been painting with many of you in the past, and will soon again, hopefully beginning this November in Portugal.
Though it feels strange at the moment not to open a suitcase, pack my brushes or check if my sunglasses are still serviceable, next year seems not such a long way off. If time continues to pass as quickly as the last couple of months, April will soon be here, and with it the Spring painting course in Sicily.
Of course painting is never far from my mind, even though I have not had the chance to work in the studio until very recently. As always when I have been away from the studio for a long while - and it was longer than ever this time round - it takes ages to get back into the swing of things. So far this spring and summer I have been busy sorting out future painting courses, learning how to use Zoom, and how to get a Twitch account. All this in order to communicate with friends and family and collaborate with colleagues online. At last I have had a little time for drawing, and making musical contributions to several new albums. It has been fun to play my electric Ukulele and to write lyrics for the tracks, and to be involved in the recording process. The watercolour show with my colleague Dorothee Schabert’s musical compositions scheduled for early autumn in Germany had to be temporarily put on hold, but I plan to start working on those watercolours again in the coming weeks!
My paint brushes are as eager as I am to be unleashed from our confinement, and I’m sure that the miracle of watercolour will restore the spirit, as it always does!
With my best wishes for your well-being and have fun with your painting,
I hope this finds you well and safe and that you can be creative despite these uneasy times. A surprisingly sunny spring – normally ideal for painting – has unfortunately also brought a crisis which has affected us all. Quite soon it became clear that travel was impossible and my heart sank, partly because of what it means to all of you to lose your painting holidays, and partly because of the dire implications for all 2020 courses.
To ensure everybody’s safety I had to take the difficult decision and postpone this year’s courses, but I am very pleased that most of you are able to join me in 2021, or possibly Portugal this November. I would like to thank all of you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
I hope and believe that in the coming months much will be resolved, and that we should be able to travel and paint together again in 2021 at the latest. The new course details are now on my website. I can already picture us, paint brushes in hand, ready to let the colours flow.
With my best wishes for you, your family and last but not least for your painting.
Dear Painters and Friends,
I'd like to invite you to an exhibition at GEDOK, Karlsruhe, Germany, in which I will take part. My video 'Desert Waves' (with sound from composer Dorothee Schabert, video edited by James A Smith) will be shown as part of the exhibition running from 7 February until 8 March 2020.
I will be there for the closing event on Sunday 8 March 2020, 11:00 - 15:00 and would be delighted to see you there - distance permitting!
Best wishes, Bettina
GEDOK Karlsruhe, Germany
Kunstwochen für Klimaschutz
(Artweeks for Climate Protection)
Female Artists for the Future
Exhibition | Video projections in the GEDOK forum | Installation in urban space | Concert | Reading | Lectures | Sustainability Walk | Movie night
Still from the film Desert Waves
About the film: Desert Waves
Filmed by Bettina Schroeder with Sound Composition by Dorothee Schabert
With how many voices water speaks: it rushes, it flows, it meanders, it sizzles, it trickles, it gushes, it drips or pours out of buckets and threatens to spill out.
Water: an increasingly valuable, even endangered, raw material in times of climate catastrophe. A far too large part of the world's population already lacks access to clean water for washing and even drinking. And unscrupulous corporations are already securing exclusive access to water resources as private property.
Water to glass: crystal clear like the bright mountain stream or dirty, poisoned, unusable.
Water to sand: the wind forms waves in the desert sand. Diverse shapes. Sometimes a sea of sand, sometimes jagged, a stony wasteland. Dumped plastic bottles remind us that we humans cannot survive without water. Garbage stains, broken glass. As repulsive as it can be aesthetically attractive. Water shapes in the desert, water gushing that frightens us with splintering glass.
We combine these supposed opposites via picture and sound into a video that vividly demonstrates the valuable beauty of both water and sand.
All details about the exhibition can be found in the programme (see pages 7 & 13).
Desert Waves, photo 2019
A glance back to the events of this year...
This year has been exceptionally busy with courses and opportunities to show my artwork at home and internationally. It started off at home in London, with a fantastic show alongside 100 artists in Soho, celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Then it was off to the Moroccan desert. This was going to be my last painting course in Morocco as I needed more time for my own artwork, music projects and new courses. It’s been a fantastic 15 years working with Ali Mouni at the Nomad Palace. It was hard to say goodbye to everybody, especially to Ali's family and friends. However, I'm sure I will be meeting Ali and his lovely wife for a get together before long, perhaps in Marrakesh...
From one hot country to another, Sicily was my next painting destination. As usual, we had a wonderful time painting at the Valley of the Temples, the seaside at Agrigento and the gardens at the Fattoria Mose. After the course, there was just enough time to prepare for the next show in Germany, "Rationale 4 Bauhaus", at the FRAUENMUSEUM, Bonn in May.
In June, I returned to Portugal where our group of eager painters enjoyed not only the sunshine but all the fantastic painting locations, including a trip by boat to the nearby island of Armona.
A total change of scenery, and I was suddenly on a plane to Scotland for my next painting course in the Highlands at Brynaport. The mountain landscape looked fantastic in the sunshine and we spent most of our time on location painting the dramatic coastline, white washed cottages at the waters edge of Loch Kishorn and the views towards the Isle of Skye from the nearby estuary.
It was back to London for a summer show in August at the A&D Gallery, where I exhibited four of my watercolours. The exhibition was closely followed by a show in Switzerland I took part in called ”ARTBOX.PROJECT ZÜRICH 1.0 at Swiss Art Expo".
This summer I had to take a break from teaching in Devon, but I can't wait to paint there again next August and to catch up with everybody at Coombe Farm Studios. Later in August, I flew to Germany to visit my parents. We enjoyed a trip to the Baltic Sea and I had the pleasure of watching my 94-year-old mother dip her toes in the lapping waves. The change in my usual schedule was partly due to needing extra time for my visit to Spain. My new colleagues, Anne and Nancy at Casa Ana, welcomed me for the first time and together we planned the final details for my new painting course in Andalusia, June 2020.
The Autumn brought more artistic opportunities: the showing of one of my watercolours at “ARTBOX.PROJECT MIAMI 2.0 at Miami Artweek”, USA this December, and an exciting new collaboration with a German sound engineer and composer, Dorothee Schabert. Whilst in Morocco I filmed a video to accompany her sound recordings/composition for a show at GEDOCK in Karlsruhe, Germany in February 2020. I'm also currently working on smaller watercolours for a limited edition of boxes containing Dorthee's upcoming CD release.
December will of course be the time to meet up with friends and my British family in Hampshire, which is always a great highlight at the end of the year.
I wish you all a creative new painting year,
There is nothing quite like the Scottish landscape when sunshine reveals the outlines of mountains against a clear blue sky – an instant inspiration for any artist
So we were blessed to spend our first day painting from Brynaport – our home from home for the duration of the painting course. The views from the house are stunning with the high pass road, just visible, winding up the mountains to Applecross and Loch Kishorn nestling in the foreground. A row of whitewashed cottages seen from the elevation of Brynaport made the perfect foreground motif in an otherwise more distant landscape. It also meant we could adjust our eyes to the vast, open landscapes which at first seems overwhelming in its beauty. But we soon got the measure of it and with the sun still shining on our second day, made our way to an old stone bridge at the head of the nearby estuary. From there we could overlook a fast expanse of flat grassland and water stretching to the far horizon fringed by the Corries mountain range. The lovely cafe just down the road was unexpectedly closed, the only disappointment of the day. However, we were compensated by home made cakes for tea, baked by our talented chef, Charlotte, who also produced delicious meals in the evenings and got everybody set up for the day's painting with a variety of hearty Highland breakfasts.
After an initially doubtful weather forecast, we were treated to another pleasant day and thus ventured out down the village road to the shores of Loch Kishorn. With so many views to choose from, it always takes a while to decide what to paint. Should it be the rocky out-crop by the water's edge, the row of old fisherman's cottages or the rust red sheds lined up along the pebbly beach? In the end, I decided to demonstrate how to capture the large expanse of water and mountains beyond the loch featuring a large fir tree on the rocky shore as a focal point. This was also a good opportunity to discuss composition and the various colours used for reflections on water. The next day appeared more overcast so we stayed close by and took the path to a secluded, very picturesque cove below Brynaport. Here exciting cliffs reach down to the water's edge, with large rocks in the foreground, shiny black and partly covered with glistening, yellow ochre seaweed.
These rock faces and their differently shaped boulders and crevices are deceptive. It took careful observation and drawing before we could start painting. My painting demonstration focused mainly on the three dimensional nature and the subtle colour changes within the folds of those rock formations. By then equipped with a deeper understanding of composition, colour perspective and the depiction of water surfaces we were ready to tackle the most delicate subject of all: clouds descending over the mountains. To get a good view of the dramatic mountain slopes and tops, partly obscured by rolling clouds fringed with mauves and yellows, we nipped around to the other side of Loch Kishorn with an open, seaward view towards the Isle of Sky.
The sudden sunburst through the clouds made this, our last day, a most rewarding experience and given the choice we all would have stayed in the Highlands for another week or two. But invariably all good things must come to an end and our last evening was approaching. We intended to make the most of it and displayed our week's painting for an informal showing with delicious canapés and champagne to “wash” it all down. After all, we had practiced water colour washes all week!
To round up the course in creative fashion we also had the pleasure of a poem being written and recited by one of our group, followed by a performance of Highland dancing and bagpipe music by two of the talented local teenagers - the most enjoyable way to finish a fantastic painting week, to say goodbye to the splendor of the Highlands and to thank everybody at Brynaport for their generous hospitality.
With best wishes for your summer painting,
The poem by Catherine Whiteside:
To the beautiful Highlands we came,
in groups and alone, by car and by train
and even from far flung corners, by ‘plane.
With eyes eager and open, our pencils aloft,
on beaches, in the studio and down by the loch.
With Bettina we’ve drawn trees and mountains, and rocks!
But Bettina! Oh help us! What colours to use??
Some Burnt Sienna perhaps, or some Cobalt Blue?
Apple Green, Windsor Yellow, Windsor Violet ... what a view!
Such fun times we have had, it’s all over too soon,
here’s our work on the walls, and a glass raised too.
Goodbye we must say, and huge THANK YOU, to you