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On top of it all, the Wasp Man cometh

The Autumn Term

Sign up for these excellent courses starting now:

Claire Haward oil painting using Zoom on Mondays all day and Friday mornings
Alex Tzavaras portraiture course with Zoom on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings
Daisy Perkins Introduction to Life Drawing through Zoom on Thursday evenings.

Nothing goes smoothly these days does it? Having got off to a flying start on Saturday with eight artists in the studio and Zoom running alongside, we’ve had to cancel the first session of the Bad Drawing group due to wasps! We’ve had an issue for a while with the little perishers making free with our studio space. They seem to be pretty benign but try telling that to a naked life model as they buzz around their pinker parts. We think most of the ones that come into our studio are drones, you know, the male of the species. With no shelves to put up in the hive the drones exist for one purpose alone and once that essential and probably quite enjoyable task is done it’s sort of ‘see ya!’ and they drop dead on our studio floor.

Any way the Wasp Man finally came (they only kill wasps on fine days and there haven’t been many of those) and committed an act of chemical warfare on the little fellows. The smoke bombs he uses are so noxious we have to leave the studio for 24 hours, so that was Bad Life Drawing cancelled for this week. It will be back next week so if you fancy some disastrous drawing to unleash your creativity pop it in your diary 7.00-8.30pm Mondays on Zoom and soon in the studio.

Jason by Alex Tzavaras

Portraiture is not an easy activity, not only do you have to draw and paint to a high standard, you have to catch a likeness of your sitter whilst they very often don’t sit still. It’s not easy but much of the craft can be learnt, and one of the best teachers in the UK is Alex Tzavaras. Alex has been teaching with us for a few years now and sharing his rigorous method, which is probably one of the quickest ways of getting professional results with your painting. He takes complete beginners on Tuesday evenings and then moves on to working from a model on the Wednesday evenings. You can see his way of doing things on his Youtube channel. Thanks to the up-in-the-airness of things at the moment, we’ve put the start of Alex’ term back a week so you can still sign up for either course here.

Freya by Agata Michalczak

Agata Michalczak joined us in the studio on Saturday and produced her usual high standard of work. She has a painting in the @royal_institute_watercolours exhibition at @mallgalleries of Freya. You may remember the pose on jade green satin.

If you’ve wandered down to Ruskin Park lately you may have seen a chap hacking away at the huge fallen bough from the Turkey Oak. He’s called Morgan and he has a small window to finish the work so he’s looking for help. If you have some experience with a wood gouge and fancy giving him a hand, wander down and say ‘Hi’ or give him a ring on 07946 236 855. Morgan turned a tree stump on Peckham Rye into a totemic sculpture, which you may know.

Pleinairists with David Sawyer RBA

Norfolk landscape near St Benet’s Abbey – working up from a study by David Sawyer

This week will be the last chance to paint with David for a while. He will be running some studio based workshops later this term but after Friday it will be ‘ta-ta for now’.

David writes:

The weather is looking settled for this week
I’m planning a couple of days out painting. Tuesday morning in Norwood Park, I’ve not painted there before but have been told there’s good views towards the city
Friday morning it will be back to Ruskin Park, it will be my last session for a few weeks as I’m off to France to check out my house in the Pyrenees before winter sets in, hope to be back in London & out painting again mid October
While I’m away you can use the Pleinairists app to organise days out among yourselves, looking forward to seeing where & what you get up to
Hope to see a few of you next week

If you are interested in painting along with David the Cost is £35 per session, which lasts approximately three hours. We use our Pleinairists Whatsapp Group to coordinate.

These are small groups where social distancing is maintained throughout.

Sign up here or if you’d just like to included on the Pleinairists Whatsapp group – drop us an email.

Tuesday Evening Life Drawing 7.00pm-8.30pm on Zoom

Elettra – Trinity Laban trained dancer

Elettra is an Italian dancer and Pilates instructor. She will stretch and twist for us, directed by Freya. Looks like she will appreciate the large open spaces of our studio after the confinement of her flat!

You can join them on Zoom from 6.45pm to get to know them and any other drawers before work commences at 7.00pm.

The cost is £8 but if you can convince us you’re a student we’ll give you a code to get the session for £5: drop us an email

Click here to book

Wednesday Drop-in Portraiture 2.00pm-5.00pm on Zoom


The second week with Anna. The top painting is by Sarah Meredith and she’s concentrated on Anna’s face, rather brilliantly, the second one shows the business with her hands which is available on the wide camera. This is a two camera setup with a portrait camera and a wide camera to get the figure in should you need it.

Please book here

The session fee will be reduced to £12 if you use the discount code PESTE2 at final checkout.

Saturday Drop-in Long Pose Life Drawing 10.00am-1.00pm on Zoom

Bela by Agata Michalczak


The second week with Bela, she is in a seated pose with one hand draped over her knee. The top painting by Agata Michalczak shows her face which is rewarding to paint.

A single pose life session delivered over Zoom. ( You can come into the studio but it’s full for this pose.)

Please book here

The session fee will be reduced to £12 if you use the discount code PESTE2 at final checkout.