Exploring Watercolour: Contrasts Between the Past and Present

  • Date:10/07/2025 18:00 - 17/07/2025 12:00
  • Location



Investigate the various techniques of watercolour through a study of the landscapes and architecture of Studio Préniac and its surrounding areas, under the theme of “Contrasts Between the Past and Present”.

The objectives of the week will be:-

  • To gather artistic information through focus on textures, colours, and forms in the architecture and landscape of Studio Préniac and nearby towns in a concertina sketchbook.
  • To analyse and compare the present and past contrasts in these elements.
  • To a create a final piece of work by gathering all our information, exploration and techniques studied, and then editing it into a single painting that highlights the contrasts of past and present in the area’s architectural and landscape features.

What to expect:-

Niki will guide you throughout the week in the development of your studies and show you various techniques which will help you to experiment and become confident in your interpretation of the theme. She will urge you to stay flexible and allow room for spontaneous discoveries during explorations, embracing the “happy accident” and encouraging your style to shine through.

Starting with an initial exploration and documentation of Studio Préniac and its immediate surroundings, we will gather information through photographs, quick drawings and painted sketches focusing on architectural textures and landscape forms. We will also gather, in our sketchbooks, notes on the colour palettes observed in different structures and natural elements.

We will visit a nearby towns and to make sketches of architectural details, textures, and colours paying attention to public spaces, historical buildings, and street layouts. We will examine modern architectural developments in the area and focus on how new constructions blend or contrast with historical ones.

We will observe and study colour palettes found in the landscape, vegetation, sky tones and the architecture of the area along with observing the comparison between natural and man-made forms and start integrating these forms into composite sketches.

Finally, we will learn how to edit the information gathered to create and compose a final painting in the studio.

Expected Outcomes:-

  • You will have a comprehensive collection of sketches, photographs, and notes on textures, colours, and forms gathered all together in a sketchbook.
  • An understanding of watercolour techniques that create textures and interests in a painting.
  • A final painting which that visually communicates your experiences and the theme of the week.


(For pricing, please see below)


I have always loved drawing and remember as a child always having pencil near to hand.

I was blessed with the most wonderful art teachers who all instilled in me that being an artist didn’t mean you were restricted to one medium it meant that all aspects of art and design were to be explored and enjoyed and to these people I am indebted.

From this education I have always been interested in many aspects of art and design and painting came to me much later. I started in textiles gaining my degree from Birmingham. After University I went to work in Fashion and Fashion Graphic Design. Once I moved to the Chilterns, and started a family, I became hooked on the countryside around me. I found a passion for drawing British Wildlife and this developed into painting and printmaking. I wanted my paintings to be strong and have an element of wildness about them to capture the essence of the beautiful creatures. I found the best media to be Watercolour as this allows for fluidity whilst also being uncompromising.

Watercolour is a wonderful artistic medium that can create the most exquisite textures and ethereal qualities depending on the techniques used. I have been exploring and experimenting with these for over 10 years. Teaching allows me to share my love for this medium. I love watching a student discover joy and satisfaction in their work.

My style is fluid and experimental whilst holding a realistic interpretation of the subject matter. I love incorporating pastels into my work alongside stencilling and collage. When teaching I encourage the understanding of techniques, colour mixing and experimenting so that a freedom and confidence can be found in the work.

I run an art studio in Chesham, Buckinghamshire 3and teach Watercolour, Acrylics, Mixed Media, Drawing and After School Art Clubs.

For further information about my work please do head over to website or have a look at my Facebook and Instagram accounts.


Facebook nikibellart 

Instagram nikibellartstudio


Prices per person for 2025 are as follows:

Private en-suite bedroom (excluding Garden Room)
Single occupancy€1,865
Double occupancy€1,595
Garden Room
Single occupancy€1,975
Double occupancy€1,700
Lavande / Pavot gîte
Single occupancy€2,085
Double occupancy€1,760
Day student (no accommodation)
Day student€700
Non-participating partner
Non-participating partner (sharing a bedroom with a course participant)

The cost of our creativity holidays is inclusive of the following:

  • Course fees and basic materials
    (except for any course specific materials that the tutor requests you bring with you)
  • Airport collection and drop-off
    (allotted airports and times only)
  • Accommodation
    (price varies by type of accommodation selected - we assume single occupancy by default unless you specifically request to share with a friend/partner)
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
    (one meal taken at a local restaurant - to be paid by guests at the time)
  • Tea and coffee throughout your stay 
  • Aperitif and wine/beer with evening meal
  • Transport to and from any excursions
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Access to all amenities throughout your stay
  • Local tourist taxes