Out & About with Watercolours

Led by Jan Thomson from Nelson Lakes
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th October 2021

NZ $395pp
Golden Bay Locals special: $355pp
Art Haven Supporters special: $355pp

Minimum 6 – Maximum 8 people

Please note a full refund will be given if we have to cancel a workshop due to a NZ Government Covid 19 Level 3 or 4 lockdown.

Have you always wanted to try painting outdoors? This 2 day workshop will be a relaxed way to give plein air painting a try in a small, friendly group of like minded painters in beautiful Collingwood!

Each day Jan will take you out to paint at two different spots with different subjects, depending on the weather conditions. Each session will include time in the studio beforehand talking about techniques, and a critique session afterwards to help sort out any painting problems that we’ve faced together. Meals will be enjoyed in the Art Haven garden overlooking the Collingwood mountains.

This workshop is not suitable for total beginners  – you will need to be comfortable with basic watercolour painting techniques.

Jan Thomson is a talented watercolour artist from Nelson Lakes. She loves to get out and paint – capturing light and mood, and getting people to notice places and things that we often take for granted. She especially enjoys painting New Zealand landscapes – the beautiful alpine environs from the birds, plants and mountains which surround her home. Light is always the biggest drawcard for her.

Jan holds regular solo exhibitions, as well as exhibiting with The Nelson Suter Art Society. Her work is held in private collections both in New Zealand and overseas and she is represented at Van Helden Gallery in Days Bay, Wellington and Wall to Wall Art, Nelson.

Feedback from some of Jan’s recent workshops:
“I just want to say what a great weekend it was. I can say without reservation that I found your class more constructive and helpful than any other art class that I have attended. Clearly you have spent considerable time and energy distilling your art knowledge into a format that can be easily understood by budding painters who are keen and willing to learn. Quite a skill, I think.”
“Loved every minute, feel more confident”
“Your tuition skills are superb and innovative, thanks from my heart for helping me start on this new adventure”


Try to keep your gear to a minimum – it’s good to be able to set up and work quickly rather than trawling through tons of gear. After all , we’re just trying to capture a moment in time ☺ We won’t be walking far from our cars, but it’s still annoying to have to go back and forward to get stuff. I usually pack my gear into a small cane shopping basket or backpack. Bring your camera , phone or, best of all – tablet if you have one. Then if the weather forces us indoors you still have your reference material to work from.

Watercolour paint
You’ll find that it’s much easier to work with tube paint rather than pans – the pan colours are not as strong in pigment and it’s hard to make good tones with them. You’ll need a warm and cool version of red, blue and yellow plus a couple of others. I’ll be using:

  • Quinacridone red or cadmium red
  • Rose madder or alizarin crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Pthalo blue or cerulean blue
  • Raw sienna or yellow ochre
  • Aureolin or lemon yellow
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Viridian
  • Australian Red gold or Quinacridone gold

A palette big enough to hold your colours plus mixing spaces – like this one https://www.gordonharris.co.nz/product/17901-expression-folding-plastic-palette-14×30

Paper: If you want to cut your own then I’d suggest 3 or 4 full sheets of Fabriano Artistico Rough (that’s what I’ll be using) otherwise a Fabriano block, I’d suggest this size, which has 15 sheets: https://www.gordonharris.co.nz/product/24558-fabriano-artistico-tw-300g-block-35-5x51cm-cp-15

If you bring a block then you won’t need a painting board, otherwise you’ll need a board to tape your paper to. If you prefer, I can supply the sheets at $16 each, which you can cut to whatever size you’d like to work on, but you do need to let me know when you sign up for the workshop, as ordering art paper at the moment can take a wee while! Email me at  janthomsonart@gmail.com

Impressions Art Supplies in Richmond will offer you a discount if you mention that you’re coming to my workshop.

Other equipment:

If you need to ask about any of these items please just get in touch with me janthomsonart@gmail.com. This is a suggested list, bring what you have rather than buying new stuff – but you will need most of it!

9.45am onwards arrive at Art Haven studio to set up
10am – 12.30pm workshop
12.30 – 1.30pm lunch
1.30pm – 4pm workshop
4pm – 6pm free time
6pm Drinks and Dinner

9.45am onwards arrive at studio
10am – 12.30pm workshop
12.30 – 1.30pm lunch
1.30pm – 4pm workshop
4pm – 4.30pm pack up, clean and depart when ready


  • Minimum of 10 hours professional tuition
  • Healthy regional foods  – 2 morning and 2 afternoon teas, 2 lunches and 1 dinner with selected drinks
  • All art equipment ie: table/easel/chair/water containers/scrap paper/rags etc
  • Access to a library of books on contemporary painters
  • Optional movie night – art related of course!


  • Transport to and from ART HAVEN – check out our location page for details
  • Accommodation – check out our accommodation page for options
  • Art materials unless listed
  • Travel insurance

BOOK NOW!  places are limited to 8 participants