Watermill painting tutor Tom J Byrne


Tom J Byrne

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Painting by watermill tutor Tom J Byrne

View from San Miniato Al Monte

Watercolour on paper: 30cm x 40cm

The view from the historic San Miniato Al Monte in Florence, situated close to Piazzale Michelangelo and one of the most famous churches in Italy, where the teacher of my teacher, Pietro Annigoni rests. This view looks out over the surrounding hills.

Painting by Tom J Byrne a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Stibbert museum

Watercolour on Arches hot pressed satin, 140lb paper: 31cm x 41cm

This watercolour was painted in the grounds of the Stibbert Museum, Florence, Italy, during a Plein Air in the Park, event in 2013. Thanks to Angeli del Bello Firenze and the Stibbert Museum, for the invitation to take part.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Tom J Byrne

The Isolotto Fountain / The Oceania

Oil on canvas: 30cm x 40cm

The Isolotto Fountain, also referred to as the Oceania and originally designed and sculpted by Giambologna. The fountain represents the oceans of the world and this style has been copied by many other famous artists, for example in the fountain of the Piazza della Signoria of Florence beside the Uffizi.

Painting tutor Tom J Byrne at the watermill in Italy

San Niccolò Tower

Oil on canvas

View over the Arno towards the San Niccolò tower. Painted in the early morning hours in September 2016 using oils on canvas. The tower is a part of the original Florentine fortifications which still stand guard over the city, below the Piazzalle Michelangelo.

Course dates

Course Completed


Oils and watercolours

Tom J. Byrne is a landscape painter living in Florence, Italy where he specialises in plein air painting. He is from Ireland, where he studied and worked as an artist for 20 years. For the last 15 years he has been living between France and Italy. In 2003 Tom moved from Ireland to Paris and studied in various schools of art. For several years he also directed two art galleries on the Île Saint Louis in the 4ème arrondissement.
To complete his studies he moved to Italy in 2013 where he studied with Michael John Angel in the realist school of art. He teaches with Tuscany Plein Air and in a non-professional capacity he is currently involved with Creative People in Florence and the Firenze Drawing Club. His art is represented in San Francisco by Artista Collective.

Tom says: “Painting is a way of life. It isn’t a job. To be a painter is like breathing. You do it all the time. It informs everything you do and how you see the world. As a painter you learn to grasp every opportunity to make images, not just finished paintings but also smaller studies and designs that may make beautiful art. These small things keep the art alive and help you to maintain how you see the world."

He sees teaching as a two-way process: “Teaching others art is a very satisfying way of testing your own knowledge and it’s very sociable. When you can transmit your knowledge to another person you know that you truly understand it”

Tom’s painting course at The Watermill

Watercolour is one of Tom’s favourite methods of painting. He says: “It is very poetic and it’s a medium I’ve worked in since childhood. Immediacy and convenience makes it one of the best painting methods and when you understand its intrinsic structure, it becomes a medium that you will enjoy always want to work with”.

Tom adds: “Oils are a way of painting which can be used in a very simple or complex manner. It is truly powerful and produces inspiring and contemporary and realist results. Painting in watercolour informs a sophisticated oil painting. Oils are perceived as a more forgiving means of painting but both are forgiving when you understand the mediums”.

In his workshop at The Watermill, Tom will demonstrate both watercolour and oils. He says: “The simplicity of watercolours means they are a fantastic way quickly to grasp the principles involved in seeing, composing and painting; oils give us a very robust and powerful painting which is more easily appreciated by an audience".

Praise from some of Tom’s previous students

Tom Byrne is a charming host as well as a superb artist. He set up an easy and congenial atmosphere with fantastic food and plenty of wine. By the end of the week we all felt like family. Tom is also an inspiring teacher. He's serious and fun at the same time. We learned some new things, re-learned some old things and picked up some good work habits. Of all the workshops we've attended, this was by far the most fun and rewarding.

I had an amazing time. Tom is incredibly knowledgeable about plein air painting and was constructive with critiquing my work. I learnt a great deal and this was evident in the progression of my paintings over the week. GT, UK

Tom Byrne's teaching is very good for any painter who likes the direct approach to painting landscape. It is well organised, and well structured. Tom has an abundance of knowledge and skill. He tailors his approach to the individual, so a beginner or an advanced painter will glean a lot from his discussions, demonstrations and critiques. DG, Ireland

Tom Byrne made the experience a special one by creating a friendly, collegial atmosphere among the guests with relaxed, interesting conversations over delicious Italian dinners. There was comprehensive tuition tailored to suit all levels of experience and practical hand-outs accompany Tom's demonstrations in both oil and watercolour. I was amazed how much I actually painted while thoroughly enjoying myself. TR, Ireland

It was a fantastic week with Tom! He is an amazing artist and a very inspiring teacher. I learned a lot from him and many things opened for me from a different point of view. I had a strong desire to work each and every moment of plein air and to try out new knowledge and tips from Tom's demonstrations. It was a warm, open and friendly atmosphere between fellow artists, with plenty of interesting talks, laughs and new friends. NE, Moscow, Russia