Watermill painting tutor


Rebecca de Mendonça and Nel Whatmore

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Painting by watermill tutor Rebecca De Mendonça

Freedom (Rebecca De Mendonça)


Freedom is a large pastel inspired by my niece, a small feisty girl, full of restless energy. I have used vigorous marks to convey the movement as she stamps her foot and swings her arms, but worked with softness and detail around some areas such as her hands. I also wanted to capture the fresh breeze in her hair. I used unison pastels on a pastel primer.

Painting by Rebecca De Mendonça a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Charlie (Rebecca De Mendonça)


I sketched this pastel quickly to capture the lively movements of the whippet. I met him by chance, for just a few minutes, while I was teaching a workshop, and took rapid quick/fire photos on my tablet by keeping my finger pressed down on the button. I used these as reference to do the finished piece in my studio. The surface is mount card, painted with acrylic paint, which I then coated with Art Spectrum clear Colourfix Primer. I used Unison pastels.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Nell Whatmore

Tulip Sea (Nel Whatmore)


This painting was done on sandpaper and was all about the pattern of the tulips leading you into the distance. Trying to entice a viewer into a painting just by the use of colour and texture, really interests me, at the moment.

Painting tutor Nel Whatmore at the watermill in Italy

Golden Field (Nel Whatmore)


This pastel was underpainted with colourfix primer first with acrylic added to it. The surface was hardboard. I love the texture that this can then give you, as it allows for a lot of layers of pastel to be applied. This view is about a mile from our house.

Course dates

Course Completed



Nel and Rebecca have created The New Pastel School after years of friendship and mutual respect for each other’s work. This course offers the unusual experience of having these two experienced pastel artists sharing the tuition, and combining their expertise and great enthusiasm for this versatile and exciting medium. As tutors and demonstrators they can help people to see that there are always different ways to do things, even when working with the same pastels.

As well as teaching painting skills and processes, they inspire students with demonstrations, and encourage everyone to find their own way of working with the medium and developing their skills.

Subject matter varies, as between them Rebecca and Nel have years of experience painting people, portraits, animals, flowers, landscapes, still life, architecture and abstracts. They both feel that whatever the subject, its life, emotion and energy can be captured with pastels.

Nel Whatmore

Nel Whatmore loves colour and paints in a very expressive way as her focus is on light and getting emotion into a painting. She particularly adores painting flowers, landscapes and seascapes. She has been a regular exhibitor at Chelsea Flower Show for the past 10 years, where her stand has won multiple awards including a 5 star award in 2016. She has appeared on TV and celebrity collectors include Zoe Ball, Richard and Judy, Gary Neville and David Gower. She presented her painting ‘Devoted to You’ to HRH Prince Charles at Clarence House as part of the Prince’s Trust 35th Year Celebrations and was asked to paint the National collection of Michaelmas Daisies by the Picton Family. She is currently painting the National Royal Rose Society’s garden. To see Nel’s work, please visit her website at www.nelwhatmore.com

Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça’s teaching and painting is the result of a varied career in the arts that has taken her from a degree at Wimbledon College of Art in Theatre Design, and working on projects ranging from Harrods Food Hall and the Phantom of the Opera to exhibiting at The Pastel Society and being a well known demonstrator. She has been commissioned to paint dancers at English National Ballet, actors in West End Shows, and has had work accepted by the Society of Equine Artists and The Pastel Society. Her focus is to get energy and life into her work and covers a wide range of subject matter too, from figures and animals to more recently developing a love of landscapes. To see more of Rebecca’s work, please visit her website at www.rebeccademendonca.co.uk

Course outline

The course will include some plein air painting, studio-based work and also trips out. What Nel and Rebecca seek to offer is a new experience of using pastels outside and to introduce the joys of exploring how inspiring another country's landscape and countryside can be. As ever the atmosphere will be relaxed with one-to-one help, demonstrations and lots of lovely food! We seek to inspire you all to try something different and join us.

The course will be a combination of demonstrations and lots of support and help in learning to paint outside in a variety of very beautiful locations. There is also some time for developing individual work, with help and encouragement on hand.

Praise for Nel and Rebecca’s teaching

‘It really was one of the best courses I’ve ever attended. No, I’ll amend that, it WAS the best. Good company, but above all, I felt both the girls really cared that we all really achieved something during our time with them.’ JH

‘What a brilliant course it was:  you are both so inspirational and complement each other in the way you work. I really have more self confidence to continue.’ JF

‘Your teaching plan is extremely well thought out and balanced; it is highly intensive but you reach out to your students on so many levels, adding layers of experience and competence with every session.  The interactive classes had us all totally engaged and we learned so much more from discussing how to finish your picture. You are professionals with a capital ‘P’ and you give of your best in everything that you offer your students in terms of materials, food and of yourselves.’ CB

'They both took so much time and always with such good humour to make you feel a worthy participant. Certainly the best instructional workshop I have attended stretching from the North of Scotland to Penzance! ‘ CR