Watermill painting tutor Rebecca de Mendonça


Rebecca de Mendonça

  • painting thumb 1
  • painting thumb 2
  • painting thumb 3
  • painting-thumb 4
Painting by watermill tutor Rebecca De Mendonça

Sitting on the Steps

Pastel on Colourfix primer 56cm x 42 cm

This pastel is all about the light and shadows. For reference, I used photographs that I took on a Winter afternoon when the sunlight was very low. To emphasize the quality of light I used a contrast of yellow ochres and lilacs. To give a sense of distance, I used more detail on the figures in the foreground, as well as strong tonal contrasts. I softened these contrasts in the distance, and lightened the tones.

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

Quick sketch of the Watermill Stream

Charcoal and soft pastel, 16cm x 20 cm

This quick sketch was started in charcoal standing on the bridge over the stream. I then finished it with soft pastels in the studio, but I deliberately worked quickly to capture the feeling of the water bubbling over the rocks. I started with the dark colours of the rocks, and then worked the lights and the water over them.

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

Gateway to Verrucola

Soft pastel and Conte crayon, 47cm x 38 cm

I love the stonework at Verrucola, and the alleyways that twist and turn as you climb the hill to the castle. This sketch was completed in the studio after doing initial drawings standing on the bridge at the entrance to the village. I started with Conte crayon and then worked with soft pastels, on a board painted with Colourfix primer. I like to let the colour of my surface be part of the palette of the final piece. On this day I particularly liked the blue shadows which I used to emphasize the brightness of the sunshine.

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

A Hot Summer, Dartmoor

Soft pastel on Colourfix Primer 57cm x 40 cm

This studio piece was completed using several photographs as reference. I love walking in the great outdoors, sketching and taking photographs, and then trying to capture the atmosphere when I am back in my studio. I like to include animals or people in my landscapes to give them a sense of scale, and on Dartmoor the ponies are an integral part of the landscape. I used strong contrasts of light and dark to convey the heat of the sun.

Course dates

Course Completed


Pastels and mixed media

Rebecca de Mendonça’s dynamic pastels capture movement and atmosphere. Her focus is to get energy and life into her work.

Her teaching and painting is the result of a varied career in the arts. Having completed her degree in Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art, she worked on projects ranging from Harrods Food Hall to the Phantom of the Opera and has been commissioned to paint dancers at English National Ballet and actors in West End Shows.

Rebecca now lives in Devon and teaches pastel courses in Britain and Italy.

Her book ‘Pastels for the Absolute Beginner’ was published by Search Press in 2019, and she has written many articles for Leisure Painter and the SAA. She co-founded the New Pastel School in 2013. She is an associate member of the Society of Equestrian Artists and has exhibited with the Pastel Society. Rebecca was a finalist in the Artists and Illustrators ‘Artist of the Year Competition’ 2017, 2018, and 2019, exhibiting at the Mall Galleries in London. To see more of Rebecca’s work, please visit her website at www.rebeccademendonca.co.uk

As well as teaching painting skills and processes, Rebecca inspires students with demonstrations, and encourages everyone to find their own way of working with the medium and developing their skills. Her friendly and generous approach to teaching helps her students to relax and really achieve their potential.

Subject matter varies, Rebecca having had years of experience painting people, portraits, animals, landscapes, still life and architecture. Whatever the subject, Rebecca feels that its life, emotion and energy can be captured with pastels.

Course outline

Rebecca will demonstrate how to capture the architecture and landscape of the beautiful Watermill venues with a combination of materials. Soft pastels, pen and ink, Conte crayons and pastel pencils will be used separately and in combination to achieve lively sketches and finished pieces. She will show how we can vary our materials to suit the subject matter that we are observing and the size of our work.

From landscape and water, to figures and architecture, Rebecca will give informative instruction and demonstrations, showing how she draws and paints with life and atmosphere.

The course will include some en plein air painting, studio-based work and also trips out. Rebecca seeks to offer 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! Rebecca seeks to inspire you all to join her and to try something different.

Praise for 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 Rebecca really cared that we all really achieved something during our time with her.’ JH

‘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 a professional with a capital ‘P’ and you give of your best in everything that you offer your students in terms of materials, food and of yourself.’ CB

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

Praise for the previous pastel course at the Watermill

We both had a fantastic time at the Watermill. I really didn't know what to expect from such a holiday, I have to say it exceeded my expectations! From the minute we arrived we were made to feel very welcome, our room ' Botticelli' was lovely (especially the bed), the food was first class, location was just so peaceful, the company fun and the pastel tuition was just outstanding. I've learned a huge amount and now all I have to do is put it into practice! VJ

Thanks for a magic week. The memories linger long. K O’R