Raw Umber Studios

A new art workshop on London Road is attracting artists from across the country.

Raw Umber Studios is a beautiful new art teaching space which opened on Saturday 7th December. Set back inside the front window are five tall portraits alongside workshop listings, which together span a full width screen. I was keen to see what was behind! I spoke to owner Neil Davidson to find out what goes on there.

“We offer courses in oil painting and drawing in charcoal and chalk. Our courses are taught by brilliant guest artists and tend to span two to five days. Anyone can come. Some people have done some painting by themselves beforehand or taken courses elsewhere and some are beginners – but all our students have a serious interest in painting or drawing.

“I worked in software before doing an art history degree. The degree led me to want to learn to draw and paint so I studied for three years at an atelier in London. My wife and I moved to Minchinhampton 3 months ago and I wanted to continue my studies, which is the idea behind Raw Umber Studios. I’ve invited artists who taught me in London to come and teach here. I’ve also invited artists whose work I’ve admired. People like Felicia Forte for example, who came second in last year’s BP portrait award with her piece Time Traveller Matthew Napping. I work with a group called the Lot 5 Collective. We put on several shows in London and invited artists like Felicia Forte, Cornelia Hernes and Stephen Bauman. I got to know them a bit that way and I decided that once I’d left the school in London I’d like to learn from these people as well. So I invited them to come and teach here.

“I ran a couple of classes in Bristol first of all, and one in Stroud at the Centre for Science and Art. I was quite open minded about whether Bristol or Stroud would be the right place for me to set up the studio. Our courses more or less sold out and it turned out that Stroud was actually more popular than Bristol. It’s been a good experience setting up the studio in Stroud. People have been very helpful and supportive. Lots of people have shown an interest and not just from Stroud – some of our students have travelled an hour or two hours to get here.”

Neil shows me around the studio with its smart grey walls, rows of easels and shadow boxes for still-life painting. He tells me the idea is to have a space which is as blank and configurable as possible. So the setup can work for portraiture, still life, figure painting or exhibitions.

The line-up of workshops for 2020 looks exciting. Coming up in early in the year:

Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal and Chalk with Lucas Garcia
20-22 January 2020 
Learn how to draw the portrait in charcoal and chalk under the guidance of a professional, classically trained artist.

Figure Painting with Luca Indraccolo
17-20 February 2020 
Ideal for beginner, intermediate and advanced artists who would like to gain experience in painting the figure from life in oils.

The Alla Prima Portrait with Felicia Forte
27 February – 1 March 2020 
Learn to correctly observe and record the fundamentals: shapes, values, edges and colour.

See rawumberstudios.com for full details, listings and stunning images!

Raw Umber Studios, Clarendon Court,
54-56 London Road, Stroud GL5 2AD.
T: 01453 394102
E: info@rawumberstudios.com