Watercolour Weekend

Darren Woodhead

Barningham Estate  Autumn 2016 

6th to 9th October 

See the results of the 2014 course.

About Darren

Darren Woodhead is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. All his work is produced outside on location and drawn directly in brush. Recently he has been working with the BBC featuring as a guest Artist in Residence on Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch programmes. His work is held in many public and private collections including a commission for The Duke of Edinburgh’s 90th Birthday. He is the author of two books, From Dawn Till Dusk 2005 and Up River The Song of the Esk 2009.

He has exhibited and travelled widely and is a member of The Society of Wildlife Artists, having served on their council in 2006/2007. He has won many awards, which have seen him invited onto expeditions with The Artists for Nature Foundation to India, Peru, Ecuador, Israel, Sark as well as Portugal and the Spanish Pyrenees.

About Barningham Hall

Barningham Hall will be the venue for this three-day course. Barningham has stood in its ground for 400 years and is surrounded by 350 acres of private woodland and gardens as well as a secluded lake that holds wildfowl all year round within metres of the house garden. The adjoining church is the seat for the parish and even the room that is available for a studio should we need it, was used by the RAF during the war as a canteen. Everywhere boasts a story or two at Barningham Hall.

Barningham Hall is a private house that has all the charm and character of a home that has been in the same family for over five generations.

The rooms may not all be four star, but each one has more than a story to tell.

The Weekend

The aim of the weekend is to stay in a unique private country location exploring and learning watercolour painting whilst enjoying the best country products that Norfolk can muster. The family and private caterers will ensure that the weekend is run on the lines of a traditional house party.

Arriving in time for tea on Thursday afternoon, the first official function will be drinks before dinner at 1830hrs. Introductions by all involved and then dinner with a Norfolk flavour.

After dinner Darren will give a short talk and presentation on the plan for the next few days and on some of his techniques.

The programme will be flexible as we will aim to make best use of weather and light either on the Estate or on the North Norfolk Coast depending on species location and conditions. Each day will begin with a master class before we set to the paints. We will engage all aspects of watercolours with a specific aim to the art of painting outdoors from life.

Breakfast will be at 0800hrs every morning at which time the daily programme will be decided. Lunch will be provided in the field wherever that may be. Dinner will be back at Birmingham Hall.

This all-inclusive Country House Watercolour weekend will be   £850.00 per person .Booking Fee £250.00 returnable to within one month of the course.

All you have to bring is your outdoor painting equipment and warm clothing. The weekend is open to the experienced and beginners alike and a suggestion materials list is below.

The Weekend is limited by the number of bedrooms at Barningham Hall.

The Bedrooms are

First Floor
The Panelled Room, twin beds, unsuited bathroom
The Wallace Room, twin beds, shared bathroom
The Church Hall, twin beds, shared bathroom
The Pink Panelled Room, single with washbasin, shared bathroom

Second Floor
The Green Room, twin beds, shared bathroom
The Yellow Room, twin beds, shared bathroom
The Red Room, single, shared bathroom
The Lake Room, double, ensuite bathroom

The Coach House
The Coach House, double, ensuite bathroom with shower
The Coach House, twin, ensuite shared bathroom with bath/shower
The Coach House, twin, shared bathroom with above

All bedrooms have wonderful views of the park and gardens. Bathrooms in the house have baths; those in the Coach House have showers.

Reccomended Kit list for the weekend 


Darren Woodhead Watercolour Painting Course

Barningham Hall 2016 



Kit and Materials list

The following list is suggestive, but it will give you a good solid kit tried and tested to work outside. It is based around what I would use but I appreciate that we all have our own budgets and preferences too. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to be in touch.

Please think about bringing with you:-


A selection of different kinds of Watercolour Paper.

Theses could be in the form of blocks, ring bound Sketchbooks and loose sheets of Paper. For blocks and pads, please consider sizes from A4 upwards.

Buying loose sheets of ideally 300gm Watercolour Paper, becomes very economical as you can easily tear them into smaller sheets, which also gives you the potential to change and vary the sizes that you work. Manufacturers I often use are Fabriano and Arches in particular.

A3 or A2 Cartridge Pad. To use for ideas and compositions.

Selection of Soft pencils,  B to 6B.

Water container and carrying bottle.


I use tube colour, buying large tubes of Artists quality paints. There is a huge difference between Artists and Students quality colours, so do give it some thought – though at the same time we all have our different budgets. What i would certainly recommend is to try and bring at least some of the following colours:

Burnt Umber

Burnt Sienna

Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre

Permanent Rose and/or Rose Madder /Rose Madder Genuine

Crimson Alizarin

Cadmium Red

Ultramarine Blue

Cobalt Blue

Cerulean Blue

Payne’s grey

A primary Yellow of your choice, Windsor Yellow or I use Aureolin Yellow.


Range of Brushes, between sizes 6 and upwards.

These can be Synthetic, Sable/synthetic mix and/or even just Sable itself. Oriental calligraphy brushes are great to use.

Drawing Board or Solid surface that could take up to A2.

Palette. I use a large Melamine palette which as a lid. A large palette means that large washes are easier.

Bulldog Clips or similar.

Folder / art sleeve to keep work in.


Finally, if there are any other materials that i have missed off the list that you enjoy using, please don’t be afraid to bring them with you.


In Addition to Art Materials:

 Portable stool.

Suitable bag/rucksack to carry materials in.

Umbrella, ( golfing type) large enough to cover yourself and a small pad. This is a just in case, I always carry one in the car and it has saved a lot of paintings!

Warm Waterproof clothing suitable for October days spent in the field.

Sturdy Waterproof boots and/or Wellingtons. We won’t plan on walking far as painting is what the weekend is about, but it is just so we are all prepared and comfortable.

Suggested Suppliers:

Jacksons Art Supplies and great Art – both very competitive on their pricing.