The Old School Studio Old School Lane, High Street, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4YS 01223 833064
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The Old School Studio

Cambridgeshire based art studio offering Tutored Painting
Work-Shops, a Drop-in-and-Paint Club and Cambridge Open Studios


Valerie Jean Pettifer - Proprietor & Drop-In Tutor

As a child growing up in York, I loved nothing more than spending my time drawing and painting. My ambition was to train as a commercial artist, but in the mid 60’s this was not viewed as a ‘proper job’ so I trained as a hairdresser before moving to London to work in the family business. I spent the next 9 years in this profession, before a change of direction took me into the electronics industry where I pursued a successfull 33 year career in manufacturing and HR, specialising in Vocational Skills Training and Occupational Safety & Health. But everything changed in 2006. With retirement looming a chance invitation to join my aunt on a painting holiday in Scarborough changed the course of my life; the old passion for drawing and painting was reignited! Then after joining the Royston Arts Society in 2008 I was delighted when I...continue reading

Lesley Rumble - Workshop & Drop-In Tutor

Lesley completed a BA course in graphic design at Maidstone College of Art, gained a teaching qualification in Brighton, and then taught at schools in Kent and Cambridge from 1975. This evolved into teaching art to adults in evening and day classes, along with occasional private tuition for children needing extra help with exam preparation. Lesley now teaches in Cambridge and in nearby villages most days during term time. She paints in various media, but mostly watercolour and exhibits at many local exhibitions, and in 2006 she won first prize in the Derwent Coloursoft Pencil competition for her portrait illustration. Lesley currently acts as bookings officer for the Cambridge District Art Circle and the Society of East Anglian Watercolourists. Email: Tel: 01223 248727 ← → x ...continue reading

Hashim Akib

As far back as I can remember I’ve always painted, encouraged as a child by parents who nurtured creative thinking. Through my own stubborn resolve I never resorted to a proper job and continued painting as a career and lifestyle. Having left Art College I pounded the streets of London with an A1 portfolio full of life drawings. It soon became apparent I was completely unprepared and spent the following six months working on more commercial work. I soon received illustration commissions from broadsheet newspapers, magazines and design firms. Some of the highlights included illustrating a Royal Mail stamp, illustrating a Smirnoff commercial, children’s books and every illustrator’s dream working on several occasions for Time magazine. After years of tight deadlines, demanding national and international clients I fancied more of a chall...continue reading

Jamel Akib

“My aim is to provide a portrait that accurately reflects the sitter but offers more than just a photo realist reproduction. I believe a portrait should have an element of atmosphere and personality unique to the sitter that a photograph cannot replicate.” Jamel Akib’s professional career in art began early. Whilst still at art college in 1989, Jamel was selected to illustrate the cover of The Observer newspaper. This prestigious commission lead to the Observer inviting Jamel to illustrate regular lead columns by Simon Hoggart and Francis Wheen. Since then he has continued to gain recognition for his atmospheric chalk pastel work and has received many high profile commissions and awards. Jamel Akib was born in Leigh-on-sea, Essex, England, on the 4th November 1965 to mixed English and Malaysian parentage. He moved to Sabah, North Borneo at the ag...continue reading


Award winning painter and instructor Tony has been painting for more than 40 years. A self-taught painter of colour, light and movement, with a complete understanding of his surroundings. Born and raised in the Channel Islands he moved to paint and live in Cornwall to capture and experience the clear light of the West Country. Tony has exhibited extensively over the years, his work can be found in many leading galleries as well as private collections worldwide, including the Maritime Museum Guernsey. In 2004 received a commission for twelve paintings for the staterooms on board the “Queen Mary 2” the new cruise flag ship for the Cunard Line, The Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery. He has exhibited with the Pastel Society of America in New York and with the Royal Society of Marine Artists and The Pastel Society in London. A move to New Zealan...continue reading

Vic Bearcroft

Vic is a professional wildlife and pet portrait artist who specialises in pastel on velour, but also works in pencil, watercolour, coloured pencil, charcoal, oil and acrylic media. Having spent part of his childhood in Kenya, Vic has been drawing animals since he could hold a pencil. Being passionate about wildlife in general – particularly wolves – enables Vic to work with a large number of animal welfare and conservation organisations worldwide, donating prints, merchandise and funds. While I consider myself to be a wildlife artist, I prefer to paint close up intimate portraits of animals as individuals, rather than in landscape settings. My aim is to capture not only the likeness of the subject in my painting, but also the life and soul in its eyes. To me, eyes are the most important aspect of a portrait human or animal. People tell me t...continue reading

Debbie Bellaby

I love to draw people and animals; in fact anything that contains a bit of humour interests me!  Using pen, pencil, watercolour and digital media, line drawing is at the heart of all my work, and since graduating from Bath College with a BA in Graphic Design and Illustration I have worked in the creative industry. In recent years I have discovered a love of teaching art, and this is something I very much want to continue alongside my own illustration career.  Recent work has included illustrating children’s books, giftware, stationery and numerous card deigns. Originally from Cambridge I am now living in Ely.  I’m also a member of Cambridge Open Studios, and you can find out more about my work here Published books: Mercy Methuen by Vincent Spada. North Country Press Ellimas by W.V.J Elliott. Matador books The Fairy in the K...continue reading

Malcolm Cudmore

I like to describe myself as a jobbing picture-maker working mainly in oils and graphite or coloured pencils. Observational drawing is at the root of everything I do, and I m at my happiest when drawing and painting out in the landscape or directly from the subject. I teach traditional drawing and painting skills based on learning techniques which I like to describe as how to see usefully . I was encouraged to draw from a very early age and, following a career in the performing arts returned seriously to art at the end of the 1990s. Since then I have concentrated on researching and practising my skills, creating and exhibiting my artwork, and teaching. I ve been a Professional Associate Member (PA) of the Society for All Artists (SAA) since early 2014 and write a regular column in Paint Magazine called Sketchercise aimed at encouraging others to enjoy ...continue reading

Robert Dutton

Robert Dutton is quickly becoming one of the UK s best known and respected contemporary fine artists. Robert has a 30 year track record of professional creative activity, to include an extensive career as a professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator, working for many blue chip and leading financial companies such as KPMG and PwC. Due to the demand for his popular painting style and tuition, Robert now works as a self employed fine artist and tutor, winning regular fine art awards for his distinctive and expressive style of work in numerous international competitions. In 2014, Robert was proud to be represented by Nitram Charcoal (from Canada) at Art World International in Frankfurt, where his work received much critical acclaim and exhibition sell out. Robert is a very popular training partner for several leading UK art businesses and art holiday co...continue reading

Charles Evans

Charles Evans has been painting all his life as well as earning his living in many other ways. He is now a full-time artist and demonstrator for Winsor Newton. As well as workshops in his studio at home in Northumberland, he travels the country teaching and demonstrating at painting societies, Patchings Art Festival and the NEC. Charlie (as he is known to everyone) believes that everyone can paint and he is adept at demystifying the process by showing step by step how a painting is produced. The class paints along with him absorbing tips and techniques along the way. Charlie also has a range of inexpensive books to reinforce his methods. Aspiring artists of all abilities are welcome at his classes and he will paint to the ability of each group. It s amazing to see that at the end of a session, with everyone following the same steps, all the paintings a...continue reading

Soraya French

International Artist and Author, Soraya works in watercolours, oils, pastels, acrylics and mixed media with a variety of subject matters such as musicians, caf scenes and African market scenes amongst others. Many of her subjects are travel based including people in everyday life situations. Light and colour are the two important elements in her paintings together with semi abstract passages with a sense of ambiguity. Soraya has received a number of prestigious art awards for her paintings in recent years and many of her paintings can be found in private and public collections both at home and abroad. She is a regular contributor to The Artist magazine. The success of her two art books published by Harper Collins has brought her international recognition with a wide following. She is a demonstrator for the US based art company GOLDEN Artist Colours and...continue reading
Soraya French

Rachel Haynes

From an early age, I was greatly encouraged in my love of drawing and painting, especially my passion for portraiture. However, I didn’t initially pursue a career in art, but used my artistic talents instead to study theatrical make-up and beauty therapy at The London College of Fashion. After a successful career as a beauty therapist and makeup artist, I found that I had more time for art and returned to my first love of portraiture, predominately painting animal commissions. With a strong desire to further my own art skills and a growing interest in the techniques of the masters, I went on to study for an art degree at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, where I gained a BA (Hons) in Art History and Fine Art. I am mainly a figurative artist and the inspiration for my artwork can come from many different stimuli, such as the character and express...continue reading

Prue van der Hoorn

Following a Foundation Art Course in the late 70s at the Cambridge Art School (now known as Anglia Ruskin University) I went on to complete a Graphic Design and Illustration course, as I had wanted to be a fashion designer since the age of thirteen. Instead, I went into Graphic Design and found myself working in a design studio in an advertising company in Cambridge for several years before leaving to start a family in 1985. I was still doing freelance work at home but also had a part time job as a teaching assistant in the local Primary school, which eventually lead to teaching children Arts and crafts, something I still enjoy to this day! In addition, I also teach adults arts and crafts at Comberton Village College in Community education. In 1990 I started to develop my watercolour and silk painting skills, and when the WEA asked me to run some art c...continue reading
Prue van der Hoorn

Ronnie Ireland

Profile – Art: Graduate of Glasgow School of Art (Drawing & Painting) Exhibitions in Scotland and England Work in private collections in UK and abroad Commissions for private and commercial situations in Portraiture, Allegorical Subjects, Abstract Themes. Experience in Theatre Design; Event Design; Retail Design; Illustration Art Teaching: Lectures, Demonstrations and Workshops with Art Societies throughout the England. Tutoring; one to one; my own private courses and public adult courses. Work – I work in several different styles which complement one another and arise naturally out of the particular subject matter. My work is mainly allegorical in character, focusing on how identity changes in different situations. When making the work, the end is never pre-determined but is finally arrived at after a conversation between the ide...continue reading

Chris Lockwood

Ever since I can remember I have always loved messing about with paints. My art training was at Chester College of Art (Foundation) & Nottingham Trent University (BA Hons) where I specialised in printed textile design. After College I set up a retail business in Nottingham with a College friend where we designed & hand printed fabrics, made them into clothes & soft furnishings & sold them in our shop under the name of CIRCUS Prints . I now live in the small village of Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire. I have a lovely light sunny studio where I can concentrate on my love of watercolour painting. I have a passion for colour, the luminosity & vibrancy is reflected in my work. I love to let the colours blend & mix together on the watercolour paper giving that element of surprise & looseness. Flowers have always been inspirational f...continue reading

Thomas Plunkett PRWS Hon RI

Thomas Plunkett studied Fine Art and English Literature at the University of Chester and postgraduate studies at The UCL Institute of Education,University of London. Thomas’s exhibtions include The Royal Watercolour Society at Bankside Gallery, the Art on Paper Fair at the Royal College of Art, The Watercolour and Drawing Fair, London, The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and The Royal Society of British Artists. Thomas’s work was also shown at The Singer and Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries which also toured to The Sculpture Hall, Manchester Town Hall. Recently his work has been exhibited at Chris Beetles Gallery, London, Shenzhen International Watercolour Biennale and previously at the Glasgow Arts Club with the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society (RSW), Fabriano Museum, Fab...continue reading

Matthew Squance

Matt is an artist who delves into many mediums, inspired by both pop culture and playing with abstract form in his work.  Between experimenting with glass paints, oils and acrylics, he has demonstrated and taught several mixed media workshops in the Cambridgeshire area, looking at combining different solvent based paints to create dramatic and vibrant works. Click here to see samples of Matt’s Art. ← → x × Previous Next...continue reading

Simon Williams SBA

Simon Williams SBA is one of the country s leading botanical artists and Course Director for the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma Course (DLDC). He is listed in the 35th Edition of Who s who in Art. Through his business, SW Illustrations, Simon has worked for some of the largest advertisement branding agencies such as JDO Brand Design and Innovation, Tangible Advertising Agency and freelance for magazines, publishers and wildlife art agencies/studios. Simon trained in natural history illustration at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth from 1996 2000. A National Diploma course place was offered to Simon straight from school at 16 years old based on his portfolio without the need for any foundation courses. This lead to him being able to start a career at a very young age and after furthering his training into a Higher National Diplom...continue reading

Sue Williams

I have always painted and was so fortunate that my parents encouraged me, although they knew nothing about painting. I won a national children’s art competition when I was 10, and that seemed to set the course that my life was to take. I just loved painting and was out painting plein-air from about 7 years old, very inspired by Monet. I was brought up in a flat in Camberwell when l was a child, near Dulwich Picture Gallery and visiting there was a regular treat. I studied at St Martins School of Art on foundation and degree courses. After graduating, I illustrated children’s books, greetings cards, magazines and calendars. After an accident damaged my painting hand, I was asked to care-take an adult education class, and I stayed 25 years, teaching 11 classes a week. I now teach residential course for art centres and I also teach in my studio in Sou...continue reading