The Old School Studio Old School Lane, High Street, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4YS 01223 833064
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 successful 33 year career in manufacturing and HR, specialising in Vocational Skills Training and Occupational Safety & Health. Val Pettifer – Resident Artist & Proprietor of The Old School Studio 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 j...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 ← → ...continue reading

David Pettifer - Facilities Manager

30 years ago, if you’d asked David Pettifer if he’d ever go into the art business, he would have laughed at you. Today, Dave is the man that keeps the Old School Studio looking sharp and functioning smoothly. His role began as “helpful husband” to Val (the Studio’s Proprietor) and escalated into a full-time Facilities Management role that includes painting and decorating, antique restoration, garden maintenance, firewood supply and preparation, furnishings repair, basic plumbing, some electrics and even furniture acquisitions. Sporting his gift from the Friday (Drop-In) Friends Perhaps Dave’s 30 years as a High Voltage Power Cable Jointer for Pirelli Construction (Yep, the same people that made Pirelli tyres) prepared him well for the vast array of skills needed for this job. In addition to maintaining the Studio, Da...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

Stephie Butler

My career in art started after training as a draughts-woman, but like many women I took a break to bring up my children and it was during this time that I decided to take up watercolours.  I immediately fell in love with them and although almost entirely self taught, I soon developed my own special style of painting.  I also enjoy participating in workshops especially in other media, as I find this enriches my creative journey, with the added benefits to my teaching, and although watercolour is my first love, exploring has led me onto the use of oils and acrylics. Having a passion for painting portraits and wildlife in watercolour, combined with a love for Africa, my  work has evolved into an expressively, loose, yet detailed style, conveying feeling in each brushstroke, in the hope of capturing both design and emotion in my subject. From the first ...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 ...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

Tim Fisher

Tim Fisher was born in Leicestershire and has had a lifelong interest in art. He is well known for his love of colour and experimentation. Working in a wide range of media, much of his art has been reproduced as fine art prints, with originals in public, private and corporate collections throughout the world. Tim is a regular contributor to the Leisure Painter magazine and 2012 saw the publication of his first book for Search Press, ‘How to Paint Flowers in Acrylics’, followed by a second book ‘Drawing Masterclass Perspective’ in 2017. He is currently working on his third book, ‘A Beginners Guide to Painting with Oil Pastel’ He has appeared on the Sky Arts TV Channel demonstrating acrylic flower painting techniques. Click here to see samples of Tim’s work. Or visit his website to learn more about Tim. Or watch a video of him at work. ...continue reading

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

Sharon Hurst

Sharon is a Fantasy watercolourist but enjoys painting silk and making beaded jewellery too. She says “As a child I dreamed of dragons and their hordes of gems. Now, as an adult, I paint the dragons and make the jewellery!” Sharon is a popular TV artist and demonstrates Derwent products on the HOCHANDA shopping channel. She has had her own TV special. She has featured in an episode of “Fraser and Friends” as well as numerous appearances in “A Splash of Paint”. She has illustrated the covers for several books and has 2 teaching DVDs that can be purchased on her website. Most recently Sharon has been demonstrating Fantasy Art or Silk Painting to Art & Craft Societies and Adult Education Centres around the country, offering workshops and painting holidays in Dorset for those who would like a more in depth approach. Sharon is a member of th...continue reading

Kit Leese

Kit Leese is an experienced landscape painter who specialises in gouache. He completed a Marine Zoology degree at Bangor University in 1979, but as he was already more interested in painting, he went on to have his first successful one-man show only two years later. However, the usual pressures of supporting a family led to a 30 year career in the water industry, although he continued to paint and exhibit throughout, with a series of one-man and mixed exhibitions , particularly at the Haylett Gallery on North Hill in the 1980’s. He always wanted to paint full time, and finally took the plunge by taking early retirement in 2012 and since then he has been painting at every opportunity.  During his early years as an artist he developed considerable skill in etching and has re-established printmaking facilities at his home to allow the flexibility for e...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

Carole Massey

Carole Massey is a versatile and popular tutor and has been a professional artist for many years. She has published six books with Search Press™ which have been translated into many languages, and is also a regular contributor to The Leisure Painter magazine. Carole regularly tutors many courses throughout East Anglia as well as running painting holidays in Europe. She works in watercolour, water soluble pencils, acrylics, pastel, and water based oils. Her work includes both landscapes and portraits.  Carole has exhibited in East Anglia, France, and The Mall Galleries in London. Click here to see samples of her work. Or visit her website to learn more about her art. Or watch a video of her at work ← → x ...continue reading

Richard Morgan

Richard Morgan has been working as an artist for over thirty years. Based in Hauxton near Cambridge, Richard’s early career was as a greetings cards illustrator, but during a visit to New Zealand some years ago, Richard was offered work as a background artist for a Walt Disney studio, which led to several interesting projects and an interest in children’s book illustration.  Two years on Richard was invited to write and illustrate children’s books by Random House Publishers, and over a 14-year period Richard has had a successful career with more than 20 titles under his belt! Using the pseudo-name of ‘Maddy Rose’ Richard has written a series of books called The Adventures of Pinkie which he still continues to add to, but he always harboured a love of fine art and 12 years ago he started painting in oils.  In 2009 Richard was accepted to the...continue reading

Ros Ridley

I have always enjoyed art and painting but have increased my involvement substantially since I retired for a career in medical research. I paint mainly in watercolour and am largely self-taught. I prefer watercolour because of its directness – the need to involve body movement and to get the paint onto the paper only once in order to retain the necessary freshness. Watercolour is also technically challenging since it requires an understanding of paper, brushes, and the different chemical pigments that make up the various colours. I was also able to bring an understanding of how vision works, based on my knowledge of biology, to developing my approach to painting. My choice of subject matter is largely realistic – town and country landscape, still-life, flowers and so on. Click here to see samples of Ros’ work. Or visit her Flickr page to see ...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

Sonia Villiers

Sonia Villiers is a Cambridge based artist well-known for her very quirky style! With her bold use of colour, Sonia enhances reality, resulting in contemporary scenes with bendy buildings wrapping around the multitude of students, tourists and locals. She has been painting Cambridge scenes for the last 10 years in acrylic and watercolour, and often incorporates collage, maps, marbled paper, and more in her work. In the meantime, click here to see samples of her work, Or visit her website to learn more. ← → x × Previous ...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