Meet the Portsmouth artist who found solace in ancient art form and is hoping to teach others how to do the same

AN ARTIST is encouraging people to visit his studio and learn the relaxing art of water painting.

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Thursday, 12th August 2021, 1:47 pm

James Mouland, who runs James Mouland Ebru Studio, at the Hot Walls, in Old Portsmouth, with his wife Bahar, has been practising the ancient art of Ebru for the past 12 years.

After a horrific car crash – from which he was the only survivor – changed his life in 1998 James has found solace and peace through Ebru – a form of water painting.

The 46-year-old from Southsea learnt the skill in Istanbul from master Kubilay Dincer after James’ wife introduced them.

James Mouland (46) inside Hotwalls Studio 13, with some of his huge range of art pieces. Picture: Mike Cooter (060821)

He said: ‘He couldn't get rid of me. I spent the next five years pestering him and learning techniques.

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‘The first time I did it, it was the first time that I had gone more than an hour without thinking about the crash.

‘After something so traumatic, it is always there in your peripheral, especially if you are living with pain. It is a constant reminder.

Some of the larger creative works produced by James Mouland. Picture: Mike Cooter (060821)

‘I kept going until I learnt how to do the marbling and before long I had built up a skill. I found that by focusing on something, it was so meditative.’

James met his wife Bahar in Southsea in 2004 when she was working for IBM in HR. After several years back in Bahar’s home country, the pair have settled in Southsea with their two children Baris, 10, and Melodi, seven.

They opened the studio in the Hot Walls in 2016, selling art and products such as cards, T-shirts, plus more, as well as holding classes and workshops.

James said he is keen to welcome people back into the studio, especially after a rocky 18 months.

James Mouland (46) and Bahar Mouland (43) outside their Hotwalls Studio 13, with some of their original artworks. Picture: Mike Cooter (060821)

He can teach the skill for £50 for an hour, or £130 for the day, plus he holds regular free 10-minute taster sessions and he can take his classes into other venues.

James said there are so many benefits to the learning the art form, and that he hopes to help people by spreading awareness of it.

He has taught classes to Veterans Outreach Support and at Making Space in Havant to people with learning disabilities.

James Mouland, 46, and Bahar Mouland, 43, outside their Hotwalls Studio 13, with children Melodi, seven, and Baris, 10 Picture: Mike Cooter (060821)

James was a builder before learning the art – and has no formal art training – and he says anybody can find enjoyment in it.

He said: ‘You don’t need to be an artist. The action draws you in. Everyone who does it gets that buzz. It dips into a very simple human nature of feeling good at achieving something.’

For more call James on 07968 702136 or go to

Story by Kimberley Barber

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