Details for Monday Morning Watercolour Classes (September)….


Hidcote Gardens…..Hidden Corner 2016 100 x 75 cm

Some Housekeeping!

10.30 am – 2.30 ( arrive around 10.15 for a 10.30 start….gives time to have a coffee and run through the plan for the session )

The dates …..

11 sept –  18 sept –  25 sept –  2 oct –  9 oct –  16 oct  –  6 nov –  13 nov –  20 nov  –  27 nov


Watercolour has many properties. It is a wonderful, versatile medium and has the ability to be both transparent and opaque, and can be used in a subtle, fresh and fluid way. Gouache can be added to make a denser paint and to create bolder paintings. It can be scary medium, and people are often put off using it because of hearing how hard it can be to use; it is shrouded in myth. The aim over the 10 weeks is to achieve a controlled ‘chaos’ in the paintings made. We will explore and have fun with all the possibilities this amazing medium can bring, whilst at the same time concentrating on the practice of observation, interpretation and the core skills for handling watercolour.

We will start each week with a couple of warm up exercises which are intended to be fun and to relax you. I will demonstrate and introduce new techniques each week, and we will use these in the context of either still life, the landscape/nature or groups of individual flowers and leaves. Flowers will be our main focus and you will learn how to bring a spontaneity and freshness to painting them that reflects their individual nature and beauty. Over the 10 weeks you will build up a library of techniques from the exercises and materials you practice. I will recap from the previous weeks, and for beginners, the things learned will start to become natural and second nature. For those with more experience, you will be able to  develop your paintings in new directions. Every week we will spend a little time analysing what we have covered in each session.

Techniques that we will use….

Wet in to wet…. resists…. watercolour mediums….painting with found objects ( twigs, feathers, stones, sand,)  rice…. clingfilm…. paperbags…. cottonwool…. sponging out…. methods for softening out…scratching out….softening dry areas…. sanding…. straws…bleach….stencils…salt….alcohol…spraying…splattering….drybrush…large brushwork….washes….layering and blending…graduated colour washes…different papers and brush techniques

Exercises over the 10 weeks (using the techniques listed above)….

Quick small observational drawing and painting in watercolour ( I will set up lots of small still lives, with flowers and hedgerow finds )

Tonal painting and colour mixing

Soft , gentle colour…looking at

Large, fast and free, expressive mark making

Observational studies of flowers, fruit and gathered hedgerow material

Watercolour sketching as note taking in the garden or field dependant on weather

Working from photographs…this is fine occasionally, however it is very important to use them carefully and not rely on them for all the information , they can offer one form of reference

Still life watercolours  – focus on the flowers

Planning and scale

Negative painting

Japanese brushes and mark making

Colour, tone, and composition

Adding gouache to your watercolour

I will provide….

Large scale drawing paper, drawing materials , some coloured inks, and various synthetic  brushes (there will be as much tea, coffee and biscuits as needed to keep energy levels up!)

You will need to bring…. 

Large watercolour sketch book 20 x 14 inches HP 300 gsm ( or NOT)

Small sketch book  – 140 gsm

A large palette ( Jacksons, Cass Art sell good ones..plastic is fine )

Brushes ( 3 different sizes of sable brush (Winsor and Newton), small rigger brush, fan brush, 11/2 inch one stroke brush (can be synthetic )  and a pure squirrel mop size 8 or 10

Watercolours  – either tube or pan –  recommended list of colours below ( I use Schmicke, but bring the paints you like to use )

cadmium red, alizarin crimson, quinacridone rose, cadmium yellow, hansa yellow deep, phthalo green, sap green, ultramarine, phthalo blue, manganese blue, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, raw sienna, indian red, raw umber, burnt umber, paynes grey

A Sandwich


List of artists…. 

Jimmy Wright, Elizabeth Blackadder, Mary Fedden, Mary Potter, Singer Sargent, Fairfield Porter, John Piper, Turner, Emil Nolde, Morandi, Danny Markey, Adrian Berg, Elizabeth Cummings, John Marin, Durer, , Robert Kushner, Winifred Nicholson, Anslem Keiffer and we will also look at a range of botanical artists who work in the traditional way through to large expressive watercolours.

Delmera Peltata…. watercolour 2014 Hidcote Manor Garden 150 x 120 cm