Watercolor Fundamentals 
Saturdays 10am-130pm June 18 to August 27
Extended class 10am-2pm Saturday Aug 20



6/18     Thinking Visually with Watercolor;  brush technique; painting exercise in abstraction Homework: more brush play

6/25    Color Theory I -- the illusion of "light" painting a realistic and expressive apple Homework: still life  

7/2       NO CLASS

6/27     Color Theory II - Study of a watercolor masterwork; Homework translation of the master study 

7/9     Color Theory III – illusion of "space": landscape and trees Homework: paint a tree

7/16     More with landscape Homework: paint a tree (textbook section on landscape)

7/23     Painting people Part I Homework: paint a portrait (Textbook section on people)

7/30      Painting people Part II Homework: paint a portrait (Textbook section on people)

8/6       Course Project: working in "series" (HW: start series) Extended session (10am-4pm)      

8/7        (SUNDAY) 930am-1pm Legion of Honor: Museum Field trip

8/13     Mixed Media – opaque and transparent approaches (HW: continue series)

8/20     Extended session: 10am-2pm Finishing Touches: Composition and design (HW: continue series)

8/27    Final critique and party


• Watercolor technique depends on the style in which you wish to work -- fast and loose improvisation or deliberate, patient and controlled washes over precise drawing. 

•  Explore your own imagery -- realism, abstraction, surrealism, fantasy  -- all are welcome. (Use photos from magazines as starting points for visual ideas, or bring still life objects to class.

•  If you want any kind of “realism” then you must draw first – either as a “rehearsal” for the painting in your sketchbook or on your watercolor paper before you begin painting.

•  Feel free to experiment: more than perhaps any other medium, watercolor is a “performance” -- experienced artists only show their good work, hiding their learning pictures and leaving the impression that painting is effortless “magic”. They know that  every other painting usually looks delightful - frustrating or clumsy pictures teach things you’ll use in the next painting.

• “Clumsy” pictures are a gift - a chance to experiment while doing a picture “you don’t care about”

• “Good” pictures are a gift - expands your vision of beauty & builds your confidence



Watercolor in tubes “student grade” @ $3.50 ea: Winsor Newton "Cottman” or  Grumbacher “Academy” or Utrecht

Warm Yellow                           Cadmium Yellow Medium or Cadmium Yellow Deep

Cool Yellow                             Cadmium Yellow Pale or Cad Yellow Light or Lemon

Warm Red                               Cadmium Red Medium or Cadmium Red Light

Cool Red                                 Alizarin Crimson

Warm Blue                              Ultramarine Blue

Cool Blue                                 Cerulean Blue

Warm Green                           Sap Green or Olive Green

Cool Green                              Viridian Green or Pthalo Green or  Intense Green

Warm Brown                           Burnt Sienna (“Sienna” not “Umber”)

Cool Brown                             Raw Sienna (“Sienna” not “Umber”)

Black                                        Payne’s Gray

Plastic Palette must be white, have a large flat mixing area, and room for 11 colors

Recommended:  Richeson 15-well "Box Palette" OR Yasutomo "Folding Watercolor Palette"  @$6

Watercolor Paper in 9”x12” pads get two ("student grade" BUT makes sure it's 140 lb weight)

Heavyweight Sketchbook:  (eg, Canson 110 lb. drawing pads or “Aquabee” heavyweight sketchbook) - 9”x12” or 6”x9” sizes.

Brushes - get four: each has its own special use -- with minimum care, they will last for years.

  Flat square watercolor brushes - Get 2 Sizes:Small: 1/2-inch size and Large: 1-inch (or 3/4-inch size)

  Tiny long round “Script” brush: "Winsor Newton 860 Nylon Script #6 or “Utrecht” Script

•  Sumi ink (w/ bamboo handle) or camel hair brush



Pen and Ink Drawing

6pm-930pm Mondays June 20-August 22+ Sunday field trip August 7

Enroll here:


6/20        Ink & Mark Making; 7 kinds of line: simple, contour, parallel, cross-hatch, stippling, scribble, pattern

6/27         Building Texture (Searching Line/ Cross-Hatching; Short gesture drawing)


7/4           HOLIDAY

7/11         Brush Work (3 kinds of brushes & brush pens) HW: Studies of master brush drawings
7/18         Drawing over washes HW any subject using these techniques
7/25         More Wet-on-wet & Wet-on-dry Techniques HW: continue
8/1           Course Project: "Series" of 5+ drawings exploring concept and technique in the course
8/7           Sunday field trip to the Legion of Honor Museum 930am-1pm

8/8           Slides Portraits I; continue course project

8/16         Slides Portraits II; continue course project
8/22         Final Critique




  • Strathmore Bristol 300 or 400 series pad  (9x12 or 11x14)

  • Watercolor pad or “mixed media pad” (9x12) and one smaller to use as a sketchbook

  • 3 waterproof drawing pens:
    1 large, 1 med, 1 small (eg Micron #1, #0.1 #.005)
    Brands: Pentel, Micron, Flair, Pilot

  • Ink – 1 bottle each black drawing ink: one waterproof, and one not waterproof

  • Small bottle Pro-White ink correcting fluid or White liquid acrylic "gesso"

  • Bamboo pen

  • Brush Pen

  • Speedball pen nib set (which includes 2 "crow quill" points as well)

  • Brushes: Flat watercolor: 1" Round watercolor, one medium, one small; Script Brush

  • Large cup for water

  • Small Cups for ink washes (plastic muffin-style cups or cat food cans)

  • Paper Towels!


Collect images you want to draw from magazines (good quality photos that are not stereotypical models or celebrities), newspapers, your own photo collections, master studies.



The focus  is on the texture and not the object!  Find photographs that contain a variety of textures, eg, Fabrics , Flower petals, Foliage, Glass, Grass, Hair, Metal, Piles of vegetables or fruits, Rocks, Roots, String, Tangled twigs, Tree bark, Water, Woodgrain.



Draw often in your sketchbook - from life, dreams, doodles, ideas, blind contours of anything you like.


8 Sessions » Wednesdays, June 22-August 10
6:30–10 pm | Studio 117 | $420

To see the first night slideshow, student work and to enroll click here

This course is designed for motivated and independent artists. Students in this course are encouraged to develop an original body of work, to engage conceptual issues in their painting, to express mood with power, and to experiment with materials – to make art with as much “ambition” as possible – however you define it.

Investigate a story or narrative through gesture & space
Evoke idea or mood through color and light
Make materials & process part of content
Reference the culture
Make it personal



6/22    Series Course Project: “process and presentation” 
 6/29   Value & Concept: "light and drama"
 7/6     Color & Concept:  "light and emotion" 
 7/13   Space & Concept: “depth”
 7/20   Materials & Found Objects: “texture”
 7/27   Composition & Movement
 8/2     Gesture & Movement

8/7      Sunday field trip to Legion of Honor Museum 930am-1230pm
8/10    FINAL CRIT


Suggested text: Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting by Barry Schwabsky

Acrylic or Oil
a "warm yellow" Cadmium Yellow Medium 
a "cool yellow" Cadmium Yellow Light or Pale or Lemon
a "warm red" Cadmium Red Medium or Light 
a "cool red" Quinacradone Crimson or Alizarin Crimson     
a "warm blue" Ultramarine Blue
a "cool blue" Cobalt Blue or Cerulean Blue or Turquoise Blue
a "warm green" Sap Green or Chromium Oxide Green or Perm Green Light 
a "cool green" Pthalocyanine Green or Viridian             
a "warm brown" Burnt Sienna or burnt umber
a "cool brown" Raw Sienna or raw umber                        
a "black" Any kind       
a white  Titanium white         
Acrylic: Polymer Medium
Oil: Gamsol brand solvent and Liquin brand oil painting medium.
Brushes: "Flat", "Filbert" or "Bright"  (1 large and 1 small) + one "Script" brush  
Canvas or Watercolor Paper  140 pound 11x14 pad and/or 22"x30" sheet whole or cut in halves
Other Stuff
o sketchbook (any size)o palette - disposable wax paper palettes or paper plateso palette knife o Spray bottle and Saran Wrap  o Two large plastic water containerso paper towels or rags o scissors o X-acto knife o pencil, eraser o masking tape

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