What is watercolor?
Watercolor is a mostly translucent medium, a colored pigment in a water-soluble binder. Water carries the pigment across the paper — and the management of that process is key to handling the medium well.
Watercolor can be purchased in a variety of forms: as pans of dried paint to reactivate, fill a palette using tubes, or buy it in stick or liquid form.
Artist-grade watercolors are higher quality and more lightfast than student grade. Good cotton papers make watercolors perform at their best!
Best advice: Discovering your own style can take years of study; don’t rush! Practice consistently. Not just once or twice a month, but a small bit of watercolor play daily can vastly speed your journey to get results.
Get started with watercolor
Brand new? Purchase the best quality you can afford; artist-quality lightfast paints, quality brushes, and good paper will help you achieve the success you’re looking for.
Each class stars with a free “preclass” lesson where supplies are discussed; visit those even if not taking the class and get supply tips!
Get a solid footing under you to understand water management, color theory and the basics of technique in a sketchbook you’ll learn to make from a sheet of watercolor paper.
Learn to paint with only six basic colors – mixing warm red, yellow, and blue with cool red, yellow, and blue for a never-ending variety of hues without buying more tubes of paint!
PAINTS & PALETTE
Tubes of watercolor are more cost effective than pre-poured pans, but you’ll need a palette to squeeze them into, OR you can squeeze out “dots” of color to paint from onto a white plate or tile for mixing (an inexpensive way to go!).
High quality 100% cotton paper will make a large differnce in the way paint moves and the edges achieved. Hot press has mostly no texture, cold press a medium texture, and rough has the most texture.
Best tip: buy the best brushes you can afford. Nothing is more frustrating than a brush losing bristles or stealing your control over pigments!
Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.
– Leo Burnett
Foundations: Eating our veggies
This group of courses are technique-heavy, and can really help with “scene” classes. Any courses in drawing will also teach the foundations of art that help with all mediums.
Taught in graphite pencil, this course is a great base to learn about highlights and shadows for any medium.
30 Days to more confident watercolor sketching
Dive into a curated set of postcard paintings that will teach gardens, rocks, paths, and more.
ONE FISH TWO FISH: NEGATIVE PAINTING
Learn how negative shapes reveal positive ones in two watercolors packed with techniques.
Painting plants and flowers
Flowers are a favorite subject for many painters – choose one of these or the 30 Days class listed above to get your fill!
In ten relaxing paintings, learn to exploit transparency, mix colors, and add berries onto branches.
ONE ROSE FOUR WAYS
Study one rose in four mediums – pencil, colored pencil, alcohol marker, and watercolor.
Create 10 flower paintings with Trillium, Roses, Snapdragons, and Ranunculus in a loose style.
Translucence is an effect unique to watercolor and the lure that beckons me into the studio for yet another creative adventure.
– Michele Cooper
Dip into a mini course
Try out a scene or a specialty subject in a short and inexpensive class that’ll inspire you.
Look up at the sky and discover how to paint five cloud formations you might see above.
Explore the mixing of colors and management of pigment in intergalactic skies.
With a few simple strokes and limited palatte, create holiday cards with iconic images.
Especially for the cardmakers
Many students love to learn to create handcrafted cards—these are just a few tailored just for that purpose!
All Season Watercolor
Celebrate the seasons with backgrounds perfect to set off a design using your favorite stamped images or drawings.
Stamped watercolor jumpstart
Get started with water-based markers, a brush, and Art Impressions stamps.
Stamped watercolor scenes
Expand on techniwues taught in the Jumpstart class with five more complex scenes using Art Impressions stamps.
Watercolor Backgrounds for Cardmakers
Playtime! Explore how watercolor moves and find new ways to change up a loose background in this class that’ll help you create 15 cards to decorate.
CREATIVE HOLIDAY TAGS
Taught in several mediums – including no coloring at all – there are 60 tutorials that can also be made into birthday or other gift tags for year round use!
Landscape Foundations for Watercolorists
Tackling just one aspect of a full landscape is a more effective way to learn, rather than trying the trees AND waterfall AND river AND…..all at once.
Watercolor Trees I
Learn to paint single trees with simple landscape elements behind them.
Watercolor Trees II
Begin to create stands of trees that melt into each other for lush, beautiful treescapes.
Rocks and Ripples
For the love of puddles, lakes, and streams…paint rocks, water, and reflections.
Wash and Ink
Nothing can improve on a watercolor the way a little pen and ink can.
Wash and ink
In this exciting class, learn to splash on some watercolor – then bring it to live with pen and ink details!
Watercolor isn’t just for frames and cards – bookmarks and Bible journaling too!
Winter Watercolor Bookmarks
Explore the application of color to create beautiful frozen scenes perfect for bookmarks – or expand them to create full watercolor paintings.
Stay tuned for more watercolor courses
Several courses are added in each medium each year – if you have particular suggestions, feel free to email them – and be sure to subscribe to our monthly-ish newsletter so you’re the first to hear when there’s an exciting new course to sign up for!