Painting by Lynne Baur of a blue sky with cumuls clouds, reflected in Lake St. Croix on the beach in Hudson, WI

Watercolor Skill-builder

18 hours of instruction in six 3-hour sessions. (click here for schedule of upcoming classes and workshops)

Course Description:

These courses deal with common difficulties faced by watercolor painters at the beginner to advanced intermediate level. 

Strengthen your technical and design skills in watercolor and take your painting to the next level! To take this class, you should have taken Watercolor Jumpstart or have enough prior experience with watercolor to paint independently on your own projects (even if they don’t always turn out the way you’d hoped!). In each class, I will demonstrate techniques and offer fun skill-building activities. You’ll apply the skills you are learning to your own project(s) over the course of the class, with plenty of one-on-one coaching appropriate to your skill level and project(s). Please bring your painting supplies and any still life items, sketches, photos or other references you might wish to use to the first class meeting.

For Beginner to Intermediate Watercolor Painters. For this class you should:

  • have your own watercolor supplies
  • be able to paint independently on your own projects (even if they don’t always turn out the way you’d hoped)

If you’ve never painted in watercolor before, or don’t feel able to work independently, get off to a solid  start with Watercolor Jumpstart!

Skill-building exercises and coaching on individual projects. The level of the class is usually determined by talking with students and watching them work. We’ll adapt to the needs of those enrolled. Topics covered will depend on the interests and skill levels of the students.

Possible Topics:

  • choosing and arranging picture elements
  • designing a value scheme
  • color theory and choosing a color scheme
  • exploiting pigment properties to make painting easier
  • planning a painting strategy to minimize difficulties
  • reserving or recovering lights
  • using elements and principles of design to strengthen your work
  • establishing good work habits to retain freshness and avoid mud and overworked areas
  • creating a “glow” or sense of light
  • painting realistic shadows and creating the illusion of form/dimension
  • evaluating work-in-progress/making adjustments and fixing boo-boos
  • negative painting
  • controlling edges
  • using wet-in-wet effects consistently and effectively
  • expressive brushwork and brush drawing
  • finding your artistic voice and personal style
  • techniques for suggesting textures (foliage/trees, rough surfaces, hair, fur or feathers, etc.)
  • techniques for soft subjects (clouds/skies, soft facial features, flower petals, etc.)
  • techniques for reflective subjects (water, glass, metal, etc.)
  • mixed media techniques (incorporating line, collage, opaque paints)

Exercises will be targeted towards specific skills of interest to participants in each class.

Class Handouts and Videos:

Download Recommended Supply List


Download Exploring Color Handout


Download Color Wheel Exercise Template


Download Black & White Tulip Photo for Color Experiments
Tearing Watercolor Paper to Size:

Stretching Watercolor Paper (3 Methods):

Transferring a Drawing:

Color Wheel Exercise, Part 1: Primaries, Secondaries, Tertiaries

Download Template for Color Wheel Exercise (Part 2 video coming soon)

Hummingbird Brush Drawing

Download Completed Hummingbird Brush Drawing
(click here for schedule of upcoming classes and workshops)