Watercolor Basics: Getting Started with Martha Deming, TWSA, PSA

July 6 - August 10, 2017

Next Session: Thursday, July 06, 2017 / 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Thursdays, July 6, 2017-August 10, 2017 from 10am-12pm

Course Description: View offers you a 6 week class for getting acquainted with the infinitely fascinating medium of watercolor. The class will be an easy introduction of watercolor basics for beginners, for the “I used to paint when I was in school” folks and a useful review for watercolor painters who have been away from their palettes for too long. It is a “can do” class for those who think they can’t paint and for anyone who has watched someone else paint and thought, “I wish I could do that” or “I’d like to try that”, but who never found the time or took the opportunity to do so until now. It’s never too late. Here’s the opportunity to dip your toes in the watercolor pool and have some fun. Scheduled to coincide with ANEAW and a CNYWS Signature show, you will be provided with world class examples in these two top level watercolor shows while working through a series of easy, non-threatening lessons including “homework” options with instructor Martha Deming, TWSA, PSA. We want to paint because it looks like fun and with this class you will discover that it really is fun. Make the watercolor adventure part of your summer plans. Won’t you join this class and surprise yourself with how well you’ll do while opening the door to the world of watercolor?  

This class is intended to build a basic skill level with the watercolor medium that will whet your appetite for watercolors as well as prepare you to continue on with the medium in other workshops and classes (or on your own), or simply to have a deepened appreciation for watercolor paintings that you might see in shows such as VIEW’s ANEAW and any CNYWS or other watercolor society show and an awareness of the expertise of the artists who create the paintings you will see.    

$250/$200 Member (price does not include materials, see material list below)

Space is limited, preregistration is required.

Registration deadline: June 26, 2017

Click Here to Register

Course Outline

Week 1: Brief discussion of materials (paper, brushes and paints); methods of paint application; exercises in controlling value (lightness and darkness of any given color); same value with different colors (light, medium and dark); application (monochromatic painting, KIS)

Week 2: Discussion of and exercises for the exploration of intensityand hue, color mixing (primaries, secondaries, tertiaries); limited palettes via color triads (color wheels); application (limited palette paintings – 1 with any 2 primary colors and 1 with any primary color triad, 95% of painting should consist of mixtures, KIS)

Week 3: Design/composition basics, discussion of the importance of gooddesign/composition; picture making basics including center of interest (what is it, why is it needed, where to put it and how to make it); attention getters (white, contrast); big shapes (division of space), positive and negative shapes (subject vs.” background”), balance, movement (elements and principles of design)

Week 4: Showing depth, distance; think “mouse” – smaller, grayer, softer; edges – lost and found; contrast: more = near, less = far

Week 5: Viewfinders, the magic window (how to make them, how to use them); varied formats; resource pictures – working from photographs (your own or someone else’s); life or “plein air”; interpreting vs. copying; ways to interpret

Week 6: Application (putting all the basics you’ve learned to work in a subject matter painting);  scaling up a drawing on scrap paper; transferring the drawing to your watercolor paper; wet paper or dry?; stretched or not?; tinting the paper but reserving a “white shape” for your center of interest


Materials list

Do yourself a favor and get professional level materials (paint, paper and brushes). Cheap, poor quality materials lead to poor quality results and discouragement. Good quality materials will help you do better quality work and achieve a higher level of success. Please do not bring materials that you found when cleaning out the attic or that were left over from high school 30 years ago. My go-to source is Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff (1-800-227-2788 or www.CheapJoes.com); call or email for a catalog if you don’t already have one. Dick Blick is also good. Locally, Rochester Art Supply is excellent. Do some comparison shopping and include shipping, sales tax in the prices.

Paper: Arches (instructor’s favorite), Winsor Newton or Kilimanjaro are recommended. Full sheets (22 x 30) that can be cut or broken into smaller pieces as needed (I’ll show you how to do this) or blocks or watercolor paper pads in sizes such as 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 10 x 14, 7 x 10. 140 and 300 pound are both good. Cold press (instructor favorite), rough or hot press are all good surfaces. If you’ll be using blocks, get a Cheap joe’s Unblocker ($.99) for removing sheets from the block.

Brushes: Good brands are Robert Simmons White Sable or Sienna, Jack Richeson Series 9000 and Cheap Joe’s Signature, Golden Fleece or Dreamcatchers, all good, reasonably priced brushes, some of my favorites. DaVinci Cosmotop Spin rounds are good and DaVinci’s little 1 and 2 inch flats are some of my favorites, too. You’ll need at least a round, size 8 or 10, a ½ inch flat, a 1” or 2” flat, as basic. Larger and smaller rounds, hake (pronounce “hockey”) brushes or any other brushes you may already have are options.

Paints: Good brands would include American Journey, DaVinci, Holbein, Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith (I use all of these). I avoid cadmium colors which, though beautiful, are opaque, expensive and very toxic . I also prefer colors rated as transparent. Read the paint charts in the catalogs or information on the tubes if you are buying in a store. Only buy colors that are rated I or II for lightfastness. Ask the sales people for help, too.

You’ll need at least a warm and a cool of each of the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. Keep in mind that color temperature is always relative (compared to what it is next to in your painting).

Generally accepted  temperature examples would include:                                                                                                                              

  • Red: an orangey (warm) red (Cheap Joe’s Red Hot Mama or Fire Engine Red)and a cool red like Permanent Rose or Red Rose Deep, (option Alizarin, useful in mixing darks).                                                                                                                                      
  • Yellow: Hansa Yellow, Cheap Joe’s Sour Lemon or Bumblebee Yellow (cool) and Indian Yellow or Gamboge(warm).                              
  • Blue: Cobalt, Ultramarine (warm) and Pthalo or Manganese (cool)                                                             
  • Green: (optional but a timesaver): Viridian or Hooker’s
  • Optional Convenience colors: Shadow Green (Holbein) and Indanthrone Blue (useful in mixing darks); Viridian (cool green), Hooker’s Green(warm) , Sap Green (warm), Raw Umber(warm yellow), Burnt Sienna (warm red) (these can be useful but none of them are necessary for this class).

Remember, paint is expensive and the paint manufacturers are in business to make money. Just because they have a zillion colors available, you don’t have to buy them all. The 3 primaries listed can give you an infinite range of color and save you a ton of money.

Other stuff:                                                                                                                                                                          

  • Optional but very useful: Cheap Joe’s Fritch Scrubbers and Soft Scrubbers (I use these a lot.)                      
  • palette with a cover (the Robert Wood is a good one, also Cheap Joe’s Workhorse traditional palette)                                 
  • water bowls, quart sized, 2                                                                                                                                                        
  • sponge, old towels, paper towels, facial tissues                                                                                                           
  • white art tape (not the purple or blue stuff),
  • scissors
  • x-acto knife
  • ruler or yardstick                                                                                                                 
  • support board (Gatorfoam is excellent)
  • 1½ inch masking tape to cover edges of Gatorfoam board                                                                                                                           
  • unlined scrap paper or sketch pad at least as big as your painting paper                                                                                                      
  • index cards (about 10)                                                                                                                                                                       
  • notebook for taking notes                                                                                                                                                                
  • HB or 2B pencils, soft eraser  and fine point black marker                                                                                             
  • resource photographs (preferably your own, keep them simple; remember in this short course, we are learning how to manage the medium, not on creating finished paintings)                                                                                                                                                                       
  • tracing paper        

This is not intended to be a “splash around and hope something good happens” class using what I call the “accidental” approach. It is intended to build a basic skill level with the watercolor medium that will whet your appetite for watercolors as well as prepare you to continue on with the medium in other workshops and classes (or on your own), or simply to have a deepened appreciation for watercolor paintings that you might see in shows such as VIEW’s ANEAW and any CNYWS or other watercolor society show and an awareness of the expertise of the artists who create the paintings you will see.     

If you have questions regarding the class or the materials list, contact info@viewarts.org or contact Martha Demming at mmdatmeadowtop@frontiernet.net. Please put “VIEW watercolor class” in the subject line.                                                                                                                                                   






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