The Heatherley School of Fine Art £70 / 65 Friends 10am-4pm

Back to basics! A course for beginners and those who feel they have missed out on the vital principles of this deceptively difficult medium, and who want to develop their understanding of the fundamentals of classic watercolour painting. 

-wash, gradated wash, tinting, shading, colour to colour, developed wash techniques, correcting, use of gouache , body colour and painting over.

-types of perspective, watercolour drawing, making form in light and dark, shading and cast shadow.

- composing a work, textural experiment and ways to make some short cuts



Structure of the day


-Introductory talk on the general principles of watercolour.

.-Simple wash exercises.

  1. Wash.
  2. Gradated wash.
  3. Shading
  4. Tinting
  5. Colour to colour.
  6. Experiment with colours.

- More complex wash exercises.

  1. Large wash.
  2. Correcting – i. Lift off

                          ii. Gouache

                          iii. Painting over

  1. Atmospheric perspective.
  2.  Stretching paper.


-Making Form:
1. Light
2. Shading
3. Cast shadow

-Ruskin Exercise:
1. Watercolour Drawing
2. First layer of tone
3. Subsequent four layers.

-‘Alla prima’ Still life painting:
1. Drawing for watercolour.
2. Layering colours.

-Texture experiments.



There will be a 40 minute lunch break, but students are welcome to continue working over this period, if they wish.


About the Tutor

Charles Williams RWS is a painter, writer and lecturer. Currently Programme Director of Fine Art at Canterbury Christ Church University, Charles is also the author of ‘Basic Drawing: How to Draw What You See’ and ‘Basic Watercolour: How to Paint What You See’ and writes regularly for The Artist magazine. His approach is informed by a long interest in the history of artists’ methods and techniques.


‘Charles’ approach is factual, concise and informative though leavened with humour and anecdote… As an approach to getting back to basics, something we all need to do from time to time, the lesson could not be faulted…no one felt that they were being ‘taught down to. After a tiring but fulfilling day we came away with a lot to think about and a lot learnt.’

SEAW Newsletter, April 2011


Download Course Summary & Materials List Here