• All Levels
  • Painting

This course will provide a fundamental approach to watercolour, for both the beginner and advanced student, with an emphasis on transparency, colour mixing, brushworks, washes and illumination while being true to the John Singer Sargent approach to the medium. Students will work from still-life and landscape and can expect demonstrations followed by ample painting time, and a critique towards the end of each class.


* This course is not currently open for registration

What you will learn

  • A thorough grounding on the trinity of watercolour, wet on wet, wet on dry, dry brush, plus glazing.
  • Colour mixing, using a full palette of permanent light-fast colours. Colour theory, colour exploration.
  • Composition, emphasizing the focal point.
  • Studies of the technique of Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Charles Demuth, and others.

Materials to Bring

PAINT – A Complete list of Colours  *(The colours bolded are the primary colours)

  • Titanium white (WN or holbein), 
  • Cadmium yellow pale (Winsor & Newton)
  • Cadmium orange
  • Cadmium Scarlet (WN)
  • Cadmium red deep 
  • Permanent rose in (W&N)
  • Alizarin crimson 
  • Burnt sienna
  • Yellow ochre
  • Sepia 
  • Cadmium green pale (Holbein) (alternative: M.Graham Company’s Permanent Green Pale)
  • Winsor green blue shade (phthalo green) 
  • Winsor violet
  • French ultramarine blue
  • Winsor Blue (red shade) / phthalo blue
  • Cobalt blue 
  • Cerulean blue 
  • Cobalt turquoise light (WN)  
  • Paynes gray


Recommended tube paints

  • Winsor & Newton, Holbein, M. Graham Co., Stevensons – all in 5ml watercolours

*One can also choose to begin your watercolour study by using just the primary colours: 

  • Cadmium yellow pale, 
  • Quinacridone red (permanent rose in WN) 
  • Winsor blue (red Shade) otherwise referred to as phthalo blue


Recommended watercolour sets (24) Pan

  • Yarka 24 pan set or Pelican 24 pan set



  • #12 -24 round synthetic sable
  • # 6 round synthetic sable
  • 1" flat synthetic sable
  • #2 or larger rigger brush




140 pound smooth/medium/rough



Any plastic or metal palette with ridged reservoirs for mixing, and enough slots for all the colours listed above, with additional room for more colours. Alternatives to store bought palettes include old china or ceramic plates. Some can be found around the sinks in the classroom. Other alternatives include both plastic and styrofoam meat trays.

Recommended Palettes: Robert E. Wood Palette (24 wells, cheapest at Gwartmans), John Pike Palette (20 wells, has air tight lid - can be purchased at Curry's only)

Remember that if you have twenty or so colours, that you need a palette with that many pigment wells to facilitate the use of your colours.




Clean, unpainted or varnished 1/2" plywood. (There are some available in under the sink in the classroom.)



  • Sponges, tissue, or paper toweling
  • pencils (HB)
  • gum erasers


Books To Study

For anyone truly interested in watercolour, these are the books!


A Wash in Color: Homer, Sargent, and the Great American Watercolour

By Sue Welsh Reed, and Carol Troyen

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in association with Bullfinch Press, Little Brown Company 1993


American Traditions in Watercolor

The Worcester Art Museum Collection

Abbeville Press Publishers New York 1987


Edward Hopper 

The Watercolors

Virginia M. Mecklenburg

National Museum of American Art

Smithsonian Institution

W.W. Norton & Company 

New York & London 1999


Charles Demuth

By Alvord L. Eiseman

Watson-Guptill Publications New York 1982


The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent

By Carl Little

University of California Press 1998


The Artist’s Handbook of  Materials and Techniques 5th Edition 

Ralph Mayer


Needless to say, all these books are out of print, but you can purchase them either online or through Acadia Art and Rare Books, 232 Queen Street East, Toronto 416.364.7638


Great Watercolours To Study


John Singer Sargent’s watercolour entitled “Muddy Alligators”

John Singer Sargent’s watercolour entitled “Corfu, Lights and shadows, 1909,

John Singer Sargent’s watercolour entitled “La Blancheria”, 1910

John Singer Sargent’s watercolour sketch entitled “Gourds”

Winslow Homer’s last painting entitled “The diamond Shoal”

John Singer Sargent’s watercolour entitled “Muddy Alligators”

Charles Demuth’s watercolour entitled “Apples and Green Glass”,

Winslow Homer’s watercolour entitled “The Adirondack Guide”


Best watercolour ever! J.M.W. Turner’s Eruption of Mount Vesuvius