Introduction to watercolour painting – adult course

Thursdays 10.30am – 2pm, 10 Aug – 7 Sep 2023
Free – suitable for ages 18+
SPACE Ilford
Book here

A free 5 week introduction to watercolour painting – please note the dates below and ensure you are able to commit to the full five weeks: 

Thursday 10 Aug, 10.30 – 2pm (with a 30 minute break in the middle)
Thursday 17 Aug, 10.30 – 2pm
Thursday 24 Aug, 10.30 – 2pm
Thursday 31 Aug, 10.30 – 2pm
Thursday 7 Sept, 10.30 – 2pm

Join local Ilford artist Raymond McSharry for this introductory five-week course which will enable you to enjoy painting for many years to come. Learn the basics in a friendly and inclusive atmosphere with Raymond, who has years of experience working in watercolour. You won’t become an expert in five weeks, but Raymond will arm you with the knowledge to start your journey with confidence.

You don’t need talent for painting or sketching – anyone can learn at any point in life. Raymond himself didn’t start to appreciate the uniqueness of watercolour until his 30s when he was drawn to some beautiful watercolour paintings hanging in the window of a local gallery. He decided to study the techniques, relearning the different brush strokes, understanding the kind of paper needed, and learning to control the varying degrees of wetness.

So if you’re new to watercolour, don’t be intimidated. Raymond understands what it feels like to be a beginner, and aims to make learning the basics a lot easier and quicker. 

Outline of the course:

Week 1

  1. What is watercolour? And how does it differ from other mediums?
  2. Materials 
  3. Washes and glazes, brushwork – flat/round uses and techniques
  4. Single colour practice – values and tones
  5. Using the above info to paint a simple landscape
  6. Review and discuss results.
  7. Q/A

Homework – practice brushwork, layering glazes and washes, creating a tonal chart 

Week 2

Review of homework

  1. Introduction to colour, wheel, warm/cool, mixing, limited palette explanation.
  2. Composition – rule of thirds, typical outlines and templates
  3. Perspective simple explanation and demo
  4. Combining the above to create your own compositions
  5. Paint a landscape using your own outline and using a limited palette.
  6. Review of results and Q/A

Homework – practice colour mixing, design compositions using rule of thirds.

Week 3

Review of homework

  1. Coastal scene, composition discussion, water and reflections
  2. Creating a sense of depth 
  3. How to draw boats, figures, on wet sand.
  4. Cliffs and rocks along the shore.
  5. Paint a coastal scene from a given composition
  6. Review results and Q/A

Homework – practice your coastal compositions, boats, people on wet sand and reflections.

Week 4

Review of homework

  1. Urban sketching and painting introduction
  2. Using photos as reference discussion – simplification
  3. Balancing the composition and establishing a focal point.
  4. Do an urban watercolour using value gradation to create depth
  5. Artistic licence an explanation and examples.
  6. Review results and Q/A

Homework – choose a photo and create your own sketches remembering to simplify and use artistic licence where necessary.

Week 5

Review of homework

  1. Skies and clouds various types explanation
  2. “Wet-in-wet” technique 
  3. Practice your skies using one colour to separate values
  4. Paint a dramatic sky and landscape using a limited palette
  5. Review of results and Q/A

About your tutor

My name is Raymond McSharry and I have many years’ experience in sketching and watercolour painting. I first learned to sketch as a child when my parents used to send me to my grandparents’ small farm in rural Ireland for the school holidays. I loved it there but often there were no other children around to play with so I started sketching the animals. I can’t remember if it was my idea or my grandparents but it soon became a hobby which I continued back in London. I would copy all sorts of pictures from books and magazines but mostly my favourite footballers faces from the newspaper.

I sketched off and on throughout my teens and after secondary school did a foundation course at Portsmouth College of Art and Design. I continued sketching as a hobby and later found watercolour which I became obsessed with. When I moved back to London I became a member of several art societies and constantly had group exhibitions to prepare work for, as well as some solo exhibitions at various libraries.

I moved to Ilford 10 years ago, and 5 years ago formed a small painting group locally which met in Valentine’s Park. Some of the members had a reunion recently and hope to revive the group.

My own painting style could be called loose or impressionistic. I try to capture the feel or atmosphere of a place and I prefer to work with a limited palette that is almost monochrome as I find this helps with the overall harmony. My hope is to create something that’s aesthetically pleasing.