Watercolour painting – loosen up without losing control with Brian Smith

Painting - Water Based

Ref: SLW12475

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About this course

Use water, paper and pigment creatively to produce individual work and develop your own painting style.

Course Description

The simple materials of water, paper and pigment can be used creatively in a variety of different ways. Learn how to consider these choices fully to produce individual work and develop your painting style.

You will explore how to paint with free-flowing pigment whilst retaining control. Wherever possible, you will learn ways to allow pigments to mix on the surface of the paper, and explore this process with a selection of different paper surfaces. You will tackle subjects from landscape, detail, figures and architecture on both a large and small scale.

On the first evening, there will be two demonstrations followed by exercises on a similar theme, which are quick and fast to get you started.

This course will help you become a more accomplished artist on the journey of exploration. You will leave with studies, exercises and finished pieces which will help you move forward to broaden your painting boundaries. You will have gained confidence in colour mixing on the paper surface and exploring the fluidity of the medium in a range of subjects.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Water spray atomiser bottle
  • An old blunt knife (similar to a butter knife), not a scalpel
  • Please bring a couple of reference photos of your choice that could be used as the framework for a study.
  • Any watercolour paper, paints and brushes you may have. Adhesive tape, pencils – 2B and 4B, a putty and a plastic rubber.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Saunders Waterford or Arches watercolour paper 140lb, 300gsm in all surfaces, Hot Press, NOT and rough
  • Winsor & Newton Artist Quality watercolour tube paints: recommended colours to be discussed
  • Bleed proof white paint by Winsor & Newton
  • Selection of watercolour brushes, adhesive tape, pencils 2B, 4B, putty and plastic rubber
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Brian Smith

People and Architecture are the main focus of Brian's watercolours striving to capture mood, light and atmosphere in daily life. His paintings have been exhibited at The Mall, Bankside and the RWA Bristol gaining awards. He has written articles for International Artist, The Artist and Leisure Painter magazines. He now demonstrates and tutors Watercolour nationally. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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