Watercolour painting for beginners with Christine Forbes

Painting - Water Based

Ref: SWE12172

Book now

Places available

About this course

Learn to handle brushes, use colour and study form and composition as you paint in watercolour.

Course Description

On this structured programme, you will learn how to use observational drawing to gather information, and then apply this to your painting. You will find out how watercolour paper and paint interact and how to use brushes for wet and dry techniques.

You will learn the main principles of watercolour painting through a series of exercises and demonstrations, and create a colour wheel for reference. You will then generate sketches and develop your own techniques through to a finished painting. The tutor will support you with one-to-one advice, question and answer sessions, and a group review. The tutor will introduce you to the basics of composition and you will learn about visual editing.

Some poetic inspiration will be provided by the tutor. There will also be an illustrated talk on selected artists to show you different working methods.

On completion of this course, you will have gained plenty of practical knowledge about watercolour painting and understand how to make the most of the spontaneity of this medium.


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


  • On this course some paper will be supplied for the first evening session.

What students need to bring

  • Please wear old clothes
  • Some paper and something to draw with for the first evening session
  • Watercolour paints and brushes and any other items from the available to buy list you may have

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • HB pencil, 8B graphite stick (Lyra or Koh-i-nor) and a plastic eraser
  • Knife/pencil sharpener, masking tape
  • A4/5 sketchbook
  • Daisy mixing dish
  • 2 sheets of A1cartridge paper (140gsm) cut into 8 sheets
  • 1 sheet of good quality watercolour paper (300 gsm) cut into 8 sheets
  • Brushes – suggested sizes: Flat, soft hair wash brush size 20. Nylon round sizes 10, 6 and 2 (bring other brushes if you have them).
  • Watercolour paints – suggested colours: Scarlet Lake or Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, French Ultramarine, Hookers Green.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Christine Forbes

Christine Forbes is a Sussex artist and graduate of Northbrook College, Worthing. Her background is in design, acting, fashion and catering. She has been teaching for over 16 years (both adults and children) and includes: The National association of Gifted Children and HMP Ford. She continues to work for private, club and corporate clients. Christine exhibits regularly and is a member of the Sussex Watercolour Society. She runs her own gift card business.


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.

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.