Intermediate Watercolor Jan 2024 – Session 1

Thursday Jan 4th 2024 – 1pm-3pm EST

Zoom link

We’ll be starting off with this Maine coastal scene. Lovely clear shapes and values but with some nice textural areas. To start we’ll be treating this as a color and value exercise (although we’ll probably end up with a nice painting too). We’ll be focusing on really nailing the values and the colors as well as simplifying the detail where needed.

I will record the drawing ahead of time and send out a link to it (it will also be on the youtube playlist too). If you want to do the drawing ahead of time please go ahead. I know that often people want to take time over this.

(All session materials are linked off the main page)


  • Student paper for mixing color swatches
  • 100% cotton paper for the full painting (I’ll be using 10″x14″ but 9″x12″ is a good size too)
  • Value scale (See the Useful Tools page)
  • Pencil/Paint/Palette/Water/Paper towels/masking tape
  • Brushes: A larger brush for the sky and foreground washes. A slightly smaller (10 or 12) for the trees and more detailed areas.
  • Colors: Cobalt blue, Ultramarine, Burnt sienna, Vermillion/napthol/cad red (orangey red), Cad lemon/hansa yellow (greenish yellow), yellow ochre, black.

Reference Photo (click to enlarge and right click to download)

Maine Coast in Fall
Maine Coast in Fall

Reference Photo with grid

Maine Coast in Fall with grid
Maine Coast in FallMaine Coast in Fall with grid

My Color Exercise Version

Maine Coast in Fall by Michele Clamp
Maine Coast in Fall by Michele Clamp

The values are good and I think the simplification in the rocks works well.

Drawing Video:

YouTube player

The Drawing:

Class Video:

YouTube player

(All Videos)

15 thoughts on “Intermediate Watercolor Jan 2024 – Session 1

  1. Tried to load my picture but said the file was too big. Any suggestion on how to make it smaller to load?
    Thank you!

        1. Can I make a request Debbie? It’s looking really nice as is but I’d like to take this onto the ipad and make some tweaks changes there. It would be easier I think than trying to say things in words. Would you mind?

  2. Oh boy — so much room for improvement. Things really fell apart with the foreground. Nonetheless, I learned a lot. Would be interested in tips/techniques for making corrections in paintings. Thanks for a great first class.

    1. I think it’s looking great already. If there’s one thing I would say it’s that you have great light values and great dark values but the darks are just a little too stark against the lights. Bringing them up slightly in value (tricky now obviously) and making the transitions a little smoother would help stop them jumping out so much. As I mentioned to Debbie – can I try some noodling on the ipad to make some tweaks?

      1. Please “noodle away”. One thing I am discovering is the challenge of paying attention to value while simultaneously paying attention to the behavior of the watercolor medium (ratio of pigment/water, brush storkes, drying time, etc.). Challenging but exciting…most of the time!

  3. Finished, I think, at last. Not entirely happy with the rocks but I worry keeping at them will make them worse.
    Great scene and lesson. I may try again, smaller; this one is 16×20

  4. I worked on the first painting this weekend. Had a bit of trouble with my colors running in the water. And my rocks look a lot alike. I think I need to vary them more.

Comments are closed.