Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 1

Thursday October 12 2023 – 1pm-3pm EST

Zoom link (Passcode 189664)

We’ll be starting off with this scene. Lovely clear shapes and values. To start we’ll be treating this as a color 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 11″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), black.

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

Reference Photo with grid

My Color Exercise Version

Yes it’s a little stiff but that’s ok. The values are good and I think the simplification in the rocks works well. The colors are slightly off (especially the sky and sea) but still work well.

Drawing Video

YouTube player

Class Video

YouTube player

(All Videos)

14 thoughts on “Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 1

  1. I will kick off the sharing! I will enjoy seeing how everyone interprets the image. Michele, you have me thinking a lot about value and chroma! thank you for a great class.

  2. Sorry I had to miss the first class. Enjoyed the video: the scene looked daunting but Michele made it approachable! My darks need to darker, and grayer, but otherwise I was pleased with the result.

    1. Looks great Laura. You’re right about the darks but the value relationships are good. Those dark greens have a lot less chroma in than you think (at least in the photo which is all we have).

        1. I have a hard time with tree shapes/foliage–and the tree is so important here! I never feel my tree shapes are convincing.

  3. So I’m playing catch up and have started with lesson 1.

    I lost the tree trunk and the foliage was a complete disaster – and in not sure the rocks sand or sea were much better! But worst of all was the grass which I tried to touch up and made worse!!

    Oh well! That’s why I need to improve! Hopefully onwards and upwards

    1. Oh I don’t think the foliage is a disaster at all. You have a wonderful subtle change in value from light to dark that really works. You’ve simplified the rocks really well too.

      I can see what you mean about the grass – just a few too many hard edges that draw the eye too much.

      But a wonderful version. Really nice.

  4. Thank you – still playing catch up but I think I may do this one again as it was a great tutorial and I learnt a lot!

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