Watercolour I: Basic Techniques and Fundamentals

Instructor: Kelly Goerzen
April 13-14 and 27-28
9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday
Room 118 Williams Building
$360 supplies extra
Prerequisite: none

Students will get an overview of watercolour materials and methods of application in order to establish a foundation that will eventually lead to an individual style. There will be lots of opportunity for asking questions, for individual instruction, for practicing the concepts of watercolour painting, for gaining confidence, and for learning how to take a subject from idea to completion. This course stresses the importance of training the eye to 'see'. Watercolour is inherently different from other media, so even experienced artists will benefit from this introduction. 



Art Placement, Hues, and the U of S Bookstore are good places to shop. www.currys.com has the cheapest prices but unless your purchase is over $75 there is a shipping cost.

If you purchase all the materials recommended on this list you will be set-up to paint with watercolours for many years to come. If you are hesitant to make this commitment, please be sure to at least bring everything in the following section and anything in the remaining sections that is identified as must bring.

  • 1 - 2B pencil
  • 1 - white crayon, or white pencil crayon, or white conté
  • 1 - soft eraser
  • 1 - pen for taking notes
  • Some paper for notes
  • Masking tape at least 1" width
  • Kleenex
  • Plastic, white coated metal, or ceramic palette with at least 12 wells, or better still a lot of flat sections or a white plate and a bunch of small ‘margarine’ containers - even Dollarama stores sell suitable palettes
  • A leakproof jar or container to hold paint water


  • 1 - piece of ¼” hardboard or flat smooth wood, 18”x 24” to use for stretching paper on or taping or clipping paper to (get at a lumber store) or - if you are already using other types of flat smooth boards you may bring them instead - another alternative for one of the boards is a piece of corrugated plastic at least 18” x 24” (get at a lumber store); make sure the corrugations run parallel to the longest side. This board is lightweight but only suitable for use with paper that you don’t need to stretch (300 lb weight).
  • There are some boards in our classroom that you will be able to use if you don’t want to purchase your own.


  • Must bring first weekend: 2 - watercolour paper pads; 140 lb, cold-pressed (same as rough): 9" x 12" and/or 10" x 14".
  • Must bring second weekend: 1 - piece of 22”x 30”, 140lb, cold-pressed(rough), acid-free watercolour paper (Arches, Waterford, or similar brand).
  • The best paper to use is 300 lb cold-pressed (rough) paper (Arches or similar brand - must show a watermark). It is expensive but if you are not a complete beginner you may wish to have one sheet of this instead of or as well as, the 140 lb sheet.
  • An 8" x 10" watercolour BLOCK of cold-pressed (rough) paper is also very handy. The U of S Bookstore sells an inexpensive one.
  • Bring scraps of watercolour paper that you have; these could be the back of paintings that you don’t want to keep (you will use these for practicing technique). If you do not have any, you will be using paper from your watercolour pad.
  • Must bring a few sheets of any kind of white paper for testing colours on.


  • Must bring 1 - round, short handled brush. If you are buying only one an excellent choice would be a Size #12 Princeton Snap. If you don't mind please also purchase a Snap size #10.
  • Must bring 1 - flat brush for washes, 1" or 2" size works well. Art Placement sells a PrincetonHaké brush that is excellent. Haké brushes are inexpensive - you do not need an expensive flat brush.
  • Also please bring the brushes that you are currently using, and if you have it, one that is worn out (has lost its sharp point).
  • DO NOT BUY oil painting brushes.


Must bring tubes of watercolour(not Gouache) paint (5 ml tubes is all that is required).I use only Winsor Newton (NOT Cotman) watercolour paints; they have the highest pigmentation, and I have always used cadmium reds and cadmium yellows. If you want to use cheaper paints see "Recommend" below.DO NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR THESE BASIC COLOURS. Do not buy Green, White, or Black.

3 Blue:

  • French Ultramarine - absolutely essential
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Prussian or Antwerp Blue

2 Yellow:

  • One of Cadmium Yellow Deep or Cadmium Yellow (not light or pale)
  • Yellow Ochre

2 Red:

  • Cadmium Red Deep or Cadmium Red (not light)
  • Permanent Rose 

1 Brown

  • Burnt Sienna - absolutely essential


  • Winsor Newton French Ultramarine
  • Winsor Newton Burnt Sienna
  • Holbein Cerulean Blue
  • Holbein Prussian Blue
  • Winsor Newton Cadmium Yellow or try New Gamboge
  • Holbein Yellow Ochre
  • Winsor Newton Cadmium Red deep
  • Holbein Permanent Rose 

Avoid buying any paint with the word hue after the colour. I am not familiar with the quality or colours of QOR, Daniel Smith, M Graham or Reeves paints.


Must bring 2 photos that you have taken that you would like to paint, or pictures from a magazine or calendar:

  • One photo of a simple WINTER scene of riverbank or prairie
  • AND one photo or picture of a NON-WINTER landscape

In order to guarantee the best learning/teaching experience possible, you may NOT paint from electronic devices or printouts with poor colour quality. Suitable photos will be provided.