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Cathy Johnson's
Watercolor - Online!

Cathy Johnson's most recent SEMESTER of Watercolor Online just finished -- the next class will be on watercolor pencils. If you'd like to be put on the waiting list for that class or the next watercolor class, please write kate@cathyjohnson.info.

Sometimes, the class uses one of Johnson's books or CDs for a text rather than receiving lessons in .PDF form -- the most recent class was just that, based on Creating Textures in Watercolor. When that class is offered again, there will be complete information on what to expect.

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Watercolor has gotten a bad rap! You may have heard it's difficult to control, or maybe you've had a frustrating experience with it - you got mud when you wanted lovely clear colors, or wimpy effects when you were aiming for bold. You may have heard how unforgiving it is, how you have to get it right the first time, how nothing can be changed.

Not so...there are many ways to work with watercolor, and very few hard and fast, unbreakable rules.

We'll start out with exercises to let you get familiar with the medium, explore your tools and pigments and try out some basic exercises-if you're new to watercolor these will be an excellent introduction, and if you're an old hand, they're always good practice! (Whenever I buy new paints I try out some of these, just to find out what they'll do!)

Learn which colors are transparent and which will granulate, discover which pigments will lift and which will stain (and how to use these properties to get the effects you want!). You'll make your own color wheel and sample sheets you can put together in a handy book to keep in your studio or in your backpack. Best, you'll learn by doing, so the knowledge really becomes yours.

After the second lesson, you'll be ready to put what you've learned together-however you want to. We'll cover composition, value, finding a subject, textures, tricks, and more.

You get out of the classes what you are willing to put into them! But don't look at it as dry, boring work-think of it as play, as exploration. Making art is a joyful thing, even when it's a challenge...

Note: We usually utilize a somewhat flexible schedule to allow for holidays, as well as my outside deadlines or travel. Students have appreciated the extra time allows for homework and discussion!

$100 covers the entire course -- everything but supplies. You'll find a list of suggested supplies for the course in our Files section.

Class size will be limited. When there is a date set for the new semester, you'll find a PayPal button here for easy payment - or mail your check for $100 to Cathy Johnson, PO Box 321, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024.

Click here for watercolor pencil class.
Click here for watercolor pencil mini-class.
Click here for drawing and sketching class.
Click here for creating textures in watercolor class.
Click here for keeping an artist's journal.

These classes are covered by copyright; lessons are password-protected, so please keep your password handy!


Week 1
- Getting started with the basics; warming up for the "old hands" at watercolor, good practice for those who are new to it.

• Tips for making a wash
• Tips for controlling your paint
• Tools getting to know your brushes; various exercises
(I do this whenever I get a new brush!)
• Paper different effects on a variety of paper surfaces
(rough, cold press, hot press)
• Basic Techniques types of washes, flat, graded, variegated,
glazes wet on dry, wet in wet
• Exercises
• Basics homework assignment

Week 2 - Exploring pigments and colors classic and traditional mixtures as well as more unexpected ones. Tips, demos, etc.

• Getting to know your paints
• Transparent and staining colors
• Earth colors
• Granulating colors
• Mixing on your palette or your paper
• Glazing
• Putting it all to work demo painting
• Homework assignment

Week 3 - Making a painting working with layers or washes (were you wondering when we'd get there?) Tips, demos, etc.

• Planning your composition thumbnail sketches, value studies
• Deciding on a color scheme
• Transferring your sketch to watercolor paper
• Controlling watercolor you CAN do it!
• Step by step layers
• Putting it all to work demo painting
• Homework assignment

Week 4 - Painting a variety of subjects jumping right in! Tips, demos, etc.

• Landscape
• Floral
• Animal
• Human
• Exercises
• Putting it all to work demo painting
• Homework assignment

Week 5 - Branching out into watercolor tricks and special techniques. Tips, demos, etc.

• Salt
• Alcohol
• Waxed Paper
• Sandpaper
• Plastic Wrap
• Scrubbing and lifting
• Stencils
• Scraping and scratching
• Exercises
• Putting it all to work demo painting
• Homework

Week 6 - Wrapping it up

Here, you will do a final painting of your choice, of whatever subject you like and using whichever technique or combination of techniques you prefer, putting what you've learned to work. Questions and answers are welcome. You can either have online, class-time feedback, which benefits everyone since several people may have the same problem, or private feedback guidance, as you prefer. (You notice I dislike the word "critique"!) If you have a particular problem or challenge, please ask, and we'll address it, with give and take.