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LESSON PLANS 2023 SPRING TERM Lesson 4: Loose and lovely watercolour.

In this lesson I'm asking my students to set up a (very clean) jam jar with a small bunch of flowers in it. We're going to concentrate on the jam jar for the detailed half of the paintings but working very loosely with wet-into-wet paint for the flowers and foliage section of the painting.

Spring Term 2023 lesson 4 Loose Watercolour: Flowers in a jam jar.

· First rule of watercolour – you cannot paint a light place, you can only reveal it (by painting around it).

· HALF fill your clean jam jar with water. Place a small bunch of flowers in it, include foliage. Set it in front of you and make sure you can see some of the stems passing clearly through the surface of the water.

· Mix plenty of a neutral coloured wash in a saucer (a mix of viridian and alizarin makes a good grey).

· To begin with concentrate on the jar and the light places. Use your neutral colour to reveal some light shapes without worrying about the shape of the jar (yet).

· Do this by painting around the light shapes. Spread the paint up into the flower area, adding water to lighten and further wet the paint. I can’t stress enough…keep that paint wet!

· While the flower area is still good and wet, paint the flowers as you see them, freely, allowing the colours to run and flow together.

· Note: The paint will not run into any area left dry unless your brush pushes it there!

· As the paint begins to dry the next layers you paint will stay where you put them. Look for some shapes of stems, look at any disjoint as the stem travels through the surface of the water. Note that as the stems rise up from below the surface of the water, they exactly describe the curve of the surface of the water. One the paper is dry enough, paint some of the stem shapes carefully.

· Think about ways to reveal lighter flowers as well as painting-in some of the darker ones. Allow the painting to look unfinished.

Next lesson: One more go at this loose and lovely way of painting. Bring a bunch of flowers/foliage and the clean jam jar. You can add soft pastels as a second medium if you like.


About this site...
I am an art teacher living and working in Dorset.  I have taught for the Adult Education Service and the University of Bath, plus some supply teaching in my local schools but now I run all my classes and courses privately. This site is intended as an addition to my teaching, primarily for any student who in the week misses a class and wants to catch up.
The lessons are also available for any one anywhere who would like some ideas on what to teach, what to learn or is just interested in seeing what we do.
I'm afraid I won't be able to answer emails asking for comments on anyone's work (other than for currently enrolled students).
I teach three weekly art classes in halls in and around Blandford in Dorset and every six weeks or so I run a Sunday workshop in a village hall on the outskirts of Blandford. I also run a vibrant five-day summer school.. Other than that I spend every available moment in my studio or drawing and painting elsewhere.
I studied for four years at The Slade School of Fine Art where I was awarded The Slade Prize on graduation. I went on to travel and study further finally doing a P.G.C.E at Exeter University with Ted Wragg as my mentor. It was a wonderful year of education which set me in good stead for my years of teaching since then.



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