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Intermediate Landscapes in Watercolor: August 26-28, 2018 *Lodging included

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Intermediate Landscapes in Watercolor

August 26 - 28, 2018

Karen Leigh, BS

During this course we will aim to capture Glacier’s beauty through the medium of watercolor. The course will begin with a thorough demonstration of several techniques and an introduction to materials that will address the skill levels of either the beginner or intermediate student. Through exercises and demonstrations, you will learn to set up a portable palette, mix colors and use techniques such as washes, wet-on-wet, and dry brush.  We will build skills from the ground up by doing thumbnail sketches that will lead to more developed paintings.  You will also learn to understand, value and color theory, and their role in pictorial compositional design. This course will be a great opportunity to learn to paint in an outdoor setting whether in the form of quick field studies or a finished artwork. Lodging is included during this course.

Meeting Time: Sunday, August 26 at 9:00 AM

Meeting Place:  Glacier Park Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map).


Day one:  Students will meet in the G.I. Classroom for a discussion of techniques and materials followed by a demonstration painting.  We will paint on site in the afternoon.  

Day two:  Another demonstration in the morning and a field trip to a painting site in the afternoon with a critique at the end of the day. 

Day three:  Input from the class will determine the outline for the day.

Food:  Students are responsible for their own meals. The Field Camp kitchen will be available for breakfast, dinner and food storage. Please bring a sack lunch and ample snacks for all trail days.

Required Equipment (all seasons): Warm Layers 

Course Equipment

Paper: 1 or 2 sheets of 22 x 30 140# Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper (Saunders-Waterford) or other good paper.  Student-grade papers do not hold up well and give poor results, especially for beginners, since they take little punishment. Watercolor blocks or sketchbooks will also do.  Arches and S/W make both.  10” X 14” or so.

Brushes:  #5 or #6 round, #10 or #12 round, 1” flat synthetic/natural blends or natural bristle watercolor brushes. (Lately, I have enjoyed using quill mops #6, 4, 2. Yarka is the least expensive.)

Paints: A small selection of tube colors of your preference.  Suggestions: New Gamboge, transparent yellow, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna or quinacridone burnt orange, permanent rose, alizarin crimson, French ultramarine, Winsor or pthalo blue, cobalt blue.  Do not purchase black or white.  You will only need  the three primary colors...one red ,one yellow and and one blue...but of course, it is nice to have a few more if your pocketbook permits.  Other colors in my palette include: cerulean blue, cadmium red light, ultramarine (green shade), cobalt violet and brown madder.  Good brands include Winsor & Newton, Holbein and Daniel Smith.

Support:  A board (Gator board, Coroplast, masonite or two pieces of foam-core or cardboard taped together with clear package tape) to tape or clip the paper to.  Should be a bit bigger than size paper you plan on using.  A quarter sheet of paper is 11X15. 

Palette: One made for the purpose with wells, large mixing area.  White.  For travel, a folding palette works best.


  • Large unbreakable water container.  Look for a collapsible one.
  • Masking tape.  Please, no blue tape.
  • Pencil...HB or 2B and 6B
  • Kneaded rubber or art gum eraser
  • Scraping tools:  Pocket knife, nail clipper, old credit card, palette knife, etc.
  • Small sketchbook for value studies and notes
  • .05 Micron or Staedtler pen
  • 1/4” square (bright) oil painting brush
  • Salt
  • Wash brush or wide sponge brush
  • Small natural sponge
  • Small spray bottle
  • Scissors
  • Reference material (photos, sketches) in case of rain
  • Zip-lok bags for wet rags, sponges, damp palettes
  • Paint rags, paper towels
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Viewfinder: Small window (3/4”X1”) cut into a piece of card-board
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (original)

Painting en Plein Air

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • Camera
  • Folding chair or stool
  • Extra water
  • Lunch
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear.

Note:  Field easels will be available for students

Note:  These items are suggestions – feel free to make substitutions.

Please e-mail Karen if there are any questions:

Karen Leigh

611 Second Avenue East,

Kalispell, MT 59901

(406) 257-0809 Home

(406) 253-4584 Cell

E-mail : karenleigh@centurytel.net


Art Supply Sources:

  • Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff at www.cheapjoes.com
  • Dick Blick at www.dickblick.com
  • Jerry's Artarama at jerrysartarama.com
  • Art Supply Warehouse (ASW)
  • University bookstores
  • Evergreen Art Center in Kalispell
  • Northland Hobbies in Kalispell

Physical Requirements: We will be taking short hikes with up to 500 ft in elevation gain, into the Park to observe and paint all types of landscapes.

You may need a small backpack or hip pack to carry your supplies.

Transportation: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Recommended Reading:

The Watercolorist’s Nature Journal, Jill Bays, David and Charles, London 2001.

The Watercolor Book:  Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artists, David Dewey

Watercolor Painting:  A comprehensive approach to mastering the medium

Tom Hoffman

Watson- Guptill

Watercolor...a magazine devoted to the medium which will be found in your local newsstands