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2 Day Watercolour Courses - Watershed Studio, Clacton on Sea, Essex.

'Breathe Life into Your Watercolours'


Thursday 21st June - Friday 22nd June 2012
Thursday 15th November 2012 - Friday 16th November 201

Two complete, self contained days enlarging on similar principles of watercolour using a different main project for each day, with much supplementary material.

Each day begins with a wash workshop, colour mixing and application demonstration/work-along. This is followed by the main project, a work-along painting with guidance from the tutor, demonstration of each step, and one to one support and encouragement for each student.

Joe completed this painting at Watershed during his Friday evening demonstration on November 7th 2008. The next day the painters did their own versions under Joes’ tuition – see “Past events” under the “Events” tab.

Cost: To be advised.
To Book: http://www.watershedstudio.co.uk/


Telephone: Allison Bond: 01255 820466
or: email: allison@watershedstudio.fsnet.co.uk

Watershed Studio, St Clere's Hall Lane, St Osyth, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO16 8RX

Travel: Instructions from Watershed Studio Website

Joe Francis Dowden achieves reality with a loose approach readily accessible approach. Key ingredients are strength of tone, plenty of water and plenty of colour. Come equipped with a few good quality tubes of paint and cotton or cotton and linen based watercolour paper as recommended. Use palettes with large flat mixing areas. Old crockery will do. Joe paints with sable round brushes and sometimes squirrel mops. If you are short of these, try purchasing from Rosemary Brushes as they are good quality and inexpensive.

 Course Curriculum


Day One. Wash workshop. 10.00am

Colour mixing, water, tone and application explored. Wash application demonstrated and put into practice by students. Then a few strong mixes of colour will be prepared on the palette and applied. Loosen up and get colour flowing. Why do colours really look muddy? How to never have this problem again. How to overcome the fear of starting.

Main project 10.45am.

The first main project will commence 10.45 am. Bright light, tone and texture, composition, technique and water with reflections will be dealt with - aimed at enabling all to achieve a complete painting. This will demonstrate principles useful in all watercolour.

3.15pm. Completion. Constructive appraisal of students work will be given during and after completion along with encouragement and direction.

As time permits there will be a tricks and techniques demonstration and workshop.

4.30. Break until 6.00pm.

6.00pm. Demonstration. Joe paints while giving hints, tips, the usual good humoured insights and anecdotes.

7.40pm. Finish. (Approximately – can overrun)


Day Two. 9.30 Start. Commence with wash workshop as on first day. The colours for the main project will be mixed on the palette and practice washes applied on cheaper watercolour papers.

The main project will commence. Drawing and first wash applications will be completed before lunch.


The painting will be guided to completion at about 4.30pm. The format is the same as Tuesday but all material covered will be different.

Constructive appraisal of student’s individual work will be given both during the session and at completion of painting.

As time permits, the day will be rounded off with a tricks and techniques demonstration and workshop - different from those discussed on Tuesday

5.20pm Completion and end of day.  



As an independent demonstrator and teacher, I am not tied to a manufacturer. I have written product reviews about paint, brushes and paper for the art press. I recommend what I believe to be the best materials and best value. I give objective and balanced advice and save you money.

As a painter whose primary income is from selling, I can recommend the same materials which I use in my own exhibition landscape paintings.


Bring sheets of watercolour paper made from Cotton and or Linen. Hahnemuhle Veneto and Andalusia pads are excellent for sketching.  

Suggested papers:

Arches 140lb not, rough or 300lb not, or RWS 200lb “not” or “rough”, or RWS 300lb “not” or “rough”. Whatman 200lb “not”.

Other papers: Two Rivers, Fabriano Artistico, Moulin De La Roque, “rough” and “not” 300lb and 400lb.

Prepare paper both for work and trying colours and washes. You could bring spare stretched paper, and some spare un-stretched trial paper. Make sure you have some spare Arches but you can also bring Bockingford or Langton or other wood product based papers un-stretched for sketching or trying colour only, but not for main projects.


For obvious reasons I can’t tell you which brands to avoid but by purchasing from this list of manufacturers you can’t go wrong. The following are exceptional. M V Graham, DaVinci Paints (DVP), Lukas, available from T N Lawrence of Hove (www.lawrence.co.uk). Windsor and Newton. Schmincke, Rembrandt. There are others but please check with me first. Some students struggle with really bad quality paints.

Short List - you can get by with these:

Burnt sienna – use only Winsor & Newton, Maimeri, Rembrandt, Daler Rowney or SAA. 
Cadmium Lemon
French Ultramarine
Quinacridone Magenta
Cobalt Blue
Phthalo Blue
Phthalo Green
Naples Yellow
Neutral Tint

Longer list of Colours – add the following:

Burnt Umber
Raw Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Light Red
Cadmium Red
New Gamboge, or Gamboge Hue
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Turquoise Light (Winsor & Newton or Schmincke Cobalt Turquoise)


Buy at least….

….two decent and well pointing Sable brushes. I recommend Rosemary Brushes, or SAA.

The recommended suppliers provide inexpensive high quality sable brushes.

This is a recommended list of Rosemary & Co brushes.

Series 33 number 2 or 3
Series 33 number 6
Series 22 number 8

You could also get a Series 33 number 10 or 12, but this is not vital.

If you would like to make yet a further saving, invest in the less expensive series 99 brushes, and just purchase one series 22, or 33 - say for example a series 22 number 8.

Series 33 is normal length very high quality kolinsky sable fibre - very controllable. Series 22 is the same fibre in longer length - superb for flowing controlled strokes.

Series 99 is good quality sable fibre.

Mop brushes - you might like to experiment with one of these. (Not vital)

Sable and squirrel mops both large and small are a wonderful tool for lucid strokes and loose washes, especially when working rapidly on site. A mop brush, otherwise known as a “French Polisher“, must have a round ferule - not a flattened or oval one. When wet forms a long flowing tip - less controllable but results can be beautiful. Squirrel mops can be an excellent alternative or supplement to sable. You could try investing in a small squirrel mop of equivalent size to an 8 to 12 sable.     

T N Lawrence - 0845 644 3232 (www.lawrence.co.uk).

Rosemary & Co. 01535 60090 (www.rosemaryandco.com)

SAA - phone 0800 980 1123 / 0800 414 444


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