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Watercolour Birds

Expressive and Characterful

Paint-along style course in 4 parts

Wednesday 15th, Monday 20th, Wednesdays 29th September & 6th October 2021

  • 4 x 3 hour live Zoom Sessions

  • 1 - 4pm (UK time)

  • Re-watch all sessions for 7 days afterwards (whether you watch live or not)

  • £120 per person

  • In-depth coverage of materials and principles. We will build upon these further with each piece - Weekly topics below

  • PDF teaching notes and painting photos after each session

  • Suitable for all abilities

  • 2 Tiers - Higher tier involves email critique of your paintings (limited numbers, £30 extra)

Join me in taking a deeper dive into using the wonderful medium of watercolour to capture the beauty and character of birds


In this course we will be looking at creating expressive watercolour birds. That, along with a sense of realism, light and form also have plenty of character, and of course that all important feeling of life!

This workshops is meant to be fun and inspiring, as well as packed full of useful information to help you progress with your own painting, whatever your current experience level or ability.

Over the course of the 4 x 3 hour sessions, we will not only be looking at all the important principles to help us capture birds in an expressive and free style; but we will also go into materials, foundational principles and watercolour techniques.


The general format will follow an initial "theory" section, sometimes with warmup exercises. Following this we will go step by step into the drawing and then into the painting.

We will go slowly and steadily and this is interactive, so students can ask questions as we go (please read on for more details)

Each week we will build upon the previous ones.  We will have a small break halfway through the session

Please note: All though I will be talking through and demoing the drawing stage of the each painting, I will also send out line drawings and reference ahead of time.  This allows students to get down an initial drawing so they can feel more confident when it comes to painting. 

So whilst some of you may wish to draw along with me from scratch, you will have an option to get a basic line drawing down, then you can just tweak and fine tune it alongside my explanation and demo of the drawing. 

Week 1 - Foundations, Shape & Tone

  • Basic anatomy & breaking our subject up into easy to understand, simple shapes

  • Looking for interesting poses

  • Capturing and creating gesture and character

  • Creating form using light and shadow

  • Basic watercolour process from wet into wet, up to a finished painting

  • Exercises plus 1 main painting (drawing through to finish)

Week 2 - Colour Mixing & Flying Birds

  • How to look for rhythm, lines of motion and interesting shapes when painting and drawing birds in flight

  • Various aspects of Mixing Colours and paint consistency

  • How to mix clean bright colours

  • How to make more subdued and soft colours

  • How to get colours flowing together in an effective way

  • 2 main paintings - the first with simple but fun colours, the second a little more complex. Drawing through to finish

Week 3 - Composition, Edges, Backgrounds & Multiple Birds

  • How to create simple but effective compositions that are exciting and dynamic

  • Different types of edges - what they are and how to use them

  • How to use edges to create interesting backgrounds

  • Other considerations for backgrounds

  • How to get birds to sit well in a nice simple setting

  • How to place multiple birds in one painting, in a natural way

  • 1 Main painting - drawing through to finish

Week 4 - Going bigger and bringing it all together

  • Taking everything we've learnt from the previous sessions and bringing it all together

  • In this session we will look at going a little bigger in size than previous ones.  

  • I will be painting at full sheet size (approx. 22" x 30"), but I will encourage students to work at half sheet size or larger - However if you are more comfortable keeping things a little smaller, that's absolutely fine!

  • 1 main painting from drawing to finish

These are going to be a lot of fun! And whilst watercolour at times demands we work with a little sense of urgency, we will keep things slow and I will be talking through each stage, and really covering how I am mixing the colours and applying them to the page.

These sessions are designed to be paint-along style. They are also interactive in the sense that students can ask questions as we go, as well as Q&As at the break and end.

Please note: This style of workshop does not include direct one on one time or a hold your piece up to the camera for advice style approach. However I do offer a limited number of places at a higher tier where I will give detailed email critique of your pieces in the week following the session

Each session will be available to re-watch for 7 days afterwards. So if you would simply like to watch and absorb, then paint-a-long at a later date, this can work really well too.


  • 4 x 3 hour Zoom sessions

  • Watch Live as well as access to watch for 7 days after

  • Copyright free reference photos (all though you may work from your own)

  • PDF Teaching notes and photos of each painting

  • 2 Tier Options - higher tier includes detailed email critique of your paintings (limited numbers, £30 extra)

Suggested materials (I can advise further on booking):

  • Good quality watercolour paper. A variety of sizes from A4 up to full sheet size, depending on personal preference. Either sheets, pad or gummed block

  • Small and large Mop brushes plus a Size 8 or 10 round

  • A cool and a warm of each primary. Tubes or pans

  • Your usual watercolour Palette

  • Usual extras like water pot and kitchen roll etc

Once you have booked your spot you will receive a PDF document closer to the time of the workshop with full details, links and reference photos

Workshop bookings are paid in full and non-refundable

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