"Watercolor Breakthroughs!"
Watercolor workshop with Stephen Blackburn (see my upcoming schedule at the bottom of this page).
What would it take for you to break through to a new level of watercolor painting? That's what this workshop is all about.
No matter what level you are at in your painting journey, this workshop is for you. Working with the instructor's exciting pouring technique, we will also concentrate on what you need to learn to advance your painting skills. The instructor will work with you personally to evaluate where you are and where you want to go with your painting. Then everyone will work through the painting process to:
Develop a new, personal painting style
Fix problem areas in your paintings
Learn how to use color logically
Open up new ways of seeing values and shapes
Discover what works for you in a painting
Description of my technique:
This workshop will focus on experimental pouring techniques, using poured frisket, poured paint and traditional brushwork. Students will paint from their own resource materials at whatever size they want. DO NOT draw the piece beforehand - the drawing is done in two steps, both before and during the pouring process. The key to the poured paintings is having the right subject matter. It will work best when done from photos or other pictures of close-up subjects, such as florals or leaves, in analogous colors. That's why sunflowers work great (analogous yellows and greens), but red water lilies do not (red and green don't mix in this class). See my notes on materials for more subject ideas.
The pouring process of the painting takes several steps. After sketching the basic shapes, frisket is poured to create movement in the piece. Then anywhere from 5-10 steps of mostly analogous colors are poured on before the frisket is removed. The drawing is then redone in a tighter manner, sometimes changing the composition to fit what has happened with the pouring. Then, if needed, more colors are poured to remove some of the whites that the frisket left, and to add more interest in areas. Every painting is different, and part of the fun (and challenge) in the process is figuring out when to stop the pouring and proceed to brushwork.
After all the pours are completed, the painting is finished with traditional brushwork. In my case this usually means negative painting and working with a dramatic value scale. I decide where to keep white or lighter areas and begin to work from light to dark with the brush. Then after zapping in the darkest spaces, I work backwards to the lighter areas to finish the painting.
There may be a critique session later in the workshop, after the students have done their own poured painting.

2017-18 SCHEDULE

Here's a suggested material list:

Materials for Pouring

    I normally use Crescent Hot Press Watercolor Board (#5115 acid-free) for poured paintings. I also use 300# hot press and cold press paper by several manufacturers. If you insist on using 140# paper, it will need to be stretched and stapled down.
    Windex spray bottle (Important!)
    Containers to pour the paint from (Baby food jars, tupperware, etc.)
    Plenty of paper towels, kleenex
    Old brushes
    Frisket (Masking Solution)

You will also need some small pieces of Arches for practice and color studies.


1" Flat
3/4" Flat
#10 Round
#6 Round


I use Winsor & Newton professional grade, Holbein & Daniel Smith brands,
but any transparent watercolors will be fine.

Suggested colors:

Permanent Rose • Cobalt Blue • Cadmium Orange • Red Orange or Scarlet • Cerulean Blue • French Ultramarine • Alizarin Crimson or Quinacridone Rose • Aureolin
• Hansa Yellow or Winsor Yellow • Cadmium Red or Winsor Red • Winsor Blue (Green Shade) or Pthalo Blue • Pthalo Green (or Winsor Green) • Hookers Green (Holbein) • Viridian
• Permanent Magenta • Ultramarine Violet

Additional Materials

    Drawing Board
    Masking Tape
    Large Palette or Mixing tray
    (2) Large water containers
    Large sponges
    Paper towels
    Sketch pad
    HB Pencils
    Photographs of close-up subjects in analogous colors