Watercolor Primer for All: Beginners and Seasoned Painters Welcome

You’ve passed an art supply store and espied those lush watercolor kits, brushes, small sketching pads.  You too want to paint watercolors like Turner, Sargent, or Hopper.  Well, this is the course!

Indeed, with wit and whimsy, filled with a passionate knowledge of the history of watercolor painting, Dr. Standring will keep your attention going during this five-day workshop in which you’ll cover all of the basics.  Fundamentally, you’ll learn with hands on exercises that watercolor techniques go hand in hand with the materials that you are using: brushes, paper, and even the pigments themselves all have interesting properties that lend to the final painting.

You’ll experiment with cold and hot press papers, natural and artificial brushes, and with different brands of watercolor pigments and learn how to “set up your portable kit” for painting while you travel for pleasure or for work.  And most of all, you’ll learn how to discern what constitutes a true watercolor painting.

Students Should Bring:

  • Watercolor pad (Recommended: 9 x 12 inches, Chanson XL); watercolor blocks (Panoramic size, for example by Sennelier, 9 x 4 inches)
  • Watercolor pigment kit (Recommended: Sennelier, La Petite Aquarelle Watercolor, set of 12 tubes or set of Half Pans; but other inexpensive kits by Windsor Newton are fine)
  • Watercolor brushes (Recommended synthetics: da Vinci Casaneo, Princeton Aqua Elite, Princeton Velvet touch, Raphael Precision, rounds, sizes 8 to 14, perhaps even a smaller one, but sizes vary according to manufacturers; an inexpensive boars hair 1inch flat brush); and an oil painter’s brush, number 4 bright (it is a small stubby brush on a long handle)
  • Two containers for water
  • Watercolor palette—the flat rectangular box for mixing colors (Recommended: Holbein enameled palette, but a broad porcelain white plate purchased at a thrift store will do. Plastic palettes are OK, but cause the watercolors to bead up.)
  • ½ inch artist masking tape
  • Art Graf watercolor graphite (black)
  • Plastic ice cube tray
  • 2 oz pump spray bottle
  • Graphite pencil (Recommended: Faber Castell 3 H “grip 2001”)
  • Roll of soft paper towel
  • Equipment for open air painting, and if inclement weather, we’ll paint indoors—but these equipment items will be discussed in the workshop. You will not need an easel to paint standing up; a camping stool with a small table nearby is preferable.  Pick-nic tables are perfect for this.
  • Enthusiasm, curiosity, courage, and questions!

About Timothy James Standring:

Timothy James Standring is the Gates Family Foundation Curator of Painting & Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, in Denver, Colorado. Since he initiated work there, he has striven to make art and art history accessible to a broader public and has served the museum in many capacities. He has curated over eighteen exhibitions at the museum—most notably “Becoming Van Gogh”, and has articles and reviews published in the Burlington Magazine, Master Drawings, Print Quarterly, Artibus et Historiae, Renaissance Quarterly, and Apollo.  His writings reflect interests that include 17th-century Roman patrons, monographic studies on European artists, British watercolor sketching, Poussin’s early works, Van Gogh’s drawings, Degas’s monotypes, the works of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, and Rembrandt’s prints. Many contemporary realist artists such as Daniel Enkaoua, Daniel Sprick, T. Allen Lawson, Scott Fraser, and the Santilari brothers have been the subject of his articles and exhibition catalogues.  His current project examines American artists in France from 1865-1913.  Prior to his work at the Museum, Standring spent much of his career in academia. He has been a Fellow at The Clark Art Institute, a Guest Scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC. He has received degrees from the University of Notre Dame (B.A.,1973), and the University of Chicago (M.A. 1975; Ph.D. 1982).

Standring is also an accomplished watercolor artist. He has never stopped painting since he took classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1960s.  Over the past decade, he has focused on small-scale works in watercolor, paying gimlet-eyed attention to the poetics that the medium can express.  Aspiring to sustain a balance between close observation and exuberant flourishes with his handling, Standring is as sensitive to his materials and techniques as he is to the recurring themes he paints.  Although preferential to painting landscapes en plein aire, he has recently been focusing on a series painted in a dry brush technique of fruit and of leaves.  Standring’s works are in private collections in Amsterdam, Aspen, Chadds Ford, Chicago, Denver, Genoa, Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Milan, Nashville, New York, Paris, and Vail.  His works were twice accepted for inclusion in the famous 10 x 10 x 10 juried exhibition held in Tieton, Washington, and his exhibition in Denver in 2019 was reviewed in The Denver Post.