Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Ten!


Fall term at my studio is over. I used the same still life from last Saturday’s class and it kept the Tuesday students busy.

My demonstration was mostly a quick review of soft-edge techniques to use with the apples. The morning demos are on the left and they’re duplicated, for the most part, on the right for evening class.

Have you ever had a problem with your materials that has adversely affected the look of your painting? Take a look at my morning McIntosh apple (upper left) and compare it to the evening version to it’s right. The blue flows into the morning apple much more fluidly than it does in the evening one.

Now, look at the two simplified shapes of Delicious apples on the bottom of the sheet. It’s even more obvious in the evening apple on the right! The blue looks streaky and so does the red around it. What happened?

Basically, watercolour is made with pigment and a binder and a few other elements. The traditional binder for watercolour is gum arabic. Check out this excellent link for very thorough and up to date information about the ingredients of watercolour paint.

So, here’s what I know. After I painted the morning demos, my palette was almost completely out of cool red. My cool red is Rose Madder Quinacridone. I found a tube that had a little bit of paint left in it and reloaded my palette. As I painted the evening McIntosh, I could tell that the red didn’t feel right; too gummy. I touched in the blue while the red was still wet and it didn’t flow nicely. As mentioned, it happened again with the evening Delicious and the difference is very dramatic.

Was it old paint? Even so, should that happen with artist quality paint? I’m curious and I’m still researching the problem on the internet. Guess what, though? I wiped my palette clean of the offending paint. I don’t care how much it cost. It wasn’t any good and an artist needs to be in control of their materials; not the other way around.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Fortunately, the students didn’t have any technical problems. Just all the usual challenges of painting from direct observation. It’s been a great term. We always have fun. My Winter Calendar will be posted in a few days and we’ll be back in action in January. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

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