The Watercolor Workshop Composition Still Life

The Watercolor Workshop: Composition and Still Life

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This course features:
4 Hours of Instruction
19 Videos
18 eBooks
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Lesson Description

A look at several compositional strategies including repetition, balance, color relationships, focal points, using odd numbers, and the "mirror test". A loose watercolor still life sketch is started in this module.

Lesson Materials

140 lb. Cold press watercolor paper, HB graphite pencil, Kneaded eraser, watercolor paints (Prussian Blue, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Yellow Ochre, and Burnt Umber), nylon brush, mixing palette. *Cotman tube watercolor paints are used.

Lesson Resources

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The Watercolor Workshop Composition Still Life — 13 Comments

  1. HOW DO YOU DO THAT??? If I try to use so many wet colours I end up with mud!
    Guess I just keep trying til I get the magic!
    Again, great teaching Matt

    • Hi Barbara :

      I’m Dale…another student. I’m sure your painting looks better than you think…One thing you can try is…I make a little ” frame ” out of printer paper with a small window. I use this to block out the painting and just see a small portion at a time… like an inch or 2 square…then I can see the detail of both the teachers and my own work… If you block out Matt’s painting in places…it looks like mud too ! I think perhaps just going back and making the painting a little simpler for yourself will help you see how the ” mud ” got into your work ! There were so many colours being used…and they were colours that can easily become muddy…it seems to me that it was an easy mistake ! Maybe just practice this exercise over again with less paint…and I’ll bet it turns out much more to your liking ! After a little more practice…you can add the other colours in ! I hope this helps { and is allowed }…I got very confused with this painting as well ! ! ! Good luck ! Take care….Dale

  2. Thank you so much for your course I find your way of teaching really good.
    My question is can you use Atelier Interactive paints as watercolour in this way? I would love to try the watercolour techniques but did not want to buy more paint in case I don’t like it. Also I have a pad of 100lb water colour paper which I haven’t used yet will it work ok with this?

    Many thanks Toni

    • Hi Toni,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with the Atelier paints so I can’t offer a suggestion there, but I would suggest using a heavy watercolor paper. 100 lb. paper will likely buckle. I would stick with at least 140 lb. to avoid much buckling.

  3. Hi Matt,

    Great video – I learned a lot.

    Once you wet your brush and select the colors for the inside of the palette, do you ever add more
    clear water to the brush? In the video you don’t mention this and I am a bit curious. The brush
    seems to get “clean” on occasion but I am not sure how?



  4. I am wondering if a person could sketch out their still life with watercolour pencil versus using graphite. In my mind, this would eliminate the graphite lines. What is your opinion on this?

  5. I just finished module 6 and pears look like a 4 year old did this. I’m hoping that in module 7 it’s going to look better with practice. I’m hoping it will become much better over time. Also do you clean your brush after each application of paint?

  6. My first attempt at water color. Lesson 5 beginning of the pears. I must say my pears do not look like your examples. I have mud looking / rotten pears. On to the next lesson in hopes these can be made to appear better.

  7. I am about to start my first tutorial here (during my free trial) and so far I am really excited about the site! 🙂

    One small request: Would it be possible to include an option for closed captioning?


Lesson Discussion