Joseph Mallord William Turner, '[blotches of watercolour]' 1799

Joseph Mallord William Turner
[blotches of watercolour] 1799
Watercolour on paper
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

This six-week watercolour course guides beginners through different painting techniques to develop new skills and ideas for using watercolour.

Artist Naomi Leake leads the course enabling participants to gain experience, confidence and direction and be inspired by working from still life, natural and built environment, photographs and Tate’s Collection. The versatility of watercolours will be explored individually and as a group as we gather pace, enjoyment and paintings as we go.

Suitable for beginners, some materials are provided but please bring your own student quality watercolours and paper.

Naomi Leake’s art practice includes painting and sculpture: she has created commissioned sculptures for public spaces and exhibited extensively in London and throughout the UK.

Workshop outline

Weeks one and two – experimenting with the basics

Guided by practical watercolour demonstrations and talks by Naomi, participants get to grips with the basics of watercolour painting, and try out some experiments with the medium. In these introductory sessions Naomi aims to spend time with each student, but also encourages participants to feedback to, and learn from each other.

Weeks three and four – experimenting with inspiration and observation 

After further practical demonstrations, participants will gather inspiration from paintings in the Tate Britain’s Collection. Putting into practice techniques learnt thus far, participants respond to works they have seen, or begin observing from still life compositions and sources they have brought in. These sessions will finish with group discussions and feedback.

Weeks five and six – experimenting with practical study

Practical study sessions develop participants’ skills and knowledge, focussing on creating one image. Weather permitting, sessions will be held in Tate Britain’s gardens. Demonstrations, contextual talks, discussion and small tutorials will punctuate the intensity of focus during these sessions. During the final session participants display their works for each other and the course ends with a lively, critical discussion about the work produced.