Still Life – Intermediate Watercolour

Explore the world of still life, and discover new ways to work with this versatile and luminous medium. This is the course to expand your existing technique in drawing and painting and gain confidence to move forward in your watercolour journey.

Deirdre will guide you through all stages, from the initial design and drawing to the final watercolour painting. With her guidance and individual tuition, you will bring your subjects to life as artworks.


Course Info

You’ll learn about composition, lighting and colour theory and the properties of materials specific to watercolour painting, including paper, paint and brushes, plus techniques like paper stretching.

The initial discussions will be around the choice and suitability of subjects, design and drawing. You’ll choose from objects such as seasonal fruit, flowers and foliage alongside plates, crockery, utensils or glasses to create your composition.

Drawing is the foundation of Deirdre’s art practice, and she’ll work with you on rendering a strong drawing before the watercolour stage. Once your composition is complete, you’ll learn how to transfer your drawing to watercolour paper.

You’ll then move to the course’s primary focus – learning the techniques and skills to render your drawing in watercolour. Deidre will use demonstrations and work with students directly to take the class through every stage.

You will take home at least one finished watercolour still life painting

This course is for students with intermediate-level watercolour and drawing experience.

Students joining this class will need to have some knowledge of drawing, watercolour materials and techniques. This is not a course for beginners.

If you are unsure if you have the required level of experience, please get in touch.

To be supplied by participant
  • Cartridge paper for initial drawing,
  • Tracing paper for transferring your drawing.
  • Watercolour paper. Arches 300gsm hot pressed paper (smooth). A full sheet – try to keep flat – can be cut into desired sizes. Pads are not recommended.
  • Bring whatever brushes you currently have and we can assess them for suitability. Some brushes will be available for loan on request.
  • Artist-quality watercolour paints.

Some paper and paints will be provided, which are covered in the materials fee.

Other equipment
  • Pencil (HB graphite) – I use a Pacer pencil to avoid needing a sharpener.
  • Eraser, feather (to remove rubbings), pencil sharpener
  • Ruler
  • Drawing board, bulldog clips
  • Kitchen paper
  • Water jar
  • Absorbent cloth
  • Palette – a ceramic (not plastic) dinner plate from the thrift shop
  • Desk easel if you have one
Subject matter

Please bring a few items of subject matter for still life– items that best suit the course content are crockery, utensils, fruit or flowers. Vases and jars. I’ll bring a few things too.

Supplied by the tutor
  • Watercolour paper
  • Artist quality paint

A $15 materials fee will be payable to the tutor on the first day.

Pre-order art supplies

Island Art Shop is a local supplier of quaity art materials. You can order art materials before the Camp and they will deliver to the schools on the first day of Camp. Contact Gail Cardow via email or phone 02 6655 6822 or via the Facebook page.

Deirdre Bean
Course Tutor

Deirdre Bean

Inspired by the natural world, Deirdre has always been fascinated with intricate details and perfect forms that the eye sometimes misses.

An artist of thirty-years experience, Deirdre has taught watercolour workshops for the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, AGNSW, and NERAM in Armidale, amongst many others. She designed and taught a summer school course in Scientific Illustration at the University of Newcastle.

Deirdre uses traditional materials to illustrate the complexities of the botanical world – watercolour applied to paper or vellum with a fine-pointed sable brush. She spent seven years researching Australia’s mangrove species, for which she was awarded a PhD from the University of Newcastle. Deirdre has incorporated other elements into her compositions after artists’ trips to Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Her work is held in major collections worldwide, including the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh; The Royal Botanic Gardens, London; The Shirley Sherwood Collection, Oxford; Parliament House, Canberra; Australia Post; and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

Deirdre is a member of the Watercolour Institute of Australia.