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December 18, 2023

Watercolor Fundamentals: Our First Extended Course Was a Success!

Art Toolkit founder Maria Coryell-Martin reflects on her process for creating Watercolor Fundamentals and shares some feedback from participants!

By Maria Coryell-Martin

A table covered in an open sketchbook, sketching supplies, and reference images of a misty mountain pass.

A Little Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined our Watercolor Fundamentals course this autumn! We had an incredibly supportive and creative community come together for 6-weeks of painting and sharing. It was tremendous fun, and I’m grateful to the Art Toolkit team for helping make it possible. While I was painting, writing, filming, and editing, they kept Art Toolkit humming along!

Two people lean against each other, smiling in a home studio.
Art Toolkit co-founders Maria Coryell-Martin and Darin Reid.

Our Outreach Coordinator, Cole Morreale, supported me with live calls, and our Content Coordinator, Nakaia Macomber-Millman, is a terrific editor. Finally, my sweetheart and co-founder of Art Toolkit, Darin Reid, helped film every video, assisted with design, and was with me every step of the way as I created the course.

A table covered in an open sketchbook, sketching supplies, and the text "Exploring Color" overlaid.
Our Session 1 PDF cover photo.

About the Course

Each week featured three lesson videos, a lesson PDF summarizing the techniques, a live call to review skills and answer questions, and a weekly prompt. In total, I created and shared 13 hours of video recordings and 51 pages of PDF content!

A table covered in an open sketchbook, sketching supplies, and many leaves.
A photo of my desk after our Session 2 Live Call.

With an emphasis on practice and fun, we explored the fundamentals of watercolor, including color mixing, brushwork, value, glazing, landscape elements, and composition.

A screenshot of a PDF page with instructions for a prompt and a number of sketches of sea stacks.
A page from our Session 3 PDF.

In my studio, I often repeat sketches for practice and learn something new each time! This note above from our Session 3 PDF is a terrific prompt I encourage you to try: paint a subject multiple times, varying your colors and brushwork. If you’d like to try my sea stack, here’s inspiration below!

A photograph of a shorline with a headland and sea stack covered in foliage and trees.
Sea stack from the Washington Coast, photo by Darin Reid.

The extended 6-week format of Watercolor Fundamentals was a wonderful experience and we look forward to offering a version of it again in the future. In the meantime, I invite you learn about our Winter Workshop Series! I’m inspired by and grateful for our creative community and the inspiration we share.

A Few Words From Participants

“This class reinvigorated my passion for art!”

“I have taken several on-line introduction to watercolor courses and this was by far the best. I loved depth of content in the curriculum, the pace of learning new skills each week, and the demonstrations that doubled as paint-along sessions. I also appreciated the superb quality of the instruction. Maria has a wealth of experience as a professional painter and it was amazing to watch her clearly and eloquently breakdown complicated scenes into building blocks of shape, color, texture and value. Her warmth and humor made her an excellent teacher and guide. I am so grateful I signed up for this class!”

“A thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable course for anyone who has dabbled in watercolors or is just wondering about watercolor painting. Maria is a supportive and excellent instructor who gleefully shares her expertise and tips at a level that is accessible for all.”
Lynn W.

“Art Toolkit is very professional, knowledgeable, and Maria is a wonderful teacher! The pacing of this course was just perfect, from beginning color, painting an composition concepts to more advanced techniques. I especially loved the color chart we made, which I refer to all the time. I also loved all the small studies or thumbnail studies we did, from mini landscapes to clouds and skies to trying out difference compositions.”

“The Art Toolkit Watercolor Fundamentals Course was an ideal approach for me as a beginning watercolorist. Maria is a talented and effective teacher. The course organization allows live and recorded session participation to fit anyone's schedule.”

“The fundamentals of watercolour painting explained in a way that a beginner can understand. Each session of the course provided your with a new area to work on, whether it was colour swatches, value studies, composition ect. At the end all these areas where brought together to create a watercolour painting.”

“Watercolor Fundamentals was an excellent workshop; the best that I've experienced. It was so helpful with how to approach watercolor. Very encouraging!”

“What a wonderful, insightful and reach introduction to watercolor. Thank you for the great experience! Beyond the invaluable teachings on techniques, this course led me to discover the incredible meditative and relaxing power of watercolor! The format, the pace, and the content were absolutely perfect.”

“I have noodled around with watercolor for years but really want to deepen my skills. Maria’s thoughtful presentations and emphasis on practice have helped me do that.”

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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