Contemporary watercolour painting with Steve Humble

Ref: SLW32213

Book now

Places available

About this course

Working with your choice of subject and referencing the work of various contemporary watercolour painters, extend your approach and understanding. Using exercises and tutorials, develop your responses to both subject and materials.

Course Description

Through your painting practice in watercolour, you will be encouraged to develop your technical skills with the medium, and to extend your responses to your subject matter, whilst exploring your understanding of contemporary painting and the use of watercolour within it.

Using exercises, the tutor will ask you to develop technical approaches to your work. Exercises may invite you to work in a particular way, or with a specified approach or materials, or both. Exercises may involve drawing, painting, writing or a combination of these.

By looking at examples of other artists’ work, you will be introduced to various contemporary painters and working methods. The aim is to show a range of possible strategies which you might employ in your work. This will also help to develop your understanding of watercolour as a contemporary medium and inspire your thinking.

Through group discussions and individual tutorials, you will be pushed to extend your thinking and conceptual approaches. You will be required to engage in individual reflection in relation to your practice. Group tutorials will be used as a way of introducing new ideas, to summarise progress in the context of collective feedback and thought, and to develop your understanding of your painting practice within the context of contemporary painting generally. The concept of reflective studio practice will help you to develop the notion of ‘critical thinking’ in relation to your work.

The course is couched within the broader art-historical context of watercolour painting - you will be asked to consider your practice in relation to this history, challenging notions of watercolour as a medium, and the innovative use of watercolour as a contemporary painting medium.

By the end of the course, you will have increased knowledge and understanding of your approach to watercolour painting, your conceptual thinking around the medium and begun to be a reflective studio practitioner. You will have improved handling of your materials and started to understand your watercolour work within the broader context of contemporary art history.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • The following list is provided as a suggestive guide. Please feel free to bring along whatever equipment is suitable to your practice:
  • Any watercolour/water-based pigments of your choice - reds, blues and yellows, possibly a black and a white, plus any other pigments that you like to use
  • A range of brushes – large and small, plus any other implements for applying pigments
  • A plentiful supply of papers or supports in various sizes
  • Sketchpads in a variety of sizes, a water container, 3B, 5B and 8B sketching pencils, water-soluble graphite pencil
  • A lightweight board, if required on location
  • Gummed tape and/or bulldog clips, palette, craft knife, putty rubber, tissues, drawing/technical pens, camera, biro and notebook
  • You may also want to bring photographs, postcards, magazine/newspaper images, illustrations, etc., if you think these might be suitable subject matter for some of your work.
  • *NB. The College has a ready supply of large A1 size drawing boards suitable for studio use, as well as studio and sketching easels.
  • No specific preparation or reading is required, but you may find it useful to have a look at any text about contemporary painting /contemporary art history (1960s onwards). Any other text which extends your thinking about your painting practice, the medium of watercolour and your understanding of what painting is, may also be useful. Please feel free to bring these texts with you.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good supply of watercolour paints, brushes, papers and sketchbooks is available, along with pencils, rubbers, palettes, gummed tape, water soluble graphite pencils, craft knives, drawing/technical pens, biros and notebooks.

Additional information

Throughout the course you will be working in the studio and, possibly, outside at times – please bring whatever equipment/clothing you feel is suitable to both situations. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Steve Humble

Steve is a professional artist and educator, whose practice spans over thirty years. Combining self-taught technical knowledge with an M.A. in Fine Art (York St. John) Steve is an elected Fellow of The British Watercolour Society and The International Guild of Artists.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.