Watercolour painting nature in detail - winter with Amber Halsall

Ref: SWE32924

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Places available

About this course

Using nature (pebbles, feathers, seedpods and other found items from nature) you will be looking at how to portray subjects accurately, using watercolour techniques to capture the textures and detail in your chosen subjects.

Course Description

This course will help you improve your watercolour skills and painting accuracy, encouraging you to look closely at your subject in order to portray it in as much detail as possible. You will learn how to use a variety of watercolour techniques to create textures, and how to mix colours from a limited palette.

Learning how and when to use wet-in-wet, wet-on-dry and dry brush techniques, you will also learn about measuring and an understanding of negative space to create a balanced composition. You will also learn different mark-making techniques to create texture.

Sketchbook studies will be used to develop drawing skills and to gather information about your subjects. There will be tutor demonstrations and one-to-one tuition.

By the end of the course, you will have produced a small, completed composition or a series of small detailed studies. You will have developed your knowledge of the various watercolour techniques, colour mixing and an understanding of how to build a painting from start to finish.


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


  • Watercolour paper 640gsm

What students need to bring

  • Any painting equipment you usually use
  • Watercolour paints – artists’ quality preferably
  • Suggested basic colours:
  • Transparent Lemon Yellow, Indian Yellow, Vermillion, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Phthalo blue
  • Extra Additional colours: Moonglow (Daniel smith), Quinacridone Gold, Perylene Violet
  • Brushes in a variety of sizes from 000 to 7 with a good point
  • Drawing equipment - pencil, plastic rubber, putty rubber, sharpener
  • Tracing paper – optional
  • Sketchbook – A4 or smaller
  • Ruler or dividers for measuring
  • The tutor will provide a selection of specimens from nature and winter plant material to paint during the course, but bring any interesting items you have and may like to include.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of general art materials including watercolour paints in tubes and pans (artist quality), brushes, A3 hot pressed watercolour paper blocks (and loose sheets), drawing equipment, tracing paper, sketchbooks, rulers

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Amber Halsall

Amber trained at the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury. She then went on to specialise in watercolour and coloured pencil in botanical art. Amber currently works on private commissions and teaches botanical and watercolour classes. Her work is highly detailed with a contemporary style. She is a Fellow Member of the Society of Botanical Artists, exhibits regularly in London and Germany, and has sold work to private collections in the UK, Germany, France and China.


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

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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.