Studio Practice Session on How to Start a Watercolour like Turner

Waterbased / Watercolour / Beginners / Landscape

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Course details

Demystify painting and learn the nuts and bolts of studio practice by watching an artist work through a process live. Join artist Hilary Jean Gibson online while she shares with you some of the exciting techniques used by Turner including his colour beginnings. Approaches you can use to animate your own watercolour painting.

Hilary will demonstrate some basic and variegated washes and show you how to create your own version of Turner’s colour beginnings. Enjoy demonstrations of some of Turner’s other techniques including lift off and etching and his use of body colour and learn how to apply this to tinted paper. Turner’s contre jour approach will also be explored and his rendering of perspective and light.

This intensive session on Turner’s techniques for beginning a painting is a great starting point. An ideal way into enjoying and animating your watercolour painting, whether you’re a total beginner or just needing a fresh approach.


Our Studio Practice sessions are designed to compliment our Thursday webinars with practical in depth demos that can help motivate you by building confidence in materials and process. There will be an opportunity for students to pose questions to Hilary during the demonstrations

You can watch the session live or later. We record it so we can let you revisit the session to refresh your memory for up to two weeks after.

Once you have booked a session, you will receive a link. There is no need to register with Zoom. You will also be invited to join our Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with our community of fellow students from around the world.


What will I learn?

Why and how to use hot and cold colours and colour harmony to create aerial perspective

How to create a colour beginning

How to create a Turner colour wheel

How to create depth and a strong foreground by learning from Turner’s use of complementary pairings such as yellow – orange and blue-violet to create an aerial perspective.

How to use Turner’s techniques to animate your watercolour painting

Who would this course suit?

Anyone with an interest in art, and the nuts and bolts of watercolour. Turner’s techniques for beginning a painting are also ideal for a looser more abstract approach to using watercolour.

How Does an online session work?

Once you have booked a session, we will send you a link so you can join the session. You don’t need to register with Zoom just follow the link you revive when you book.

You can put questions to Hilary using the question and answer function during the session. We plan to record them so you can revisit the session to refresh your memory for up to two weeks after. You will also be invited to join our Facebook Alumni group so you can share your discoveries with fellow students from around the world.

Studio Practice Session on How to Start a Watercolour like Turner

Waterbased / Watercolour / Beginners / Landscape

Sorry, this course is not currently available

Taught by


View Hilary,Jean’s Work

In 1995 I became a tutor at St Ives School of Painting. Offering inspiration through my passion for drawing, water-based media and art history I strive to liberate a creative vision through direct observation and en plein air. My fascination in old buildings with a story to tell connects me to the studio’s historic narrative. Working in the space can feel like being inside one of my own drawings.

What to Bring

You don’t need to bring any materials to the session. This will be a demonstration rather than a tutorial to follow.

You will need access to the internet and ideally a PC or laptop or a tablet with audio. Phones are not really suitable to watch a webinar on as the presenter will be hard to see when they share their screen with you. But we will be sending you a recording of the session so you can revisit it.

Timings and Breaks

We will start the session at 10.00 am. We expect this Studio Practice session to last about one hour. At about 9.45am follow this link to go to your session’s waiting room. We will play a video with audio of students artwork we have collated so far in response these session so you can check you are connecting ok. Any issues get in touch via email at, we will do our best to help.

In the session please pose questions to the artist using the Q & A function. We will pause for questions at different points during the session.

What our students say

I’ve really loved watching and doing the watercolour practice sessions with Hilary over the last 4 sessions. I’ve watched again several times via the recordings which was so helpful when practicing at a slower pace. Thanks so much for running these.

Nicky Grove



Do I need a webcam/any equipment.

If it’s for our 1hr webinars no webcam is needed as you just need to be able to see/hear hosts and you can communicate using the chat function. You can watch using a PC or tablet. A phone isn’t ideal as you will struggle to see enough. So far no art equipment has been necessary but this will depend on individual sessions.

For the longer online courses you will need a laptop or tablet with audio and camera enabled so you can have a screen near where you are working. You will also need reasonable broadband connection and speed.

I have registered for the webinar but I cant find my joining link

The link will have been emailed to you at the time of booking in your booking confirmation. You don’t need to register separately with Zoom. Please check your junk mail. If you can’t find your booking confirmation email please contact and we will resend it.

I paid for the session but missed it, can you send me the video?

The video recording will automatically be sent to all who booked on the session. Currently all our short online sessions are recorded and you will have two weeks from the date of the session to watch it.

Our Courses

How can I get help in choosing a course?

Our friendly expert staff are always happy to discuss your needs and our courses in more detail to help you with your decision. Please call us on 01736 797180

How do I get my work home?

Tutors have special techniques for transporting oil paintings and the school has plastic folders available in our shop for £3.50 or do bring a portfolio.

For international students we are happy to arrange transportation of your work back home.

What do I need to bring?

Absolutely nothing! All materials and aprons are provided although some people do like to bring their own set of brushes.

What do I do for lunch?

Courses allow an hour’s break for lunch and there are numerous places nearby or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch into the studio.

What times do courses run?

Most of our courses start at 10am and end at 4.30pm on the first day. Subsequent days we start at 9.30am ending at 4pm.

Weekend Courses run 10am – 4pm on the first day but the final day starts at 9.30 and ends at 3.30 with a short lunch break to enable people to get home that evening.

Do you have to be experienced to come to the School?

The School is a very friendly and welcoming place for all ages and experience. Our drop-in life classes and August half-day workshops are ideal for those wanting to have a go for the first time. Most of our longer courses are also fine for novices.

If any of the courses do need a bit of experience we flag this up in the brochure and on the website.

Booking a Course

Can I pay by cheque?

Please get in touch by phone and we can hold your place for a few days whilst you post your cheque (made payable to: St Ives School of Painting) to us at St Ives School of Painting, Porthmeor Studios. St Ives TR26 1NG

How can I reserve a place?

We will hold a provisional reservation for 24 hours if you give us a call whilst you find accommodation. Otherwise please book online or by telephone 01736 797180.

You can reserve a place with a £100 deposit; balance is due 12 weeks before course start date.

About St Ives

Where do I park?

The nearest long stay public car parks are the Island and Barnoon both 5 minute walk away. In the peak summer months it may be easier to park at the big top car park by the leisure centre and walk down into town. If you don’t fancy the walk up the hill at the end of the day there is a shuttle bus which runs from outside the cinema.

How do I get there?

Public Transport: If you are coming from further afield the main train line runs into St Erth which is a 15 min taxi ride away or you can take the St Ives Bay Line which runs approx. every 30 minutes. The School is a 10 minute walk from St Ives station.

Driving: M5 will take you to Exeter where we recommend that you take the A30 across Bodmin Moor and into Cornwall. After passing Hayle, leave the A30 at St Erth roundabout for St Ives. Turn right at the second roundabout. This road will take you through Lelant and Carbis Bay into St Ives.

Where can I stay?

St Ives has a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and self catering accommodation to choose from. Please browse the art holidays St Ives section on our website and give us a call if you would like any help.

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