Intermediate Watercolor w/Tom Hoffmann

Wednesday | 4/10-6/12 | 1:30-4:30 P.M.

For as long as Tom has been painting, he’s been teaching. The two practices are now inextricably interwoven. Painting influences teaching, of course, but just as often Tom finds what he’s teaching effects how he paints. The need to articulate the subtleties of seeing form rather than content, for example, has helped him gain detachment from his immediate agenda while painting. Over the years, Tom has acquired a reputation as someone to work with when you want to loosen up your brushwork or simplify your approach. This is a lot to live up to. Trying to stay one step ahead of his students on the “free and easy” scale may have accelerated his own evolution. Who can say which came first?
1:30-4:30 P.M.
Gage Capitol Hill
Paper: Using a good quality rag paper, such as Arches, Lanaquarelle or Saunders is strongly recommended. 140 lb. is heavy enough (90 lb. buckles). We work mainly with cold-pressed paper.

Paint: USE GOOD PAINT! Cheap paint works ok, but you’ll need so much more of it to get the saturation you see with good paint that there is no savings, and the amount of binder that ends up on the paper can be shiny.

Palette: In general, it’s a good idea to have two reds, yellows, blues, and greens (one cool and one warm), plus a brown and a violet. The intense, transparent colors (alizarin crimson, quinacridones, phthalo green, phthalo blue) are very useful for mixing, even though you don’t see them much in nature. Earthier tones depend more on the locale. Here is a palette that works well for me (these are Daniel Smith Artists’ Materials names):

  • New gamboge
  • Quinacridone gold*
  • Hansa yellow light*
  • Quinacridone red*
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Alizarin crimson permanent
  • Pyrol Orange
  • Sap green
  • Rich green gold
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Cerulean blue
  • Cobalt blue
  • Phthalo blue*
  • Transparent Pyrol orange
  • Carbazole violet

You may want to start with fewer colors, in which case the starred colors are the essential ones.


Part of the emphasis of the class involves keeping your paintings simple, so you won’t need tiny brushes. Well, maybe one. I use:

  • 3 flats, 1/2″, 1″ and 1 1/2″
  • 2 rounds, #30 (or the largest round you can find) and #14

Miscellaneous :

  • Lightweight board (masonite or gatorboard, 16″ x 24″)
  • Artist’s tape or acid-free black masking tape (blue painter’s tape is okay)
  • Water container for dipping brushes (yoghurt containers work)
  • Clean sponge (if you don’t have a brush big enough to wet a half sheet of paper)
  • Large palette (11″ x 15″ or so with large mixing areas and plenty of wells for your colors, such as Richeson or Robert Wood)
Work with increasingly complex subjects as you expand your understanding and dexterity with watercolor. Working from the still-life, landscapes and photographs, learn to individualize your painting process, better understand the variables of watercolor painting, use the variables to your creative advantage, and take informed risks. Students should have completed Beginning Watercolor or have basic watercolor experience.