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Contemporary Watercolours

Contemporary Watercolours

Regular price $463.50
Regular price $515.00 Sale price $463.50
GST included where applicable.

16 Oct - 4 Dec 2024 (Wed)
10:00am - 1:00pm

Learn how to paint expressive, contemporary watercolour paintings with structured classes around specific themes, practical exercises, demonstrations and interactions with a lecturer in a live (online) studio environment. Discover the thrills of colour mixing, palette organisation, compositional ideas, pigments and different mark-making techniques. Experiment with different watercolour papers and work towards sustained finished artworks.

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Course Details

Course Program: Term 4 2024

Start Date: 16 October 2024

End Date: 4 December 2024

Day: Wednesday

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Number of classes: 8

Discipline: Drawing

Lecturer: Tanya Baily

Age: 16 years and over

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Location: Online

Course Overview

This course is designed to teach students how to paint expressive, contemporary watercolour paintings. The classes are structured around specific themes and consist of practical exercises, demonstrations and interactions with a lecturer in a live studio environment. Tanya Baily guides you through the skills and thrills of colour mixing, palette organisation, compositional ideas, pigments and different mark-making techniques. She introduces you to the many qualities between different watercolour papers and gives tips in how to make quick sketches and plan for more complex finished artworks.

The course begins with Tanya selecting a range of interesting subject matter for you to paint, and as the course progresses you will be encouraged to choose a selection of your own personal objects for still life scenarios in your own space, and inspirational photographs to draw and paint from. She works closely with each individual, encouraging you to develop your own style and aesthetics, within the parameters of your own level, as well as holding regular, informative, group critiques. You will also be introduced to the varied range of watercolour techniques practiced by artists around the world, who work within both traditional and contemporary watercolour practices.

This course is suitable for those with some previous drawing or painting experience, who are still at the beginner level with watercolours, and caters to more experienced artists. Students are encouraged to enjoy the communal fun and inspiration of painting together in real time.

*Short courses are open to students of ages 16 years and over. For students under 16 years of age there are School Holiday Workshops, Art Club and other youth art programs.

Course Delivery

Tanya’s online studio course is taught with Zoom and takes advantage of the full range of tools that this program offers. She is present in the online studio for the whole session and she responds directly to student questions with live demonstrations and images, displaying relevant artists’ works on the screen, as well as using pre-recorded demonstrations and other video materials. We are also using Padlet in this course, Padlet is a web application that allows users to post information and images on a digital wall.

If you are unfamiliar with the Zoom program, some tutorial assistance is available prior to the commencement of the first session to ensure you can join in with ease and get to know the online learning environment. You will be guided in Padlet usage by your Lecturer and you can get additional tutorial help from NAS.

Class sizes are limited to a maximum of twelve students and the sessions are not recorded.

Student Home-Studio Requirements

A large, flat table with enough room for laying out up to one A3 size paper and 2 water containers for your palette and paints.

A computer, laptop or ipad with good quality wifi connection.

The computer screen positioned in a stable place in front of you, at a distance that allows you to see screen images clearly, and to be heard through the inbuilt or external speakers and microphone.

A quiet, private space without interruptions is also important

Lecturer Profile

Tanya Baily is a multi-award-winning artist specialising in watercolour painting. She exhibits in Australia and internationally: in 2019 in Sydney at Airspce Projects and St Cloche Gallery, and with the Australian Watercolour Institute at Juniper Hall. In 2020, Tanya is an invited artist at the International Watercolour Exhibition in Taiwan “Tradition and Transformation” from 30th May to 17th June, and also at the The International Biennial Prize “Fabriano Watercolour 2020” (postponed due to Covid-19). Tanya also takes commissions from her studio in Sydney.

Tanya is a frequent finalist in major national art prizes, recently the Mosman Prize, the John Leslie Prize, the Elaine Birmingham Prize for Watercolour Painting, the Blacktown City Art Prize, STILL National Still Life Prize. Tanya has won the Rex Irwin Prize (2011) and the National Watercolour Prize (2019). Tanya is an elected member of the Australian Watercolour Institute.

Tanya was educated at Oxford University, London’s Chelsea School of Art and COFA at the University of NSW, where she completed a Masters in Painting. Tanya is an experienced art educator and teaches classes and workshops in watercolour painting at a number of institutions and art schools, both online and in-studio.

Art Materials

Students must supply their own art materials, please refer to the list below.

Important points to note about the safety of watercolour paints:

  • Watercolour pigments are not mixed with toxic binders, are mostly non-staining and do not give off poisonous odours
  • Watercolour artists do not need protective clothing or equipment
  • Brushes are washed with water alone, or with a small amount of dishwashing liquid
  • Contents of the water containers, pallets and cleaning brushes can be tipped down household sinks in the kitchen or laundry. Sinks should be rinsed afterwards with dishwashing liquid

At the first session Tanya will go through all the materials required for the full course. However, it will begin with a limited set of pigments, brushes, a palette and some paper. Buy good quality materials and shop online at Eckersley’s, Sydney Art Stores, Parkers Fine Art, The Art Scene.


A basic set of 4 colours: Ultramarine blue, Pthalo Blue (or Windsor blue green shade), Lemon Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Vermillion Red (Windsor Red).

Optional colours: Transparent Yellow, Pthalo Green, Permanent Rose.

Recommended paint brands: Windsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, Schminke.

Note: the cheaper watercolour paints are less economical in the long run and they don’t work as well. They have a lower pigment to filler ratio, use poor quality pigment or even dyes. The colour is less intense, and the paint does not flow well.


  • 3 large sheets of Arches 100% Cotton Medium Grain (Cold Pressed) 300gsm Watercolour paper size 56cmx76cm
  • 1 A3 pad of 300gsm cheaper watercolour paper, or buy 12-15 single sheets

Paper brands: Arches, Fabriano, Waterford, Langford, Canson

Note: the paper in watercolour is an essential part of the way the paint looks when applied. Poor quality paper limits the watercolour artist considerably in the range and quality of what can be achieved.


Starter set of round watercolour brushes – sizes 2, 8 and 12. We suggest faux squirrel or faux sable hair brushes to start – the Parkers brand brushes or Da Vinci, Windsor and Newton Cotman, and Dynasty are recommended. Ensure that the brushes are specifically for watercolour as watercolour brushes have softer, finer hairs.


Large deep well watercolour palettes are preferred. 6 wells are the minimum, so get 2 if you need. Plastic palettes are fine.

Other materials

  • 1 bottle of Art Masking Fluid – a commonly used material used for watercolour painting. Available at all art stores. Windsor and Newton and Art Spectrum are good brands
  • 2B pencil, rubber and pencil sharpener
  • Tissues or roll of paper towels
  • 2 water containers – standard mug size in glass or plastic


    Parkers Fine Art Supplies have a location of the NAS campus and offer a discount for NAS short courses students. To discuss and order art materials please contact Parkers:

    Phone: +61 2 9247 9979


    Parkers Fine Art Supplies Website 

    In line with NAS Covid Safety Guidelines, all students and visitors must be fully vaccinated or have a medical contraindication form completed by a health professional.

    Protective clothing and covered footwear essential