Foundations for Mastering Watercolor Painting
4.8 (123 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
569 students enrolled
Wishlisted Wishlist

Please confirm that you want to add Foundations for Mastering Watercolor Painting to your Wishlist.

Add to Wishlist

Foundations for Mastering Watercolor Painting

An in-depth, approachable look at painting materials that will make mastering the medium truly possible.
4.8 (123 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
569 students enrolled
Created by Jill Poyerd
Last updated 4/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 12 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn watercolor techniques quicker and easier
  • Understand what watercolor paint is and how it is unique
  • Discern how a paint will perform based on its pigment property
  • Gain insight into water's important role in the water media painting process
  • Appreciate the importance of surface texture and structure when you paint
  • Understand the differences between brush materials
  • Problem-solve with success when something goes wrong in the painting process
  • Feel freer in developing your own artistic voice
View Curriculum
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.

Watercolor painting at its core is built upon pigment, water, and a painting surface. So many classes teach techniques without the painter having a complete understanding of these foundational elements. Using her approachable, easy-to-understand teaching method and by incorporating stories, animation, and live demonstrations, the artist gently guides the viewer through topics such as What is paint? What are the properties of pigments? How do the properties of water influence the painting process? And how does the painting surface or brush material influence paint application? Upon completing this course, viewers will feel more confident about learning new techniques, they will have freedom to explore their own artistic voice, and will be better able to problem solve as they move along in the medium.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course applies to both new painters as well as experienced painters. For the new painter, it will make the learning process much easier. For the experienced painter, it will give you a deeper understanding of the medium.
  • This is not a watercolor technique class. Instead, this is intended to give viewers broader, deeper understanding of the medium.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
34 Lectures
The History of Watercolor
1 Lecture 14:23

Brought over from my YouTube Channel, we begin this course with a thorough look at the history of watercolor painting. The information is set to engaging music and broken down by historical era. I've included an abbreviated version as an option.

Preview 14:23
What is Watercolor?
5 Lectures 21:14

After gaining an understanding of watercolor's long history, it's important to answer the most basic questions, such as What is paint? What is pigment? And what is a binder?

Preview 02:31

Once you understand exactly what paint is, it's helpful to know how the various paints compare to one another. In this video, we delve into how watercolor compares to other water media paints - specifically fresco, egg tempera, gouache, and acrylic. We also discuss how it compares to oil paint. One of the primary differences is the binder that each paint uses, which affects the application of the pigment. Through this comparison you will gain a better understanding for each paint's individual benefits and drawbacks.

How Paints Differ

The level of transparency is an important factor when it comes to water media paints. This video offers a live demonstration of how watercolor compares to other water media paints as far as transparency.

Transparency Demonstration

Each paint has a different level lifting capability.  In this video, the student sees first hand how easy it is to lift each of the water media paints as well as how reworkable they are.

Lifting & Reworkability Demonstration

One of watercolor paint's best-loved qualities is its ability to flow and produce beautiful color transitions. In this video, we conduct a live comparison of each paint's amount of flow.

Paint Flow Demonstration
The Properties of Pigments
7 Lectures 25:46

Part of making watercolor a little more predictable is gaining an understanding of how individual pigments and their characteristics can influence paint performance. In this video, we discuss what the purpose of pigment is, how pigments vary, what they are made of, and how source material can impact the resulting paint.

The Properties of Pigments

Pigments vary in weight and that variation can result in special effects on the painting surface such as granulation. This segment discusses pigment weight, why it can vary, and the affect it can have on paint application.

Pigment Weight

Pigment particles also vary by size, which also has an influence on the application of paint to include being one of the primary causes of staining paint. In this video, we discuss pigments of the same size, pigments that are very small, pigments that are larger, and how these attributes affect the painting process.

Preview 02:52

Pigment particle size also relates to how transparent the paint will be. In this segment, we discuss what transparency and opacity are, as well as how you can use this quality in your painting.

Paint Transparency

Some paints are very powerful when mixed with other paints, resulting in a very color-dominant mix. Other paints are very weak. The level of strength is referred to as Tinting Strength and is related to pigment particle size. This is the topic of this video.

Tinting Strength

In this video, we pull together all of the pigment particle information in order to get a broad look at how it influences paint. We also briefly discuss its application.

Putting it All Together

Now that we've gained a comprehensive understanding of pigment properties and the resulting impact on the paint, we discuss how to locate this information on paint tubes, manufacturer websites and paint brochures. That is the topic of this video.

Where to Find Pigment Information
The Properties of Water
5 Lectures 21:56

Water is a critical part of the watercolor painting process. Without water, the medium wouldn't exist as we know it. We use water to thin the paint, to apply the paint, and to manipulate the paint. This section begins with a discussion of what water is as well as the affect of gravity on water and therefore paint.

The Properties of Water

One of water's more important properties is cohesion. It's what gives groupings of water molecules shape and keeps droplets seperate from one another. In this video, I give a thorough explanation of this phenomonon, how it results in surface tension, and how all of this can impact paint application.

Cohesion & Surface Tension

Adhesion is responsible for water's attraction to a surface, including that of watercolor paper. This video explores the phenomonon and how it influences the painting process.

Preview 01:41

Water temperature is something watercolor painters don't typically consider, but temperature does affect water and thus can influence the performance of the paint. In this video, we export temperature's impact on water and how it can be used by the artist.


In this video, we take all of what we've learned about the properties of water and give live examples to solidify how each characteristic applies to painting. Seeing the visual examples will solidify your knowledge before moving on to the next topic.

Water Demonstrations
The Properties of Painting Surfaces
8 Lectures 24:37

Thanks to technology, there are a number of painting surfaces to choose from when working with watercolor paints. The large portion of Section 5 is spent discussing paper, since watercolor paper is considered the industry standard and is what I recommend to those who are learning the medium. This video introduces the variety of surfaces and begins the discussion on how paper ingredients vary.

Painting Surfaces

In this video, we discuss what paper is made from, how watercolor papers compare to regular paper, and how papers are generally made. 

How Paper is Made

Papers vary in weight, and the various weights have an impact on the painting process as well as final presentation. In this video, we discuss how paper weight is determined and how it affects production.

Preview 01:49

Paper texture is a very important consideration when painting in watercolor. It can influence how the paper takes the paint, brush effects that can be achieved, and the look of your finished product. All of these topics are reviewed in this video.

Paper Texture

This video explores the various formats in which you can purchase watercolor paper, from flat sheets to rolls to a variety of pads.

Paper Formats

Watercolor paintings on paper have limitations on how they can be presented to the public. In this video, we briefly discuss the artist's options for presentation.

Paper Presentation

Absorbant gesso has opened up the door to many surfaces for the watercolor painter. In this video, we look at some of the new options including watercolor canvas, board and Yupo, We also touch on how they're constructed and how paint application differs from painting on paper.

Alternative Surfaces

In this video, we close out the section with a look at some of the surface manufacturer's websites where students will discover just how much they've learned about the properties of various surfaces.

Manufacturer Websites
7 Lectures 32:28

In this video, we take a virtual walk through my working studio so students can see both my set-up and the materials I use on a daily basis. In this way, we prepare for the discussions throughout the rest of this section.

Introduction to Supplies & Studio Tour

Since we spent a good amount of time discussing paper in the last section, this is a brief reminder of my recommendations.


Brushes are another very important tool. It's what we use to transfer the paint and connect the water and the pigment on the surface. In this video, we talk about how brushes are designed, what the bristles are made of and how that affects application. We also learn about brush shapes, brands I recommend, and criteria to look for.


Selecting your paints is a very individual decision, but there are some general guidelines that can be very helpful. In this video, we discuss primary color triads, earth tones, laying out your palette, and why watercolor painters don't typically use black or white. The video ends with some recommendations and suggestions.


You palette is where you store and mix your paints. In this video, we discuss some of the criteria to look for when choosing a palette.

Preview 02:05

There are many additional supplies, both necessary, helpful, or just for fun. These include water containers, masking fluid, paper towels, and much more. This section covers those items with a brief discussion of my recommendations.

Additional Supplies

We end this course with a brief discussion on some of the benefits of working in watercolor as well as my closing remarks.

Some Final Thoughts
Practical Application
1 Lecture 03:02

Students are invited to watch a 3-minute demonstration where I use some of the knowledge taught in this course to complete a watercolor painting.

Painting Demonstration - Applying the Knowledge
About the Instructor
Jill Poyerd
4.8 Average rating
122 Reviews
569 Students
1 Course
Professional Artist and Fine Arts Educator

Jill Poyerd, NWS, is a contemporary realist whose award-winning work can be found in private collections both nationally and internationally. She has been featured in national publications, is the author of the portrait painting book Fearless Portraits, and is a signature member of several prestigious art societies, including the National Watercolor Society. Jill works in both watermedia and oil paints and has exhibited extensively throughout the Mid-Atlantic region as well as in national shows. In addition to her work as an artist, Jill is an active member of the arts community. She has curated, as well as judged, many multi-medium group shows, and is the founder and current head of the Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia. Additionally, she has produced a series of art appreciation videos aimed at enhancing the public’s art experience.