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Watercolor Classes and Workshops

Rachel Collins offers both 2-day workshops and multi-week classes in watercolor for painters of all levels, from beginning through advanced, at The Art League in Alexandria, VA. 


At the present time all her classes are in person.  Please scroll down for descriptions of the workshops scheduled in December and January and classes offered in  during the Art League's Winter Term 2023.

 Classes and Workshops offered through the Art League in Alexandria, VA 


A Closer Look in Watercolor

A 2-Day Workshop

Saturday-Sunday, December 17-18, 2022

10:00 am - 4:00 pm each day

Explore the exciting interplay between the representational and the abstract by taking a close-in viewpoint on your subject. Both natural and manmade objects can give inspiration as we find compelling patterns and shapes in the world around us that beg to be painted. Working from photographic references or actual objects, you will use a variety of watercolor techniques to bring these details to the fore in your paintings.  Students with some watercolor experience and an interest in developing their "artist's eye" will be welcome in the class. A supply list is available from Rachel Collins.


Jumpstart in Watercolor

A 2-Day Workshop

Wednesday-Thursday, January 4-5, 2023

10:00 am - 4:00 pm each day

This “total immersion” in watercolor will give students a chance to explore some of the many possibilities of the medium.  It can serve as a basic introduction to watercolor, a refresher for someone who hasn’t painted for a while, and as a preparation and confidence-builder for students intending a longer-term study of the medium.  No previous experience in watercolor is assumed. Students will need to purchase some basic supplies. A list is available from Rachel Collins.


Watercolor Process and Progress

A 9-week class for watercolor students with some experience

 Wednesday morning 9:30 am-12:30 pm 

​                                                    first class will be January 11

Students with some prior experience in watercolor will refine their existing skills and learn new approaches as they take on different painting projects designed to expand their "watercolor vocabulary", craftsmanship and confidence.  Classes will include exposure to work by a wide variety of contemporary watercolorists, instructor demonstration, and a lot of opportunity to paint and be inspired by the work and experience of everyone in the class.  Feedback and critique are tailored to meet the needs of each student.  Painting outside class is strongly encouraged, with recognition that sometimes this is not possible! During the class term, students will have access to all visual resources used in each class that they can review as needed.

The specific focus of this class will vary from term to term.  During this winter term we will be looking at ways to s-t-r-e-t-c-h our experience in watercolor. The stretch for some students will be learning to paint larger, working up to painting full sheet. Other students may want to try different ways of putting paint to paper, different makes of watercolor paper, different color schemes, different kinds of formats, different ways of envisioning how a subject could be painted, even a total change of subject matter. The focus will be on developing flexibility and greater confidence in handling the medium, while enjoying trying something new.  


Students will probably already own most of the watercolor supplies needed, so should bring them to the first class.  A list of a basic minimum is available from Rachel Collins .  


Watercolor for the Joy of It
A 9-week class for students wanting

to explore the fundamentals of watercolor.

Tuesday evenings 7:00 pm– 9:30 pm 

first class will be January 10

Brush in hand, paper and paint at the ready, you will begin an exploration of the techniques and tools of expression in this ever-surprising medium. This class starts with the basics of the interaction of water and pigment and uses this as the foundation for a variety of painting projects, which build from the simple to the more complex. We will cover techniques specific to watercolor, like wet-in-wet painting, using the white of the paper and taking advantage of the medium’s transparency, as well as some of the many aspects of making a successful painting, no matter what the medium. Total beginners are welcome to join, as are students who perhaps have had a class or two but don't yet feel well-grounded in the basics. In addition, people returning to the medium after a hiatus of months or years find that the careful structure of the class give them a solid review that gets them back up to speed.

Class sessions will include demos and explanations, but painting by students is emphasized. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Painting outside class is encouraged, with recognition that sometimes this is not possible!   During the class term, students will have access to the variety of visual resources used in each class that they can review as needed.

Students will need to acquire supplies for this class; a supply list is available from Rachel Collins or from the Art League Store in the Torpedo Factory Art Center.  


Know Your Watercolor Palette: March 18-19, 2023

Backlighting in Watercolor: Drama Through Light and Shadow:

            August 29-30, 2023 

Registration for all classes is through The Art League:

Art League School telephone: 703-683-2323

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