Beginner Watercolor

Beginner Watercolor


Program Start Date:


SINGLE DAY COURSE – Join us as we stroll through the forest and along the lakesides learning how to paint the medium of watercolor.

(Summer Activity Level)

Beginner Watercolor

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin


Beginner Watercolor
Instructor: Karly Chin
June 26 at 7 a.m.

During this course we will aim to capture the beauty of Glacier National Park through the medium of watercolor. This one-day class is geared toward students with no previous experience in the medium. We will stroll through forests and along lakesides with easels and paint brushes in hand. Join us as we translate wildflowers, landscapes, and rugged mountaintops to paper, creating colorful art and images to last a lifetime.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather) We will meet at Field Camp at 7 a.m. We will discuss watercolor basics with an introduction to the materials and a demonstration of techniques. Once acquainted with the supplies and materials, we will stroll around Field Camp and practice painting natural subjects up close. Next, we will discuss landscape painting and head to the Lake McDonald shore to practice. We will then have a trail lunch by the lake. After lunch, we will continue to practice landscape watercolors. At 4 p.m., we will wrap up, compare artwork among the group, and conclude the course.

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water, and snacks for the day.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at:

Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2 liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. The following are recommended materials to bring along for the painting portions of the course:    

Paper: Sheets of 22 x 30 140# Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper (Saunders-Waterford) or other good paper. Student-grade papers do not hold up well and give poor results, especially for beginners, since they take little punishment. Watercolor blocks or sketchbooks will also do. Arches and S/W make both. 10” X 14” or so. Arches 140# cold press can be found in most all art stores and catalogs. We will also discuss the use of a sketchbook, which is particularly suitable in this environment.

Brushes: #5 or #6 round, #10 or #12 round, 1” flat synthetic/natural blends or natural bristle watercolor brushes. (Lately, I have enjoyed using quill mops #6, 4, 2. Yarka is the least expensive.)

Paints: A small selection of tube colors of your preference. Suggestions: New Gamboge, transparent yellow, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna or quinacridone burnt orange, permanent rose, alizarin crimson, French ultramarine, Winsor or pthalo blue, cobalt blue. Do not purchase black or white. You will only need the three primary colors…one red ,one yellow and one blue…but of course, it is nice to have a few more if your wallet permits. Other colors in my palette include: cerulean blue, cadmium red light, ultramarine (green shade), cobalt violet and brown madder. Good brands include Winsor & Newton, Holbein and Daniel Smith.

Support: A board (Gator board, Coroplast, masonite or two pieces of foam-core or cardboard taped together with clear package tape) to tape or clip the paper to. Should be a bit bigger than the size paper you plan on using. A quarter sheet of paper is 11X15.

Palette: One made for the purpose with wells, large mixing areas. White. For travel, a folding palette works best.


  • Large unbreakable water container. Look for a collapsible one.
  • Masking tape. Please, no blue tape.
  • Pencil…HB or 2B and 6B
  • Kneaded rubber or art gum eraser
  • Scraping tools: Pocket knife, nail clipper, old credit card, palette knife, etc.
  • Small sketchbook for value studies and notes
  • .05 Micron or Staedtler pen
  • 1/4” square (bright) oil painting brush
  • Salt
  • Wash brush or wide sponge brush
  • Small natural sponge
  • Small spray bottle
  • Scissors
  • Reference material (photos, sketches) in case of rain
  • Zip-lock bags for wet rags, sponges, damp palettes
  • Paint rags, paper towels
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Viewfinder: Small window (3/4”X1”) cut into a piece of card-board
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (original)

Physical Requirements: Little to no difficulty. We will take leisurely strolls around Field Camp, and along the shores of Lake McDonald. We may walk over loose rocks along the shore. There will be less than 100 feet of elevation changes.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.


Additional information

Refund Policy

The Glacier Institute has a 24 hour cancellation policy for a full refund with all of our courses.

Did you know Glacier Institute members receive a 10% discount?