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Introduction to Opaque Watercolor (Gouache) – Still Life

March 22, 2023 @ 10:00 am 12:00 pm

Day: Wednesdays
Dates: March 22 & March 29
Time: 10 AM – 12 PM
Sessions: 2
Instructor: Robert Benson
Location: Room 208, Print Studio
Ages: Adult, 18+
Skill Level: Intermediate
Sliding Scale: $50 / $80 / $120
Financial aid available below

Special Offer: When you register for this class,
you’ll be offered at checkout the option to also
register for Opaque Watercolor – Landscape
at a 15% discount!

Class Description

This is an introduction to painting in opaque watercolor. “Designer’s Gouache” is a product made originally for interior designers/decorators – to use in renderings for presentation boards for clients. Unlike traditional watercolors, opaque watercolor enables the artist to make corrections easily by painting over their original painting. It is also easier to add texture and highlights with dry brush or opaque brush techniques.

The first session will be focused on making a grayscale strip, from 0% gray to black, in increments of 10%, in one inch squares. We then will paint a still life in gray scale values. During the second class meeting, we will create a simple color wheel, and apply that color theory to a finished still life painting.

The student will come to the class prepared with the subject drawn out twice, on separate sheets of Crescent illustration board ready to paint. The instructor will provide a high resolution image for the

student to transfer to the working surfaces using either a projector or graphite paper. We will all be working from the same image. This class is suitable for participants with at least intermediate level painting skills using opaque methods such as acrylic or oils. This class would be good for artists who have done some watercolor and want to try this medium.

Please view the supply list to learn what materials to bring to class. If you would like to take this class but find the cost of the paint is prohibitive, you can arrange to use shared materials by sending an email to

About the Instructor

Robert Benson

Instructor / Artist

As a lifelong artist, I worked 25 years as a commercial artist and art director in advertising prior to moving to Sonoma County in 2001. For the past 20 years I have dedicated my painting to exploring exquisite Northern California landscapes, still life, people, and pet portrait work. My aim is to produce paintings of familiar subjects with universal appeal and a fresh perspective.  I create appealing, accessible paintings to enhance your home or business space. My goal as a painter is to stay loose and let your eye fill in where there is little detail and to evoke an emotional response as you interact with the spirit of my work.

Sliding Scale Guidance

When you register for a class, you’ll be offered three price tiers. The middle tier comes closest to what our registration fees used to be, and covers about 50% of the full cost of your participation in the class – with the other 50% covered by community donations. The first tier creates accessibility for people with limited income, while the third tier covers the full cost of participation – so that we can use community donations to support other people’s registration costs. When you choose to register at the third tier, you directly help support the Center’s efforts to remove financial barriers for others.

Class Policies

The Sonoma Community Center (the Center) strives to create an inclusive, safe community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The Center is committed to creating such an environment because it brings out the fullest potential in each of us, which, in turn, contributes directly to creating a community of belonging. In order to ensure a positive, safe, and welcoming experience for everyone, all program participants are asked to abide by the following policies, community agreements, and restorative safety protocol.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is handled on an individual basis. If you think you qualify, follow the link below to apply.

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