Students who undertake watercolor training gain an understanding of color fundamentals and composition and learn painting techniques, such as wet-on-wet, dry brushing, masking, and transparent washing. Watercolor training is widely available to candidates interested in pursuing the art as a career or as a hobby. For students who are only interested in producing private works, community centers and colleges offer beginning workshops and non-credit courses. Prospective students looking to pursue a professional art career or a job as a teacher can consider bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
If you enroll in a bachelor's degree in fine art, you will receive a comprehensive education in all aspects of studio art. Not only will you receive watercolor training, but you will also be expected to demonstrate competency in art forms such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and photography. Many bachelor's programs also require general education and theoretical courses such art history and appreciation, color theory, and light and shadow. Throughout their studies, students maintain individual studios in order to facilitate work in their chosen medium.
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Master of Fine Arts
This terminal degree program allows students to focus on their specialty, which may be watercolor painting, in a studio setting. Art history courses are also included in some M.F.A. programs. In general, graduates work on their craft and produce creative projects that are put on display in an exhibition. The culmination of their work includes an oral defense of the exhibition.
Popular Career Options
Aspiring watercolor artists build strong portfolios to demonstrate their professional skills. In order to sell artistic works, artists show their work at group or individual exhibitions, galleries, or showrooms. Another way to build connections within the artistic community is to volunteer or work at a museum or art gallery. This can lead to greater exposure and to relationships with clients that commission watercolor paintings.
Watercolor artists who earn a bachelor's or master's degree may also consider teaching. Depending on your qualifications, you can get a job at a public or private elementary, middle, or high school, or at a college or community center.
Artistic workshops and seminars are offered nationwide through community colleges, craft stores, larger educational institutions, and private art studios. Such courses are available for all skill sets, from beginners to advanced painters. Painting workshop tours are available for students who wish to learn to perfect their technique or paint while traveling to scenic areas, such as North Carolina, Colorado, England, or France.
Professional artists may wish to become members of the American Artists Professional League, which provides the opportunity to submit artistic works to its annual Grand National Exhibition. Works displayed receive substantial publicity, and if an artist has work accepted for three years, they are designated a fellow of the organization. Other professional and artistic organizations are available on a smaller scale in many urban areas.
Overall, whether you want to study watercolor as a hobby or dedicate your career to the medium, there are a variety of educational opportunities available.