teaching reviews

some comments from my students…

Review of workshop on Landforms by Bridie October 2022

In October nine artists attended Charlotte Hird’s Watercolour Landforms workshop at the Wellington Art Club rooms. The painting space is warm and relaxed with an impressive variety of art on the walls and resources available. This made for comfort, inspiration and the opportunity to read up on favourite artists during breaks.

Charlotte demonstrated washes and edges, introducing different ways to apply paint and work with tone.  Then she explained her approach to creating depth in landscapes, guiding us through exercises.  We used this knowledge to create four landscapes of the Sounds and Mount Aoraki. The overhead projector made it easy to watch demonstrations. The hand-outs explained the steps and included reference photos. Charlotte encouraged each of us with feedback and guidance. Although we had differing levels of experience we all successfully recreated the paintings and some experimented further with colour and tone.

As a newby to landscape painting, I was taken out of my comfort zone and introduced to a new way of working with paint. I’m confident that I will be able to use my learning to continue my adventures in watercolour. Thanks, Charlotte, for sharing your time and knowledge. I’ll definitely be watching for more workshops like this.

Edges and Washes with Charlotte Hird June 25-26 2022 by Mary Beth Cook
Charlotte created such a great atmosphere for learning. She is a warm person with a really engaging style. She is an excellent teacher, and her approach is structured and clear – but very relaxed and fun! Her camera set up let us see everything she was doing as she taught us how to apply watercolour to wet and dry paper, how to create hard edges and how to soften them, and different ways to do washes.
Having a full weekend meant that we weren’t rushed and could really get into what we were doing as we worked through exercises to learn technique and then worked on paintings with a range of subjects involving water, sky, boats, people and fruit. The group had a range of experience, and I believe everyone learned something new or had a moment out of their comfort zone – Charlotte made it easy to try new things.
Beyond using watercolour as a medium, we also learned important fundamentals of composition, perspective and drawing figures as well as tips on negative painting. More importantly we got a lot of encouragement from Charlotte and inspiration from lovely examples of her work!

Thursday Art June 2022 review by Jerry Hewitt

I have just completed Charlotte four-week watercolour painting course at Wellington Art Club and I am now keen to develop my newly acquired skills, such as they are, further. Charlotte’s hands-on approach to teaching is ideally suited to ensuring students see immediate results, and progressive improvement through each class. Using an overhead camera to throw the view of her drawing board directly onto a large format screen, Charlotte guides her students through a series of exercises with practical demonstrations of technique.

Each two hour class is based around a specific landscape image, and introduces students to the step-by-step process of watercolour painting, from choice of paper, to setting up a work area and the tools and materials needed. The importance of process and a disciplined approach is emphasised, and becomes quickly apparent to even the most inexperienced student.

Charlotte employs a limited palette of five colours for students to explore colour-mixing to achieve a usable range of colours, tints and values sufficient to render credible scenes.

As with the colour palette, Charlotte’s workshops use a limited range of brushes – mop, flat, round tip (large and fine) – to demonstrate basic techniques, and guides students on which brush to use for specific effect. Wet-on-wet techniques, dry wash applications, blending and graded washes are demonstrated and practiced, as are hard and soft edge applications. Images chosen for the practice paintings make extensive use of the range of techniques taught, and each student has a completed painting to take home after class.

The workshops are an excellent introduction to watercolour for the novice, or a great refresher for those who have allowed their skills to atrophy with time.

Thursday art class review by Margaret Royfee 6/9/2022

Thursday watercolour classes with Charlotte Hird took place over four Thursdays during the month of August. Designed for novices, the classes inspired those wishing to develop, understand and utilise watercolour techniques.

Charlotte used an excellent method of teaching by utilising an overhead camera to visually display the painting techniques she demonstrated and explained. We were then able to easily absorb, copy and practice these techniques culminating in a painting we could then take away.

The lessons to develop these techniques began with mixing paints to achieve the colours to use with the dry wash, graded wash, hard and soft edges and wet in wet techniques. Although an absorbing challenge for us all, the final lesson focussed on painting figures in one point perspective.

As well as circulating and providing comment as we painted, Charlotte also provided a hand out describing the process and techniques utilised for each lesson. This is a wonderful easy reference resource for future practice.

Watercolour painting is absorbing, challenging, enjoyable and satisfying. These classes leave you keen to explore the medium further. So much so, that I have already booked for the next session of Thursday art classes.

Review of Edges & Washes 2021 by Jan Pryor

In Wellington the weekend of 7/8 August was wild. Cold southerlies, rain, even hail. Inside the Wellington Art Club in Miramar, it was warm. That wasn’t because of the heat pumps, though they were great. It was the warmth and energy generated by nine keen students – from as far away as Auckland and Morrinsville – at Charlotte Hird’s Edges and Washes Workshop. And it was the enthusiasm and teaching from Charlotte that kept us all engaged.
I was the only true beginner, and of course I learned a great deal. The others though, some of whom have been painting for years, revised skills and learned new ones under Charlotte’s expert tutelage. We practised soft and hard edges, and we practised washes and wet-on-wet painting and figure development. And we put all those into paintings so that we came away with our own idiosyncratic works of art, all glorious in their own ways.
Perhaps the most important aspect of our enjoyment was Charlotte’s encouragement and feedback. She gave us time, and she talked to us all individually as we slaved away over our brushes.
It was a truly wonderful workshop and I hope Charlotte runs many more.

Thursday Art with Charlotte at Wellington Art Club

Charlotte’s Thursday watercolour classes are ideal for all levels of watercolourists, whether you are a beginner, want to refresh, learn new skills or meet other artists. I learnt how to use watercolours when I went to The Learning Connexion and have practised using them since, however not as much as I would like! Going to Charlotte’s class has already helped boost my confidence and I am learning lots of new skills as well as refreshing old ones. I have felt really empowered after each class.
Charlotte demonstrates many different techniques, using a digital screen so we can all see. She also welcomes her students to watch at her deskside if they so wish. Charlotte is very approachable and genuinely enjoys teaching. She makes herself available by walking around the room giving helpful advice, suggestions and praise. 
Each lesson consists of different subject matter and techniques. In our first lesson, we practised ‘loading’ our brushes creating different gradients and learning how to create different shading effects. This gradually progressed to us creating beautiful landscape paintings.

In our second lesson, we did exercises on shading 3D objects and we did a colourwheel exercise. These exercises prepared us for our final task of painting vibrant tamarillos. Charlotte showed us how to create realistic light and shadow and how we can best achieve them using watercolour.

I highly recommend this class if you are interested in watercolour. I can’t wait for this week’s lesson!

by Tessa Mitchell