Urban Watercolour Workshop, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 26th-28th June 2020

THIS COURSE IS NOW FULL. Further workshops will be announced soon. If you wish to go on a reserve list for Haarlem (should someone drop out), or be told of upcoming workshops, please fill in the form below, or send me a message via the contact form.

*New: There are still three places left in my Dublin workshop to take place 20th – 23rd March 2020. I will update this section as each place fills.*

Over three pleasant days last July, I led a sketching workshop through the pretty streets of Haarlem, in the Netherlands. Like its near neighbour Amsterdam it’s full of canals, beautiful gable-fronted buildings and bicycles, but it’s more like a bijou, pre-tourism Amsterdam of yesteryear. In fact it was so lovely to teach there that I’m leading another workshop there next June 26th to 28th 2020.

I first had the idea to teach a workshop in Haarlem when I met Anne Rose Oosterbaan sketching on a street near the Ribeira in Porto, Portugal, during the Urban Sketching Symposium there the year before. The venue for 2019, Amsterdam, had just been announced. We got talking.

“You should stay in Haarlem,” she said. “It’s very pretty and it’s only eighteen minutes by train from Amsterdam.” Anne Rose is from Haarlem and has lived there all her life: she was to be the Art Director of the following year’s USk Symposium in Amsterdam.

I knew things would get very intense during the Symposium if I was chosen as an instructor (I was): it’s three days of full-on teaching and greeting people from the far corners of the world and I wanted to experience Holland in a less intense, more low-key way. And that’s exactly what happened a year after our conversation.

I was struck by the calm order of Haarlem and the hidden gems around every corner. It’s small enough to walk around quite easily, and your nerves won’t fry too much once you get used to the silent, huge and fast bicycles that whizz past all the time. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to walk along quiet alley streets with shrubs and flowers crowding towards the centre; to rest for a while in a hofje, glorious courtyard gardens surrounded by 18th-century homes for single ladies; to sit by the river and watch the boats make their leisurely way up and down under the blue sky.

I loved the venerable church of St. Bavo in the centre of the city, with its enormous organ. Imagine sitting there sketching, thinking of Mozart playing it as a ten-year-old. A sense of timelessness is all around you in Haarlem – it’s not much of an effort to feel an unbroken timeline from Frans Hals and the Dutch Golden Age to today’s Haarlem. And I guess we are walking in their footsteps as sketchers.

You can read about our 2019 Haarlem workshop here

The topics we’ll cover, in a simple and step-by-step way, are as follows:

  • Foliage
  • Wet-on-wet
  • Glazing
  • Values
  • Reflections
  • Skies and clouds
  • Colour popping
  • Using a limited palette
  • People
  • Composition

So, mostly techniques to help you with watercolour, but lots of broader topics too. Here are a few sketches from the workshop last July – I hope you enjoy them.

Molen de Adriaan, where we’ll explore direct watercolour techniques.
Tyler’s Hofje, where we will practice techniques for foliage and grass in all its guises.
A herring stall in Groote Markt, with St Bavo in the background:
the Saturday market is a fantastic place to sketch people in motion.
The beautiful organ in St Bavo Church, where we will use just three colours and learn to make colours harmonise and pop.
Next to it is one of the majestic chandeliers, where I will suggest ways to combine complicated structure with a lightness of touch.
We’ll look at step-by-step ways to tackle reflections…
I use the fine side of my fude nib to get my rough sketch…
I pick out the lines I like and make them heavier…
All the parts that are lighter in colour are painted first…
I identify and darken parts in shadow –
and always add wildlife if I see it…
Developing and deepening reflections…
Adding a bit of background…
Keeping the palette limited – and adding a wonderful bird
who caught a fish in front of us (from a photo)!
We’ll be sure to capture some of the famous sights of Haarlem.

The workshop will take place from Friday 26th June to Sunday 28th June 2020. We’ll start each day at 9.15am in a café, where we will discuss the day’s schedule, and we’ll be sketching by 10.00am. We break for a leisurely lunch and finish each day at 5.30pm. Registration costs €350 and a €100 deposit secures your place. The deposit is non-refundable.

Please fill in the contact form below to book

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    Terms and Conditions

    (1) Places in the workshop are strictly limited to 15 adults over the age of 18.
    (2) This workshop is based on a minimum of 7 people attending.
    (3) The workshop will be conducted in English. French and Spanish translation is available from Róisín upon request on the day.
    (4) The workshop will take place between 9.15 am on Friday 26th June and 5.30 pm on Sunday 28th June 2020.
    (5) It is the responsibility for the attendees and their companions to make their own way to the location in Haarlem, The Netherlands on the first day and to the various starting points each morning in good time and to arrange their own departure after the workshop ends.
    (6) Please arrange your own insurance. You should arrange to insure against problems in all aspects of your travel, including flight cancellation, health problems, baggage loss or damage, or cancellation of the group tour booking.
    (7) We can suggest some places to stay, but we will not be held responsible for any deficiencies in that accommodation.
    (8) The itinerary may be adjusted to accommodate unforeseen changes to the schedule.
    (9) The weather may dictate that we have to work indoors. If this is the case, then suitable adjustments to the programme will be made, so that the workshop can continue.
    (10) We do not provide any art materials to the participants as standard. Please bring these with you. We will list the items we think you should bring. If you wish us to source some art materials for you, then we can do this, at your own expense. Please contact us if you want us to get anything for you.
    (11) We will not be held responsible for theft or damage caused by others during the workshop. Please ensure you are covered by insurance for these eventualities.
    (12) We cannot be held responsible for events beyond our control, such as floods, power cuts, storm damage, water shortages, drinking water contamination, leaks etc. We will try to help if we can to resolve any issues that arise.
    (13) The workshop fee only covers the tuition fee. All other costs are at the participants expense.
    (14) Róisín Curé Art reserves the right to change the location in the case of force majeure. The customer shall inform Róisín Curé Art in writing whether he or she chooses to withdraw or to benefit from the alternate package within and not after 2 days from receipt of the alternate proposal. Should the customer fail to accept any variations, Róisín Curé Art shall return only the sums of money received within 7 working days from receipt of the communication from the customer.
    (15) Damage and Charges. Attendees and their companions are required to act in a responsible manner at all times. Róisín Curé Art reserves the right to recover from clients the cost of any loss or damage caused by a failure to respect the property, fixtures, or fittings in the sketching locations.
    (16) We cannot be held responsible for force majeure including (but are not limited to) strikes, breakdowns, illness, accidents, volcanic dust clouds, storms, war, terrorist acts, riots, floods, etc.

    Cancellation Policy: Payment in full due by 1st February 2020. More than 90 days before departure: €100 deposit forfeited (This may be transferred to another workshop, with a €50 administration fee: however, the €100 deposit will be refunded if we fill the workshop.) 61-90 days before departure: 50% forfeited. 31-60 days before departure: 75% forfeited. 0-30 days before departure: 100% forfeited


    Detailed itinerary available on request.

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