Missoula Public Library | 301 East Main Missoula MT 59802 | (406) 721-2665 | M-W 10am-9pm | Th-Sa 10am-6pm | Su 1-5pm

During this weekly ONLINE class, local artist Robert Peltzer will help you practice and develop the skills and techniques necessary to enjoy and succeed at watercolor painting. New painting lessons and assignments are posted every Friday. As assignments are submitted via the internet, feedback and support is provided. This class is open to adults ages 18 and older. For questions, e-mail Robert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  




Welcome everybody! and a special welcome to those participating for the first time. This is our second class back from our 2020 summer break.  

LIBRARY NEWS: The new library's elevators are supplied by a European based company named 'KONE'. There are 2 large public elevators side by side in the center of your new library building. They travel from the underground parking lot all the way to the 4th floor. The elevators are fast, smooth and silent; it's hard to tell if they are moving when you are standing in them. There is a pleasant female voice that announces basic information. There is a third freight elevator on the East side of the building for staff use.

The old library is almost empty except for lots of shelving and furniture and stuff that is being staged to be sold.    


HOMEWORK REVIEW Last week's homework assignment was to sketch a pair of dancing shoes and to colorize them. You were asked to select your own colors and not use a reference. You were invited to treat the painting monochromatically if desired. Shall we take a look at some paintings? Ahh.. look at this one by...



























Nice work everyone!






EYE TRAINING SKETCH   Notice that most of the almonds in the picture below have their profiles partially covered by other almonds because they are behind other almonds. There are only 2 or 3 almond profiles that can be seen in their entirety. Sketch the following bowl of almonds, paying particular attention to the different perspective angles of each almond and to overlapping. TIP: to help with perspective angles, you may find it helpful to draw complete ovals one on top of another and afterward erasing the lines that don't belong.  


Send a photo of your sketch to my email address above sometime before Thursday.


THEORY Today we are going to talk about the humble 'lead sketching pencil'. Because the pencil core is still referred to as "lead", many people have the misconception that a pencil contains lead. Lead is a misnomer, when graphite was first discovered in Cumbria, England, it was thought to contain lead -it doesn't. What we refer to as lead is actually graphite.

Because graphite is soft and breaks easily, it requires some form of encasement. Graphite sticks were initially wrapped in string or sheepskin for stability. The town of Kenswick England, near the original findings of block graphite, still manufactures pencils and is the location of the Derwent Pencil Museum. 

The meaning of "graphite writing implement" apparently evolved late in the 16th century. Two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the halves were then glued together, which is essentially the same manufacturing method they use today. In 1858, Hymen Lipman received the first patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil.  

Today, the lead of a pencil is usually a mix of finely ground graphite and clay powders. The more clay, the harder the pencil. The harder the pencil, the lighter the tone value and the easier to sharpen. Engineers prefer harder pencils because they allow for for finer points. 

Manufacturers distinguish their pencils by grading their color value, but there is no common standard. Two pencils of the same grade but different manufacturers will not necessarily make a mark of identical tone nor have the same hardness. Some well know pencil manufacturers include Derwent, Staedtler, Dixon, Empire etc.

Most manufacturers, designate their pencils with the letters H ("hardness") to B ("blackness"),  The standard writing pencil is graded HB -found at the center of the value scale below:

You don't need to go out and buy a pencil set. I recommend that you just use a standard HB pencil and if you want to be able to make darker marks more easily, use a charcoal pencil. Keep in mind that charcoal pencils are messier and smudge more.



PRACTICE PAINTING  I would like to feature last weeks practice painting by Ingrid because she did a fine job of encapsulating interesting and gradated colors Good work Ingrid!  (clap! - clap! - clap!)


OK everyone, get your warm colors out (reds and yellows) -today we are going to practice painting sunset clouds. Use the following YouTube video by Yong Chen as your guide. Since the cloud sketch is hard to see in the video, base your initial sketch off of the completed painting found in the opening or closing frames of the video. The video is 30 minutes long, so feel free to fast forward and skip around as needed. The purpose of todays practice painting is to practice lifting and adjusting your colors as you paint. When Yong lifts paint off his painting, he first moves his painting hand down -off screen. Off screen, he quickly pinches his brush between the fingers of his other hand to remove the paint from his brush so as to create a 'thirsty' brush. (He wipes his fingers off on a towel or on his pants) A thirsty brush will readily pick up damp paint.   (CLICK HERE)


Send a photo of your practice painting to my email address above sometime before Thursday.


HOMEWORK FOR SEP 17  Choose and paint a subject or scene where the predominant colors are warm colors.

Below are some examples incase you are having trouble coming up with your own ideas:


Send a photo of your homework painting to my email address above sometime before Thursday.   

Have a great week everyone!   laughing   -Robert