IAIN STEWART AWS NWS Class is closed.

  • Belfast classes will now meet at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, and are limited to 14 students!

Explore the medium of watercolor in a relaxing and creative environment!

Iain Stewart’s sole focus is to help bring your creativity to light, aiding you in dispelling the myths of the difficulties of painting in this wonderful medium. He believes that, given the right encouragement and understanding of the basic fundamentals, you’ll find watercolor a creative outlet unmatched for its ease of use, cost of materials, and pure enjoyment of artistic expression, capturing effects as with nothing else! No other medium offers the immediacy and speed of watercolor…what could be better for capturing the outdoor landscape with its constantly shifting light and air!  And in Maine, boats; they all move!

Through demonstration, thoughtful critique, and lessons learned over a long painting career, Iain will help you understand how to prepare for and anticipate the challenges presented by painting in watercolor, Guiding you through his process, which relies on the simplification of subject through exploratory sketching and value studies, Iain will demonstrate how to create a road map, that if followed, will greatly improve your painting! Iain teaches workshops both en plein air and in a traditional studio setting. In both settings his purpose is to provide you with a repeatable process involving carefully planned steps that you can use for painting any subject. You’ll have the chance during the week to paint a variety of scenery, putting these tools to work and getting ample personal feedback from Iain.

If the weather cooperates, you’ll be out on site painting from life; we have many nearby sites  and we’ll deliver lunch! If it doesn’t, you’ll paint inside from from photographs provided by Iain. More experienced painters are encouraged to work from their own photos. Iain maintains a relaxed class  accommodating to all, regardless of the likely broad mix of experience & skill levels.                                                                                               

Most importantly, Iain allows as much time as possible for one-on-one instruction and critique, being very clear that a workshop should focus on the student and not how well the instructor can paint! In the end, a workshop is about you and your experience, and it’s success is measured by whether it will help you to continue on your artistic journey. Iain’s intent is that it will; his instruction ensures it!

He believes there is a simple tool, that if used with regularity, will begin habits that will change the way you approach your work and see the world in ways you cannot imagine, often overlooked and underused: in short your sketchbook. There is no other tool at your disposal better suited to allow you to explore your ideas with abandon and a carefree attitude than a sketch.

When on location your sketchbook not only serves as a place to record your surroundings, It becomes a time capsule taking you back to place: the sights, smells, the temperature, the movement of the air.


  Your quick lines and washes evoke sounds, conversations going on around you, the seagull that tried to steal your breakfast, when you stood outside a fish and chip shop warming yourself by the fryer vent on a July day in Scotland, that perfect moment when your wife brought you a lavender ice cream in Provence just as you were finishing up your work for the day. Photographs tend  to serve as a far less personal representations of what it is like to recall where you were. Whether you spend 5 minutes or an hour sketching, you will know a place much deeper than a tourist with a camera collecting images could in days. You’ll own a place, a moment, not just visually, but with your senses and in your body memory.

In Iain’s words:

“Behind all good paintings there is the initial spark of inspiration and excitement. Every artist has a different approach to working from that idea to something tangible. At times that vision is realized and, sadly, quite often it is not. Not to fear. Our mistakes teach us more about where that vision was lost and how to fix it than any piece that is successful.”

Between Iain’s teaching skills and your willingness to go for it, mistakes and all, you’ll come away from this class having taken big steps forward as a painter!

Iain Stewart is a watercolor artist / illustrator and a signature member of both the American and National Watercolor Societies. His work has received numerous awards in international competition and he is a sought after juror and workshop instructor. He is also an architectural illustrator with an international clientele- a business he has run for the last 20 years. Iain maintains a studio in Opelika, Alabama.


      1. Some General Class Information:

We will make sure you know our 2022 Covid protocols well ahead; please be assured that we will do everything we can to provide a safe environment for you! Compliance with our protocols is required. We’ll decide on carpooling depending on necessary 2022 Covid protocols.

  • Do bring layers for 3 seasons and rain gear…Maine weather changes in a blink and we really never know with any certainty from day to day! We’re fairly informal most everywhere tho, depending on where you eat out…many times, students just clean up in the studio, then head straight to a restaurant…

  • We‘ll process your payment after we get your online Registration and will email you a receipt. A $300 deposit will hold your space. Cancellation and Refund info is at the bottom of the Registration Form…(please do read the Policies before you check that you have!)

  • We’ll send a Supply List and more detailed info after you Register, and again about 2 weeks before the class. Print and tuck into your painting kit…then you’ll know where to find it all! It has the answers to most of your questions!

  • If you will need mediums, let me know and I will have them here for you to buy when you get to class. You are also welcome to ship materials to arrive the week before…ask about details!

  • The first day, the Studio will open at 8:15 AM… Classes run M-F usually between 8:30-4:30, but the exact hours are at the Instructor’s discretion…always an average of 6 hours/day, but starting and ending times may vary according to your instructor.

  • We always have a 1 hr lunch break, to use or not, it’s up to you…and a lunch plan depending on where we are painting. We order in the AM and deliver to your location…you pay in cash on the last day before you leave!

  • We no longer provide bottled water: make sure you have at least one refillable water bottle! Tap water is fine to drink…

  • Our Studios are large, with good light, one with waterviews; you’ll have table space and you are welcome to leave equipment etc. there for the duration of the class. 

  • The Plein Air plan for the day is weather-dependent and decided at the end of the previous day if possible, or more likely, when we meet in the Studio each morning! Make sure your Class Monitors know where you have set up, and try to stay close to the demo area. Less running around for them, more time for feedback to you!

  • There is free parking at or near the Studio buildings.

  • We usually carpool  (or sometimes walk if it’s close) to Plein Air painting sites, many of which have shade and at the least, a porta-potty or nearby facilities. You will get good directions. Please, do NOT depend on your GPS unless we say so!

  • Each class has an experienced Monitor (or two!) as your Go-To person for any problems or needs…please ask…we all will do our absolute best to see that you have a great class experience!

  • Downtown has great galleries, shops and food and the area is full of wonderful places to paint, many accessible to the single painter that a class can’t utilize…if you can, take a look around!

  • For Lodging (scroll down that page for Belfast) and Travel info, click on the buttons on the Home Page.

  • If you have any problems, tell us!! We can’t fix anything if we don’t hear till you get home. Be sure to contact us with any questions. Thanks!