When you get to your workshop try to find out where in the room your tutor will be working and try to get a location as close to him as possible. At one workshop I spent so much time chatting with old friends that by the time I set up my gear I ended up at the very end of quite a long room – needless to say at the opposite end to where the tutor was working.  I had to keep walking backwards and forwards if I had a query about a section of his painting.  Not a useful handicap when painting with watercolors!

Throughout the course keep in mind why you’re doing it.  I have found that spending a few minutes each night writing down what I learnt from the day really gave me a sense of progress and this may be of use to you as well.

Don’t be scared to ask questions.  I can’t recall having a tutor that wasn’t willing to answer questions, and even though they must exist, you would have found this out in your preliminary research.  It would not hurt for you to prepare a list of questions you’ve had on your mind before starting the workshop and then you can get these answered.  You don’t want to be on your way home when you realize there was a question you had forgotten to ask your tutor.  I suggest you don’t hit your tutor immediately with a string of these listed questions but instead ask them one or two at a time as you work through the week. It’s quite likely that a number will be answered anyway through the course of the class.

Don’t ever hesitate to ask a question because you think everyone will wonder if you are just too inexperienced, or some other self depreciatory thought.  Just go ahead and ask your question. That is why you’re there and why you paid your money.  The tutors expect it – unless you are a rank beginner but still went ahead and booked into a workshop for advanced students, it’s not a good idea to do this by the way!

Quite often when you ask one of your “silly” questions someone else will come up to you later and say: “Gee I’m glad you asked that question, I was wondering the same thing myself!”

Keep your mind on learning.  If you produce some good paintings along the way then that is a bonus. It’s the extra knowledge that you want to take away with you, that is important first and for most.

Continue to: Watercolor workshops how to tackle one: part 3