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Famous Painting Study #2: Homer’s Sponge Diver

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This second painting study is of Winslow Homer’s The Sponge Diver. Award-winning artist William “Bill” Dunn traces the steps of this master watercolorist, and breaks down each component to make it easy to follow. Want to watch the video version? The full tutorial is available to members of our Watercolor University.

Materials Used In This Watercolor Class:

  • Reference picture of Winslow Homer’s The Sponge Diver
  • A block of Hahnemühle’s Britannia cold press watercolor paper (140lb, size 9.4″ x 12.6″)
  • Pentel Graphgear 1000 automatic drafting pencil, 0.9mm lead size with 2B lead
  • 1″ Artist’s or masking tape
  • Painting palette for watercolor paints
  • A container of water
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • A tabletop easel or a box to prop your painting on
  • A spray bottle with clean water

Paints (Holbein Artists’ Watercolors)

  • Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Brilliant Orange
  • Cadmium Red Purple
  • Cobalt Violet Light (a.k.a. “Lavender”)
  • Viridian
  • Cobalt Green
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue Hue
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Indigo
  • Neutral Tint

Winsor & Newton’s Professional Watercolors

  • Oxide of Chromium
  • Permanent Mauve (or Sennelier’s Cobalt Violet Deep Hue watercolor paint)
  • French Ultramarine


  • Escoda Perla Joseph Zbukvic Series: Round brush (no. 8)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 Kolinsky Sable: Round brush (no. 1)
  • Winsor & Newton’s Series 7 Kolinsky Sable: Round brush (no. 2)
  • Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolor Sable Brush: Round brush (no. 0)
  • Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold II Series 303: Short handle lettering/rigger brush (no. 1)