Watermill painting tutor Cynthia Armstrong


Cynthia Armstrong

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Painting by watermill tutor Cynthia Armstrong



While out on an early morning walk in the town of Castellina in Chianti, the incredible smell of fresh baked bread stopped me. I just had to take photo of this local bread baker, later working it up in my sketchbook.

Painting by Cynthia Armstrong a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Skagit Valley Tulip Farm


I love the vibrancy and luminosity that watercolor offers. Every spring, the Skagit Valley in Washington State is awash in the most amazing colors and I was eager to take up the challenge of capturing them. This was painted from a photo taken of a tulip farm during their annual festival.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Cynthia Armstrong



No self-respecting Italian cooks without mushrooms. Another painting in my Italian sketchbook, these porcinis were spotted in an outdoor market; later made into a delicious ragu during a cooking class

Painting tutor Cynthia Armstrong at the watermill in Italy

La Fontana dei la Quattro Fiumi


This gouache sketch, completed in my travel sketchbook, was inspired by a small section of the amazing fountain in the Piazza Navona in Rome.

Course dates

Course Completed


Watercolours and gouache

Cynthia Armstrong has a degree in Science Illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s in Education from Stanford University. She has been a freelance illustrator/artist for more than 25 years, and a teacher for the past 20 years. Cynthia has traveled and journaled extensively throughout her career, with a client list that includes the New York Botanical Gardens, U.S. National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Native Plant Society

Her course will offer insights into capturing the lovely Italian scenes we will be immersed in while on holiday. Through demonstrations, exercises, and gentle critiques students will develop confidence in a variety of watercolor/ gouache techniques as well as creating a travel journal. A comment from one of her students; “Cynthia teaches us to open our eyes to the beauty around us.”

Praise for Cynthia’s teaching

“What prompted me to take my first gouache class from Cynthia was her own work - it sings! Her use of color is thrilling and her imaginative portrayal of even a single cactus plant inspired me to enrol for several years in her classes. I liked her teaching style and the medium so much that I currently take private lessons. Cynthia’s enthusiasm for her subject matter and her ability to convey technique in a short period of time make it possible for class participants to progress quickly, resulting in an extremely gratifying learning experience. I especially appreciate her people skills, including her ability to critique in a supportive manner so that I learn and progress, gain confidence and enjoy the process immensely. Cynthia is truly a master of this medium.” - CH

“Cynthia teaches us to open our eyes to the beauty around us. She communicates techniques in a clear, interesting way. The atmosphere is light and fun. I learned to focus on textures, diverse surfaces, interesting shapes and patterns. I don’t think I have ever looked at anything so closely. She pulls you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to test and explore artistic boundaries. She is always helpful and answers any questions that come up.” - GM

“Cynthia is a wonderful artist and a generous teacher. She is always well prepared, with visuals, demonstrations, exercises to improve skills, new materials to try, and books to read. There’s no pressure, just a wealth of information for you to use as your time and interest permits. She shows you the path to becoming a better artist.” - JP

“Cynthia instructs with humor, sensitivity, and a willingness to share her both new learning and favorite art tricks. She is an amazing instructor. She gives substantive, critical (yet kind) and practical instruction.” - ZP