Watercolor Glass and Metal
There isn't much left to do on our watercolor still life, just some final touches. I will be using the
Now that everything is based in, we need to set it down on something, I chose a table top in the Torrance class it looked like a wooden table in the other classes maybe cloth, it's your painting, you need to decide.
Once again, I looked to see where my light was coming from and that was from the right and it hit the table just in front of the bottle and around the bell of the snuffer, that is where I started using orange with a touch of yellow and water. I could start by wetting the area just like we did with the background but because I am working vertically, I needed more control so I wet the paper as I went along.
The next color I picked up was orange with a touch of sienna and blended with water. I want smooth transitions between the colors, it does take practice so don't get discouraged if it doesn't work the first time. The final colors I used were sienna and purple for the corners and sides, this creates a vignette around my subject and focuses the view into the central part of my painting. This now has to dry completely before I start on the shadows.
While this is drying, I can look at the rest of my subject to see where I need more shadows or to intensify color. I decided that I needed a shadow from the bottle on the wall behind the candle. No, I did not see it, but I needed some dark behind the candle to give in more shape against the light background so I put it in. I am an artist, I have a license and I use it and you should too. This isn't a photo where you don't have the control, you are the ultimate "PhotoShop" you put in or take out what ever you need to make your painting work for you. I needed a shadow, I put in a shadow.
Since this was glass that was casting the shadow, it wasn't a real dark shadow. I used Hooker's green and a touch of blue and water to make my shadow. I then rinsed my brush and with a clean brush went around the edge to soften the edge. The color bled down into the wet table but that was okay, some of that color will be on the table as well.
Once the table was dry, I sketched in the shadows cast from the snuffer and the candle and its base. Shadows are important because it sets your objects down and helps tell the viewer where the light is coming from, it is also why it is important to only have one light source when you set up a still life, so you know where your light is.
The shadow color is dark because these are cast shadows. That means that an object is blocking the light, a form shadow shows the shape of an object as its shape move into or out of the light such as the candle gets darker away from the light source, the form shadow tells you it is a round candle.
To mix a dark color in watercolor it is important to be able to get enough pigment off your paint pile so be sure to wet your paints when you are setting up to work. Most of the problems people were having were because they had to wet their brush to wet their paint to get the color off, this dilutes the color making light gray instead of a dark, almost black color. Even if you had black on your palette, if it isn't wet enough for you to pick up enough pigment, it too will look gray instead of black.
Using blue, sienna and a touch of purple and very little water, I mixed a dark blue/purple color for my shadows. I painted the shadow of the handle of the snuffer paying close attention to the face that the snuffer is inclined but the shadow must stay on the table. Under the candle there were two shadows a lighter shadow from the whole candle and holder and a darker shadow cast by the rim of the holder.
I looked at my set-up to see where I could add more shadows like under the rim of the holder, or under the candle next to the holder. The edge of the snuffer or the insides of the holes of the snuffer needed shadows. I even used that dark color to create a wick for the candle, these things you will have to decide how detailed you want your painting to be.
Finally, I removed the masking fluid from my painting making sure that the areas were dry before I rubbed it off. If the paper is even damp, it can tear the surface of the paper so be sure it is dry around the masking.
With a damp brush, I softened some of the edges of the masked areas, sometimes picking up light versions of the colors around the white area to make them look more natural. On the snuffer I wet over the highlights with a thin wash of yellow because the highlights weren't bright white.
During this final process, I step back often to look at my overall painting to see if it really needs me to fiddle with it more. If I can't find any glaring omissions when I step back, it is done! I may live with it a few days and look at it later but it is much better for your painting to stop sooner rather than later otherwise you will over work it and ruin what was a nice painting. This too takes practice but it is what all artists need to learn: When to stop.
We are done with our still life so now you need to find something you would like to work on or at least get started before we end our classes. I will be doing requests the next few weeks so if you have anything that you need more instruction on or clarification on technique, let me know because if you have a problem chances are others do too.