Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Seven

Still Life - SpringTuesWk7/2014

I guess it would be fair to call this a non-traditional still life. It has an almost abstract quality. With that in mind, I gave the students some guidelines that allowed them to focus on shape and value.

Step one was to paint a preliminary wash over the entire sheet.  I painted the area with clean water and randomly touched in some yellows and reds. The image below is a bit too dark but it’s possible to see the soft gradations of warm colours.


Step two involved composition. The students did thumbnail sketches in their sketchbooks to work out their compositions. I suggested they crop their selected area of the subject on all four sides. This enhanced the abstract quality and allowed them to focus on shape and value as opposed to rendering objects.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - SpringTuesWk7/2014

All of the objects are wooden and the utensils take the light very nicely. I’ve left the lightest areas of the utensils untouched. The preliminary wash gives them a nice glow. This demonstration is unfinished so that you can see the unpainted areas and get a sense of the process.

If you thought this still life looked tricky when you first looked at it, you were right. It was very challenging but a sound approach helped to demystify its complexities. The students did fine work and it’s a very stimulating group of paintings.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique


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3 Responses to “Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Seven”

  1. Lois Says:

    Thanks Barry, for sharing.
    How do you get the Background so nice looking.?
    I’ve tried and mine kind of looks blotching and to dark,where
    I drop in the Paint.
    thanks of you care to Share.

  2. Carol King Says:

    I particularly like this setup. Your class did a wonderful job and I liked your advice on cropping their selected areas to get an abstract quality.

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