Winter Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Four


Complementary colours. Cool and warm colours. These cantaloupes really glow against the blues and it’s no accident. Their vibrancy comes from the relationship with blue (blue and orange are an eternal love story). The orange of the cantaloupes  advances as the blue objects and fabrics recede.

I promised lots of painting time to the students so I kept the demonstration, as much as possible, to the point. First of all, a quick reminder of the change in value for a plane change. I’ve drawn two simplified wedges showing three planes on each. So, three values (in cool gray) give them a three-dimensional quality.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

I started the cantaloupes with a light, translucent golden wash throughout the area of the exposed fruit. While wet, I touched in some darker orange and green. When that was dry I painted the skin an olive green and left a few flecks of paper white to suggest the pitting. Everything was allowed to dry before I painted the seeds and the darker pits in the skin. Light to dark. Big to small. You’ve heard that before here.

There aren’t as many watercolour paintings to look at today. Various bugs kept several of the painters at home. Here’s what they did! Check out the paintings with warm, yellow or orange, backgrounds. They give the work an interesting sense of space and light. What do you think?

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique


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9 Responses to “Winter Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Four”

  1. cavepainter Says:

    All of the paintings are very good. Ones that stand out to me are the bottom left in the AM photo because of its interesting composition, and the top left in the PM photo because of its looseness. 🙂

  2. DrawingConnections Says:

    Really like the strong compositions and contrasting colours in all of them. And thank you for sharing the process.

  3. Carol King Says:

    One of the reasons I love to come and visit here is that I’m always reminded of the basics…”Light to Dark” “Big to Small”. Always good teaching lessons. Thanks Barry!

  4. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    A powerful lesson in the use of complimentary colors. I would love to know how the artists select their background colors. I always wonder…

    • Barry Coombs Says:

      That’s the million dollar question, Linda. We discuss background colour over and over. Light or dark? Cool or warm? Many of the students consider the background to be a chore, unfortunately.

  5. Arlene Says:

    Thank you for posting your lessons. I really love how your students interpret the still lifes. I just started a watercolor class for beginners. It is a big change from working with acrylics. Hopefully we will get to do some still lifes too.

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