Winter Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Seven


I’ve set up some challenging still lifes over the last few weeks. Today, I opted for an  arrangement of relatively simple objects that take the light well. Our colours are complementary but I’ve placed the cooler green apples in front of the warm terracotta pots, reversing the basic law of advancing warm and receding cool colours. Why not? If it looks good in the still life, let’s make it look good an a sheet of watercolour paper.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

I did some basic review of handling soft edges for both classes. During the afternoon break, I painted the little group of terracotta objects. I wanted to try a unifying approach. Here are the steps I used.

Step one of watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

STEP ONE – You can see what I mean by a unifying approach. I mixed my terracotta colour with primary yellow and red. There’s a tiny amount of primary blue in the wash, as well. I painted the wash throughout the objects, leaving a few small shapes of paper white untouched.

Step two of watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

STEP TWO – The more or less elliptical shapes that denote the inside of the various vessels were painted with a light middle tone and a darker value was touched in while wet. The core shadow areas of the objects on the far left and right were handled differently. A band of clean water was painted above the shadow area. The darker wash was started at the bottom of the band of water. The darker wash and the water touched each other and created a soft edge.

Step three of watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

STEP THREE – Several things happened with this step. The jar on the left was completed with the darker shadow shape. This shape has a sharp or crisp edge all round. The similar shape on the right-hand jar was painted almost the same way except I ‘feathered’ the bottom right part of the shape with a damp brush. Now, look at the pitcher at the back. The first step I took was to paint the upper area darker and feather the lower edge with a damp brush. Then, about halfway down, I painted another band of clean water and added the dark shape below it. Whew! I hope it all makes sense.

Step four of watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

STEP FOUR – I painted the biggest shape on the large jug with a middle tone. While still wet, I touched in an even darker and cooler wash under the spot and in the lower left corner.

Light to dark and big to small. I harp on it over and over but it works. The students came up with some very strong work. I’m always amazed at what they can accomplish in less than three hours.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique



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

  1. Leslie Cadeau Says:

    This is great lesson. I am in Cambodia and thoroughly enjoying it. Leslie

  2. Lois Says:

    enjoyed this lessons.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Carol King Says:

    Love the terracotta pots lesson. Great work by your students, as usual.

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