Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Nine!


It was time for a bright and colourful still life and these peppers filled the bill. Cheerful and vibrant and…..tricky! Peppers can be an intimidating subject. Their bulky forms, including those periscope-like stems, are fairly complex. It can be difficult to read the light and shadow on their shiny surfaces.

With that in mind, I probably should have painted a pepper or two as part of my demonstration. I like painting peppers but, this Tuesday, I decided to take a different approach; I painted around a pepper. My study on the left side of the sheet is rudimentary but the shape of a pepper has appeared as I painted the areas around it. The point is that the relationships between the various objects are very important. Everything in a painting works together.

So, how much more do we have to do to convey a pepper? That, basically, was the assignment and the students were up for it.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

When in doubt, follow your process. Most of the students did some sort of preliminary sketch/compositional study in their sketchbooks. At one point, I turned down all of the lights in the studio except the one directly over the still life. This helped everyone to see the most important areas of light on the objects and the main, overall areas of shadow. Each pepper can be simplified into two main areas; one of direct light (eliminating highlights, for now) and one of shadow. In my two studies on the right, I’ve used the paper white for the light area and a cool grey wash for the shadow. It’s simple but it works.

There were still struggles and sighs, as there are in every watercolour class, but the results speak for themselves.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

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2 Responses to “Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Nine!”

  1. Carol King Says:

    Love the peppers.

  2. Lois Says:

    Been gone, but have read the older postings.
    they are all so nice, and love the worksheets.
    Students always do good!
    Thanks for sharing.

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