How to Paint a Vase and Plant Still Life in Watercolor

Skill Level : 2 Intermediate, 3 Advanced

Medium : Watercolour Painting

Subject : Still Life

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 2 hours 11 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Silver Level or Higher Class

Class Description

Still Life paintings are still very popular, and very often the ones with a simple scene that have been effectively arranged and composed make for very beautiful paintngs. This one is even more interesting because of the stowaway!

In this lesson you will learn:

1.  How to add the background
2.  How to paint the curtain in a different texture
3.  How to paint the vase in layers
4.  How to simplify the leaves
5.  How to paint the wooden shelf

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Short Class Video

Class Tutorial

Paint the background

Mask in all the objects with masking fluid – keeping the edges neat and sharp  Wet the background and float in a light gray mix.  Then dry.  We are using the glazing technique – layer over layer.  Slowly build up until you reached the desired tonal range.  Thoroughly dry each layer before adding the next.

With a damp brush soften up the edges to gradually merge into the previous mix.

Mix up enough of each tonal range so that you don't run out of paint halfway.

Because the light is coming from the right, the curtain will throw a deep shadow against the wall on the right side of the painting.

Paint the curtain

Paint in the deep shadows of the curtain first to establish the major folds.  Then add the middle tones.  Now fill the curtain colour with Yellow Ochre and a touch of Raw Umber.  Paint the other folds with a slightly lighter colour and soften up.  Each fold will have a soft and a hard edge.  When you have completed all the blending lift the highlights out with a damp brush and a tissue.

Paint the shelf

Paint a light Yellow undercoat to the shelf and the leaves.  Darken up the top of the shelf.

Paint the leaves

Remove the Masking fluid and start the small pot.  Darken up the areas between the leaves and lift out the highlight area

Mix a light Yellow Green and begin painting the leaves.  Add Yellow for the sunlit leaves.
Use various greens for the leaves because they are never exactly the same colour.  Some leaves will have one half darker than the other to indicate the fold.  Continue completing the leaves.  Add some darks for shadows of leaves above the others.

Half of the leaves are lighter than the others due to the brighter light on the right.  Don't paint the leave to look like the photograph.

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Paint the vase

Add masking fluid to the string knots and when dry paint a Light Purple undercoat to the vase.  Remember to dry each layer.  Test each layer colour before applying. Keep each brush stroke in the form of the vase. Build up the shadow area on the left.  Finally add a warmer layer over the bottom cooler layer.  Dry and remove the masking fluid.

Paint the detail of the vase

With the dark colour and a small round brush paint in the strings.  Use varying widths.  At the same time work on the lug of the vase.  I have added a few extra strings for visual balance.

Beef up the shadow with a cooler colour.  Finish the lug and shadow under the top lip.

Add some colourful knots to vase

Paint in the colours of the knots and then add the deep shadow under the shelf.

The leaves also throw shadows on the shelf as well as on the edge.  Use a Mauve colour.

Paint the shadows

Deepen up the shadows under and to the side of the vase and pot.  Do a few final touch-ups around the leaves.

Finally paint in the cute face of the tortoise hiding among the leaves.

Paint the highlights to leaves

Take some Chinese White and add to the edges of the varigated leaves.  Also on some of the highlights.  Add some shadows on the underside of some leaves.

A few stripes on the shelf for the appearance of wood.

Final painting

About Dennis Clark

Read more about Dennis Clark

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