Thursday, December 5, 2013

Watercolor of Colored Glass

Glass Menagerie by Lorraine Watry ©2013
I started this painting as a demonstration for a class I was teaching this summer on painting glass in watercolor. I don't usually paint still-lifes but the reflections and detail in the glasses were exciting. I began by setting up and rearranging all the glass pieces that I collected for the class. Then I tried setting them up with different backgrounds both inside and outside to provide different lighting. I ended up choosing this scene because I liked the contrast that the wooden bird statues played against the blue bird and all the other glass. It also felt like there was a story.
     The next step was to block out all the highlights with masking fluid. It is better to save more whites in the beginning because you can always paint some of them out later. Then I started with the upper right corner and just started painting the shapes in the white glass bowl. Having strong contrasts and looking for all the little abstract shapes when painting glass is important.
     One of the changes I made from my photograph was to paint the little glass pieces around the blue bird red instead of the blue that they are in the photograph. I did this for two reasons. The first was that the red helped the blue bird stand out more and the second reason was to spread the red around the painting a little more.
     After finishing a painting, especially a busy one like this, it is important to look at it for a while to make sure there are no areas that need adjusting. I looked at my painting from across the room and in different light, I also looked at in reverse in a mirror and saw a few areas that I wanted to adjust. After making the adjustments, I removed the masking that had saved the white of the paper and painted in the areas that needed color. The rest of the masked areas were cleaned up by painting some of the surrounding color to make them look less cut out or I scrubbed some of their edges to soften them to look like highlights on the glasses, ex. as seen on the green goblet in the upper right hand corner.


  1. A tour de force of coloured glass!

    Maybe too many shapes to do each one justice.

  2. Thanks Yorky and yes it is very busy! It was fun to paint. But, all the different shapes definitely keep your eye moving around the painting.

  3. I've always wanted to try this...I'm sure it was quite a the result you achieved...another award winner!

    1. Thanks Johanna. I think you would do a wonderful job with glass. You should definitely go for it!