Friday, November 23, 2012

Celebrate World Watercolour Day Today and Paint!

It's World Watercolour Day today and what better way to celebrate this great day than by painting and sharing my love of watercolour with you all in two ways...

Firstly,Just in case you are at a loss as to what to paint,  I am adding below a step by step guide on how to paint this beautiful box with a pebbled glass lid.

 To begin, sketch out the outline below

The box section

1. Wet the area of the box you are going to work on, and then leave till there is only a slight sheen, then wet again and wait until shiny but not really wet.

2. Position the paper so that the paint can run in the direction you want, then using quin red or similar colour put some paint on the top section and leave it to gravity to do the rest. Stand by with a tissue just in case, but with practice, knowing how long to wait before applying the paint, you will not often need it. Leave it to dry really well (about 30-45 mins).

3. Re wet the area carefully with a flat glaze brush and repeat step 2 using Perylene maroon.

4. You can do this with each section individually or work on another section of the box while waiting for the first to dry. Do not work on touching sections consecutively though, and do wait until all the shine has gone and it's light touch dry before angling the paper in a different way. You want the water to work with you and not against you.

5. Now you need to work on each part of the box in the opposite direction to the way you began. Wet the area again very carefully and put the paint on the opposite side (the side that probably still has white parts) and let gravity do its thing again.

6. Repeat with each area, first working one way and then, once dry, turn 180 degrees and repeat. You are just building the texture; don’t worry about the shadows yet. You can leave some areas white though if they are in the light.

7. Now using a mix of perylene maroon and a touch of neutral tint start to work in suggestions of shadows wet on dry. Then using a damp brush, soften the edges.

8. With a fine brush, add in the fine line shadow under the lip of the edges of the box.

The pebbled glass

Wet on ever so slightly damp paper, paint in the color of the under rim of the box and the side that shows through the glass. Remember these will not be straight lines because the rough surface of the glass will distort the shapes behind. Using wet on damp, gradually build up the color. You cannot use gravity for this because the lines will be distorted, so will wiggle around with your brush. I use a fine brush for this because I like them, but it doesn’t need to be ultra fine. Keep the whole area ever so slightly lighter in tone than the actual box.

Paint in the colored pieces of glass. You are just painting in the color at this stage, the texture will come later.

Paint in the shadows on the floor behind the glass. I used a mixture of the maroon and neutral tint. Again these shadows will not be straight lines. At the same time, you can paint in the shadows on the floor.

When dry, use a fine brush to dot in the darker areas on the glass. I just used a darker red/grey mix for the white areas and a darker maroon or quin red mix for those areas. It looks a bit weird at the moment but don’t worry.

When the paint is dry, wet a flat wash brush with plain water and gently brush over the glass area. The water will then work to gently soften and blend the dots together and create the pebbled glass look.

The rim of the box

Use a mixture of quin gold, neutral tint or a grey complimetary mix, and a red brown (I used Indian red) and fill in the paint on the rim. For the shiny areas I just added some iridescent watercolor mix to some quin gold deep and touched in these areas once the paint was dry.

I Hope you will enjoy following the steps above and creating your own gift box. Why not add something inside your box and give the exercise as a Christmas or holiday gift to someone special.
Please note this image is not subject to the usual copyright rules so please enjoy painting it yourself.

Secondly, as it is World Watercolour day today, I thought that this would also be a great time to share with you a review of  my  watercolours painted and/or exhibited in 2012.  Thank you all for your support this year.Click on the play button below to see my slideshow or go directly to you tube to see it full screen



  1. Thank you for posting this Ona. I'm going to have a go this evening


  2. Ona, you are a treasure. You are so busy and yet you find the time to inspire others. Thank you.

  3. you are welcome Kathy :)

    I love watercolour so much Pene I want to share my passion with others so they can enjoy it too.

  4. Oh yeh!!! I'm off to paint. Thanks Ona


  5. What a great watercolor lesson, Ona! Thank you so much. I was celebrating with watercolor wash today. I worked on a Paris sky for my new Eiffel Tower large painting for San Francisco show. It was fun, although, I even didn't know it is a watercolor day. Good thing for us, Artists, it is every day is Watercolor Day :0).

  6. Hope you had heaps of fun Jean :)

    You are welcome Irina and yes, for us every day can be a watercolour day. Its good to have an official day too though to help spread the word :)

  7. Thanks Ona... The lesson is much appreciated!

  8. wondwerful. Thank you so much for the step by step demo and the video of your paintings. You are in inspiration