Coursework Part 3: Exercise 3.3 Watercolour Studies

I selected six glass items, one has a cut-glass decoration, another is a blown-glass ball, with a mixture of green and clear glass. I separated the lid of the carafe from the bottle as it had a nice shape by itself.


The first arrangement is made under artificial light, which I varied from diffuse to close-up. I also varied the background: orange, black, white, light wood, pink, or sky blue. I also tried draping the light with sheer fabrics in blue or purple. The drapes did not seem to make much difference, but did seem to present a fire hazard, so I did not leave the fabric in place. The coloured background could be seen to reflect some of its colour into the arrangement, and gave a soft reflected light of that hue. The close-up artificial light gave stronger contrasts between the very bright reflections and the rest of the colours.


Back in daylight (with a small amount of artificial light) to try rearranging the elements with different backgrounds.


I liked this arrangement best: daylight, black & white background, candle votive removed. So this will be my first selection to paint from.



The black side to the arrangement threw some stark contrasts into the glass: dark, purplish blacks and greenish blacks. There were also bright white highlights of reflected daylight from the window. A few surprising yellow highlights could be seen – probably from the diffuse artificial light in the room. The main colours were warm chromatic greys. I approached the task by starting with the strong and dark highlights, and then mid and finally light tones.

The strong contrasts gave the resulting palette quite a dramatic look, with the green and yellow adding a feel of early spring – like glimpses of green shoots and primroses on a grey day.

I like the resulting palette, but feel that the green could have done with a touch more blue in the mix.



For the second set-up, I moved the items around, then removed the green glass ball from the arrangement, and replaced it with a clear glass object. The side of the composition was bordered with a bright, coral-coloured board, and instead of daylight, I used strong artificial light.

The whole composition was suffused with soft, pinkish and violet-tinged chromatic greys, with highlights of soft reds and rust, with a few white bright spots, and a surprising touch of greenish grey on one object. I made the stripes taller and less wide, and allowed some mixing and running of the colours. The resulting palette is quite a gentle and warm, analagous selection, were it not for the touch of greenish greys. I’m not naturally attracted to pale, muted colours, but this is quite a pleasant mixture. It reminds me of paintwork on a weathered beach hut at sunset.


For the next arrangement, I made a taller composition with natural daylight and diffuse artificial light. The background is a sky blue colour.



The background made a big difference to the colours in the arrangement. The artificial light gave a fairly bright yellow reflection in places. The darkest greys at the edges of the vessels often coincided with the brightest white highlights caused by the daylight. The areas of cut glass and the globular carafe stopper echoed the colour of the background. A very pale, violet-tinted chromatic grey and a mid, warm chromatic grey made up the rest of the palette. I like this palette: soft, summery colours of aqua and yellow, playing off the greys which resemble shadows or rocks.

Here is the palette Adobe CC software made from the painted stripes above, using the ‘muted’ option.



For this composition, I made a flat arrangement of the objects, lit only by the greyish daylight. The background is cream and white.



This arrangement gave little in the way of colour to represent: lots of warm purpleish chromatic greys and reflections from the cream background, with just a few dark points at the rims and thick bases of some of the items. The resulting palette is gentle and muted with little variation in value (apart from the three points of dark grey). It reminds me of a winter sunrise on a cloudy day.



I was aiming for a more dramatic palette with this composition. The background was black and white. I waited until after dark, then lit the arrangement with one artificial light, draped with red fabric. The photograph has made it look much redder than it appeared to the naked eye. The room was very dark, and the composition showed just a few dark black/grey, red, yellow or white highlights and lots of pink-suffused greys. This palette reminded me of a Missoni colour palette, such as found in this dress from their Spring 2017 Collection.



My approach to this task was to try different lighting effects and background colours to achieve variety in the resulting palettes. Each resulting palette was different and interesting in its own way, suggesting colour schemes which might be used in fabric design, or for creating a particular mood in a piece of art work.

Using watercolour gave a nice, translucent look to the palettes, which reflected their origin as a glass arrangement. I liked the way colours mixed and blended in places, creating even more subtle colours.

I could see this work developing into observing and selecting colours from landscapes, or particular photographic images, to use in future art works.

One thought on “Coursework Part 3: Exercise 3.3 Watercolour Studies”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s