The Illusion of Glass

I put my satisfaction with watercolour painting down to its elusive quality. The merest touch of colour dropped onto a wet surface can express so much. So often it is the case of what is not painted that says what is intended and in this article I shall give you a few hints and tips that will help to explain almost nothing!

To get to grips with how to depict glass you need to note exactly what you actually see as opposed to what you think you ought to see. Because we see through glass we need to paint what is behind it and, if it is a vessel, what it contains. Glass in the form of a vessel can do all kinds of things to the above depending on its make, thickness and shape. Distortion is common together with reflections and refractions.

Additionally, glass is a hard, crisp- edged material that looks worse if painted with a woolly edge. Needless to say if one tries to depict all the aspects the image could look overloaded and unreal. The trick is to know what to put in and what to leave out, along with the illusion. Imply rather than overstate – keep it simple!

[caption id="attachment_41" align="aligncenter" width="390"] STAGE ONE This vase has a complex symmetrical shape. To achieve this, a paper cut out is needed. Fold the paper in half and draw the shape against the fold – when opened out you have your symmetrical shape. Lay this over masking tape (or Frisk Film) and cut out the shape[/caption] [caption id="attachment_42" align="aligncenter" width="398"] STAGE TWO The masking tape has been cut out and masking fluid applied. When the fluid had dried, the first layer of paint was applied[/caption] [caption id="attachment_40" align="aligncenter" width="600"] FINISHED PAINTING Czech Coloured Glass, watercolour on Saunders Waterford HP 300gsm, 13?9in (33?23cm). A second layer of colour was applied to darken and define edges. I used a sponge to lose some edges. Finally I applied a transparent shadow[/caption]