Silver and Gold
Over the weekend I taught a workshop on painting a still life from photographs.
Since I have recently been asked by several people how to paint silver, I thought a painting of utensils would be a good exercise in just that.
For the course, I had a photograph of utensils and asked that each student chose their own composition by using L shaped pieces of paper as a cropping tool. Once they had chosen an appealing composition, the photo was traced onto watercolor paper.
Then I had them mask out certain areas that they felt were too small to paint around.
Some of the larger highlights were left unmasked so they could practice how to soften a color into a lighter area without the hard line that is left behind when mask is used.
Once the mask was dry, we painted in the yellow. Although it is hard to see from the photo, a cool yellow wash was used on the silver utensils and background (which is a red tablecloth), while a warmer yellow wash was used on the gold utensils. Occasionally quinacridone rose was dropped into the yellow.
After the yellow dried, the painting was then built up in layers or glazes of wet -in-wet washes.
By combining your primary colors, a beautiful black can be achieved. What is nice about making a black like this is that in some areas, the black will be cooler by having it be more blue, and in other areas it will appear warmer by adding more yellow or red.
On the background/tablecloth, a glaze of Winsor Blue was added to the shadow/darker areas of the tablecloth, combining with the yellow and making it appear green.
The spoons were then darkened more with controlled washes of darker color, keeping in mind hard and soft edges.
A glaze of red was put over the tablecloth. Where the blue was painted, the cloth now appears a darker shade of red, indicating the shadows of the utensils. Where it was left yellow, the cloth appears a brighter red, like it would appear when light hits it.
The golden utensils were built up with the warmer yellow and what I like to refer to as a golden brown color that makes the lighter yellow pop and give the look of gold.
Finally, highlights were softened and certain lines defined.