Heda's still life in Van Gogh water colours
Join Anouk Bijsterbosch in painting a still life! In this step-by-step plan, Anouk shows you how to recreate a painting from the Golden Age using Van Gogh water colours: Still Life with a Silver Tazza by Willem Claeszoon Heda. Using water colours, you can beautifully recreate the colour transitions and the transparency of the glass.
What you need
- Bruynzeel graphite pencil in 4B
- Van Gogh water colour paper A4
- Van Gogh water colour brushes
- Talens masking fluid
- 2 glasses of clean water
- Paper towels
- Van Gogh water colour starter set or separate tubes or pans in the colours:
- Titanium Buff 291
- Permanent Lemon Yellow 254
- Permanent Orange 266
- Yellow Ochre 227
- Permanent Red Deep 371
- Burnt Sienna 411
- Olive Green 620
- Ultramarine 506
- Lavender 525
- Permanent Blue Violet 568
- Raw Umber 408
- Ivory Black 701
- Besides this, we recommend you have an extra blank sheet of water colour paper to use as a palette.
Create a detailed drawing using Heda’s famous still life painting as your reference with your graphite pencil. Use clear, sharp lines.
If you don’t want to create your own drawing from scratch, you can also trace the image onto the water colour paper. Print a copy of the image and use the 4B graphite pencil to colour in the entire back of your sheet of water colour paper. This creates carbon paper, which allows you to easily trace the lines of the image onto your paper.
Place your palette next to your stretched (using painter’s tape). This is your mixing sheet on which you can mix the water and paint and test the colours. Use the masking fluid to spare out a few interesting details, for instance the highlights on the drinking glasses and the strokes of light on the metal cup and olives.
TIP: To make sure the masking fluid doesn’t dry into the hair of your brush, apply a little bit of dish washing liquid to the brush before dipping it into the masking fluid.
We recommend starting with a wet-on-wet technique. First, wet the parts you want to create your first wash of colour on using clean water. Then mix your water colours on the palette sheet of paper and thin the mixture using water until you have a tea-like consistency.
Paint large blocks of paint to add colour to the whole surface of the paper (the foreground, middle and background). These colour washes should be very transparent so you can build up your painting. Work with large/broad brushes.
Start with the lightest parts of the painting.
Let your work dry completely and take a break (or use a hair dryer to make the paint dry faster).
In the next phase, you can apply the wet-on-dry technique with a paint consistency like milk.
Carefully add the shadows with darker colours.
Use a pointed brush to shape the edges of the rough shapes. Work with the shadow line, here you can find the most information about the texture and colour of the object: smooth, matte, fluffy, metal, grainy, etc.
Try to avoid the lightest part as much as possible.
Now you can apply an opaque layer to certain parts of the painting using a honey-like paint consistency (using a wet brush and almost pure paint from the tube).
Remove the masking fluid by using an eraser once the paint has completely dried to reveal the highlights of your painting.
Find drop shadows where the objects touch each other.
Use a dry brush and almost dried up paint to add the darkest spots to the painting.
Details can be added using your finest, thinnest brush.