Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 3

Thursday October 26 2023 – 1pm-3pm EST

Zoom link (Passcode 189664)

This week we’re going to let things flow a little. We’re going to build on the first two sessions but with a different type of subject – still life. The past two weeks we’ve been focusing on value and color but without much attention to how the paint moves on the paper. We haven’t been softening edges or adding in any color variation to our shapes. And these two things really play to watercolor’s strengths.

So this week we’re still going to do our color swatches and pay attention to the values but when we come to putting the paint on the paper we’re going to let the paint do its own thing more. We’ll be letting things bleed, changing up the color a little, softening edges.

As before I will record the drawing ahead of time and send out a link to it (it will also be on the youtube playlist too). The drawing (especially the jug) needs to be convincing so I will take a bit of time over this.

(All session materials are linked off the main page)


  • Student paper for mixing color swatches
  • 100% cotton paper for the full painting (I’ll be using 10″x10″)
  • Value scale (See the Useful Tools page)
  • Pencil/Paint/Palette/Water/Paper towels/masking tape
  • Brushes: A larger brush for the background/foreground and the larger areas. A slightly smaller (10 or 12) for the trees and more detailed areas.
  • Colors: Cobalt blue, Ultramarine, Burnt sienna, Vermillion/napthol/cad red (orangey red), Permanent rose (or a pinkish red like alizarin or quin red) Cad lemon/hansa yellow (greenish yellow), yellow ochre, black. Also if you have cerulean or cad orange-yellow we may use them for color accents.

Reference Photo (click to enlarge and right click to download)

Reference Photo with grid

My Version

As you can see my version deviates from the reference somewhat. I’ve put more blue into the background and cloth and the fruits are highly simplified. I’ve let the paint blossom a little here and there but still tried to retain the form and light.

Drawing Video

YouTube player

Class Video

YouTube player

(All Videos)

My class version

6 thoughts on “Intermediate Watercolor October 2023 – Session 3

  1. Struggled a little and as a result I lost the translucency. My swatches are good though! But I want to try again. I want to practice breaking the edges too.

  2. Had another go. Much happier with the pitcher. But my drawing was, I think, to small to allow me to get much variation/ volume in the apples.
    I painted the background with a mix of cobalt, perm rose and raw sienna.

    1. Oh yes I think this works better (the first one was great though). That background isn’t shouting so much now and there’s lovely softness in the jug. Would maybe have liked to see some darker shadows in the fruit to give it some depth. But if you’re working small then it’s tough.

      1. Small and too wet! I think I will go back and add darker values to the fruit; right now they really have no volume. Thanks, Michele!

  3. Hi Michele
    I am learning so much but this was hard! Ultimately, I like how it turned out. I didn’t lose as many edges and also I feel the shadow side of the pears and table shadows went a bit to dark. Sorry I wasn’t able to attend last week but should be there Thursday. Thank you:)

    1. Oh look at that! Beautiful. That wonderful almost not there quality of the left side of the jug. Really nice. You could be right about the shadows being a bit dark but the whole thing reads really well. Bravo!

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