Uncorked - Original Still Life Oil Painting of Glass Bottles - Kitchen Art

"Uncorked" - 5" x 5" - Oil on 1/4" panel with 
sides painted black an a slot in the back for hanging
(no frame needed).
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Here is another example of an exercise I had my students work on in my oil painting class. The challenge - glass. Sounds simple right? If you've painted glass then you know what a mess of color and light there can be in these humble objects. Plus there are the usual drawing issues to contend with like getting the sides even and straight and getting all the ellipses correct. Not to mention you are working on all of these things while still trying to maintain a loose feeling to the painting.

The key to painting glass is knowing which highlights, shadows and reflections to include and which ones to edit out. I tell my students to first ignore the reflections and focus on turning the form using three values - a highlight, mid-tone and core shadow. This works best on colored glass objects like the green bottle you see here. Then, once their bottle looks three-dimensional I tell them to begin adding reflections sparingly. Less is usually more. 

The key to painting a clear glass bottle is to SQUINT. Then paint the big bold shapes you see first. Working from large shapes to smaller and smallest. Again, less is more.

My clear glass bottle is really only painted using shades of gray plus the orange ground and green bottle colors. Also, I thought about each stroke before I put my brush on the canvas too which is why the strokes are clear.

The best way to figure it out is to paint glass objects from life and paint them often. Working from photographs is simply not enough, the human eye sees so much more than the camera does. Yes, painting from life is much harder, it forces you to make many more decisions but, in the long run you will learn more and become a better painter faster as a result.

Happy new year!


Kathy Cousart said…
Wonderful post. Love how you described painting glass and lucky students to have you!

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