My still life class entitled, "Water, Glass & Light" started at the Austin Museum of Art School yesterday. You guessed it, the whole focus is on painting transparent objects and it is going to be fun! (As the teacher, I guess I may be biased, but there you have it.) While this may sound obvious, the fact that glass and water are CLEAR is the most important thing to remember. One is really just painting what is seen THROUGH the glass and water. We painted very simple still lifes with just colored fabrics and glass. It's a great way to get the concept of "seeing through".
Before painting a full sized canvas, we did little studies like the following to warm-up. We are using a block-in method that starts with simple shapes and color notes, almost like a mosaic. This warm-up is a mini-version of that block-in method and it allows the painter to identify and locate color and shapes spatially without getting too caught up in detail. Getting it "right" is always a stumbling block for artists, so this is very freeing.
.Explanation/directions (for those who want to try this at home):
Observe the important spots of color as they occur throughout the painting (really necessary with glass with all the reflecting and refracting) and put them down. No preliminary drawing - just use the color to block in shapes and negative shapes. Pay attention to how the colors are altered when seen through glass and water. Lay in color next to color but don't connect the spots - keep it loose. Resist the urge to "finish" it. It's a good reference for a larger painting.
This is a great exercise, and I think it helped my students as they approached their larger pieces with the same process. Of course, for the large one, they did get to follow the urge to finish. Great work guys!! :)