Watercolor Wednesday: Shaded Spheres How-To

I love painting shaded spheres of color!  Often, when I'm tired in the evening but still want to do a little something in the studio, this is one of my favorite quiet, low-stress activities.  This is an excellent exercise for practicing leaving the white of the paper.  Remember that in traditional watercolor, there's no use of white paint; you either paint around or mask out the white of the paper to serve as the white in your painting.  Painting shaded spheres is also a great way to play with color blending.

Step 1:  Draw a circle lightly in pencil by tracing around a lid or using a circle template.

Step 2:  Choose the position of your light source.  Using a round brush and leaving the highlight of the sphere unpainted, lay in a light, flat wash of color.  Here I used quinacridone magenta.  Let dry.

Step 3:  When dry, add another layer of the same color slightly smaller than the first.

Step 4:  While Step 3 is still slightly damp, lay in another similiarly-hued color over the area you painted in the previous step.  In the example, I used deep cadmiuim red.  Let dry slightly.

Step 5:  While Step 4 is still slightly damp and using the very tip of the brush, lay in a line of complimentary color on the edge opposite the light source.  Complimentary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel so here I used sap green.  Two complimentary colors mixed will yield a neutral color.  Let dry slightly and proceed to Step 6 if desired.

Step 6:  Add a small amount of dark color to bottom edge of sphere (where shadows would be the darkest.)  Here I used Payne's grey.


Anonymous said…
This is wonderful!! Thank you so much for posting it..it is very informative and helpful for those of us who are just learning.
leida said…
Being very new to watercolor painting, and wanting to learn more but in very short yet complete lessons/tuts, I found your watercolor spheres fit the bill of what I needed exactly! Thank you so very much, I have subscribed to your site as I am doing art journals also. I am off to play with my spheres!
Unknown said…
Ditto also!
xenas mommy said…
Sweet, love doing circles.I have good success using my big size squirrel brushes.I think this is good practice for artists of all levels and so relaxing.
Anonymous said…
bravo pour avoir fait le texte en français !!!!!

depuis le temps que je rêve de faire de l'aquarelle, vous me donnez un beau coup de pouce, c'est clair, bien expliqué, Bravo!
esther said…
Thank you very much for the information about how to paint. I am very news to it. Color pencil i do well but not water color. Now i understand.
Thank you very much. God Bless.
NANATO6 said…
I feel like I can actually do this. Thank you for sharing your talent!