This painting tutorial is a little bit different, but it’s still easy.
Typically I start with the medium color, then add highlights and shading, and finish with a topcoat of the base color. For this coffee cup, you start with the deepest shade and work your way up.
It’s called underpainting.
I paint on watercolor paper a lot. And I always recommend it to beginning painters, even though I work in acrylic paint. But there’s an issue – after basecoating, the paper curls.
There’s a very simple solution though . . .
Turn the painted side down and wet the unpainted side with a paintbrush. This will cause both sides of the watercolor paper to shrink fairly evenly. I still press it down with some heavy books while it dries, though.
The background is a combination of Autumn Brown & Raw Sienna. Then basecoat the cup and saucer with a deep blue. I used Ceramcoat’s Blue Velvet.
For the steam, any Ivory or light Beige will work. I used Bamboo.
Paint a 2nd coat of Bamboo and while still wet add some Bambi Brown – or any light shade of brown.
The light brown just gives some movement to the steam.
Next, add some shading under the saucer with a mixture of Autumn Brown & Dark Burnt Umber.
I didn’t want it really dark, which is why I blended the two paints.
Then, just like with the steam, wet-blend some Dark Burnt Umber along the edges of the ‘shadow’.
It’s just easier to blend while the paints are still wet. You could also use a glaze or floating medium.
Add shading with Dark Burnt Umber around all edges of the cup and saucer, a patch of shading on one side of the cup and a little bit on the saucer.
Paint a medium blue – Colonial Blue – everywhere except where you painted Dk. Burnt Umber. It may take a couple of coats, depending on how heavy you apply paint.
Next comes White. Bright white. Pure white. And if you do much painting at all, invest in a tube of artist acrylic White. You’ll save loads of time because tube acrylic covers so much better than liquid craft paint.
It’s a bit scary to put White on, but don’t worry. You’ll cover up a lot of it.
With the medium blue, cover up the White on both sides of the cup and at the back of the saucer, and just a little on either side of the main ‘stripe’ on the left of the cup.
As it dries, some of the white will still show through, but it’s okay. That’s what we want.
If it still looks a little weird to you, do this:
Prop the painting up and step back about 4 or 5 feet.
Now look at it . . .
Surprise!!! Looks pretty good, huh?
Always, always, always, step back a few feet when you’re painting. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a small piece or a huge wall mural, you have to step back to get a better perspective.
If you find yourself getting super judgmental, walk out of the room, take a few minutes . . . fold some laundry, go for a walk, empty the dishwasher, whatever! . . . and then come back and look at your painting. You’ll see it with fresh eyes, I promise!
Add some lettering if you want with a stencil, or cut out vinyl if you have a Silhouette or Cricut. Or use a photo program. Or leave it blank. I like adding words in Photoshop. Then I can change them to whatever I want, whenever I want.
But you do what you like with your own painting.
You can get the full pattern and photo tutorial here for free.