A few months ago one of my blogging buddies – Kelly of Eclectically Vintage – asked me if I’d be interested in doing a painting of her vintage Pyrex bowls. (Hop over to Eclectically Vintage to grab a FREE printable of this painting!)
I was thrilled to say yes, however I knew the bowls with the popular pattern, “Butter Print”, would pose a challenge. First off, I was unfamiliar with the design so I needed to google the pattern so I could see the details and found great photos.
Then I made a questionable decision of painting the bowls with watercolors. Very questionable, since I’d probably done about 3 watercolors at the time, with no clue how I was going to get an opaque white pattern on the turquoise bowls. Oh, I’ll just figure it out later. Famous last words.
Now, keep in mind, this is NOT a tutorial. As I’ve said recently, I’m not quite ready to offer watercolor tutorials. I’m still figuring out different methods and techniques so every painting is truly an experiment.
Watercolor basecoat with highlights of bowls
I frequently google other artists’ work to get an idea of strokes, etc., so I googled “Pyrex Butter Print Watercolors”. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
I widened the search with “Pyrex Watercolors” and found an, um, interesting array of paintings. None in Butter Print, but a few nice Pyrex paintings. Except for the fact that they’re being sold on a major handmade site that doesn’t ‘allow’ trademark infringement. sigh. Happens all the time, but to be fair, it is a huge site.
Freehand sketch of ‘Butter Print’ pattern on top white bowl
I will say that after seeing the paintings out there I decided to really try to make this an illustration rather than just a watercolor, thus the title ‘Vintage Pyrex Watercolor Illustration.’ Illustrations are typically more realistic than other paintings.
Outline with Tombow marker, then blended, to define bowl
But that’s how I taught myself to paint with acrylics so I’m comfortable with it.
Fill in pattern with Tombow marker then blend with water to lighten
Wait a minute, I should say that I’m usually comfortable with it. Painting a commission comes with its own stress. Add in an intricate pattern that you have no idea how to paint and you soon realize that with watercolors you can’t simply paint out your mistakes like you can with acrylics.
I thought about it though. Believe me, this almost became an acrylic painting after the first bowl.
Especially when you’re trying to figure out how to get white on turquoise in watercolors. Um . . . you can’t. Or I couldn’t.
I tried white gel pens. Nope. I tried white pastel pencils. Huh-uh. I finally resorted to a fine, fine brush with white acrylic . . . and still had to paint 2 coats to make it bright enough.
(I’m happy to say Sakura just sent me some white gel pens especially made for these projects. Yay!)
Another issue is that these are curved bowls, not a flat surface. Meaning the pattern shouldn’t appear to be straight across.
You can see in this photo how light one coat of white paint is.
Eventually I was pretty happy with it. Kelly was very happy, which is the main thing.
It’s so interesting to see how much I’ve learned about watercolors over the past few months since painting this. I’m not only doing watercolor pet portraits now, I’m also creating an entire line of watercolor clip art for people to make their own printables and web designs. Those will be in my Etsy shop in a few days. I’ll share them here too.
Make sure you head over to Eclectically Vintage to grab Kelly’s printable. I can’t wait to see what she did with it. For those of you who love retro and vintage, this will be a great addition to your home . . . or maybe even a Christmas present?
Are you a Pyrex collector? Which pattern is your favorite?