Watercolor Still-Life: Paint Luscious Cherries | Aura Lesnjak | Skillshare

Watercolor Still-Life: Paint Luscious Cherries

Aura Lesnjak, Watercolor & Mixed Media Artist

Watercolor Still-Life: Paint Luscious Cherries

Aura Lesnjak, Watercolor & Mixed Media Artist

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8 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Introduction to the Watercolor Lesson!

    • 2. Lesson 1: Mixing Colors

    • 3. Lesson 2: Begin the First Layer

    • 4. Lesson 3: Begin the Second Layer

    • 5. Lesson 4: Begin the Stem

    • 6. Lesson 4: Final Darks Part 1

    • 7. Lesson 5: Final Darks Part 2

    • 8. Lesson 6: Shadow and Final Touches

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About This Class

Learn how to paint a realistic subject using watercolor paints and hot press paper. In this demonstration, I show you how to build layers of color (glazes) to create a rich, colorful, and vibrant painting. Using glazes not only develops bright, rich color but also helps to create a 3-dimensional effect, giving it more of a sense of realism.

This is also a project that can be painted using only a handful of colors. Using a warm and cool of each of the primary colors, any watercolor artist can be sure that their paintings will sing with color harmony!

The paints I use for this project are Daniel Smith watercolors:

  • Hansa Yellow
  • New Gamboge
  • Transparent Pyrrol Orange
  • Quinacridone Rose
  • Pthalo Blue
  • French Ultramarine


  • Fabriano Artistico Hot-Press Watercolor paper in a block

To transfer the drawing to the paper, I used graphite paper. You can also use a lightbox, however that will not work if you are using a block.

For this project, I encourage the use of the largest brush you can comfortably use. I use a synthetic size 8 and size 12 for most of the work, and a synthetic detail brush (size 1) for some of the stem detail. 

The reference photo is copyright-free and available here at www,pixabay.com

Meet Your Teacher

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Aura Lesnjak

Watercolor & Mixed Media Artist


I am a self-taught artist, and I have been making art for as long as I can remember. I have been painting in watercolors for over 20 years, and I have sold originals, prints and commissions around the world.

Although I work fluently in many mediums (watercolors, colored pencils, acrylics, oil paints, and mixed media) my art all expresses a love of color, the natural world, and (quite often) the fantastical and unexpected.

As much as I am in love with creating, I also have a passion for guiding others through the learning process, and helping them to develop skills that will enable them to show their hearts, calm their minds, and enrich their lives.

I am super excited to be sharing my projects and processes on Skillshare!

See My Tuto... See full profile

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1. Introduction to the Watercolor Lesson!: Hi, everyone. I'm or a and I am a watercolor and mixed media artist. I welcome you to the skill share class painting luscious Cherries in water color. In this tutorial, I'm gonna show you how to build layers. Using a limited color palette to achieve depth and juicy color in these Cherries, I will first show you how to mix colors and then how to paint from light to dark while preserving highlights and deepening shadows. The techniques learned in this class could be used for any subject where you want to achieve rich deep colors on hot pressed watercolor paper. This project is a good one for beginner or intermediate artists because I will show you how to build this up step by step and also using just a few colors from your watercolor toolbox . Thank you for watching. And I hope you join me in painting these luscious Cherries and water code 2. Lesson 1: Mixing Colors: to mix the colors. I'm making a lighter red shade of the Hansa yellow, which is a cool yellow with a little quinacrine own rose, which is the cool red. It will give a slightly peach tent to the lighter red color that you see on the Cherries. For the medium, I'm mixing transparent pyro orange with French ultra Marine. Those are both warm shades. So instead of getting a purple like you would expect with a red and a blue, we're going to get more of a deep brick rust color. And that's the color you can see and the darker areas of the Cherries for the darkest section in the shadows, especially at the base of the Cherries. I'm doing the same mix, just slightly more concentrated paint and a little bit more blue to really darken that deep brick color 3. Lesson 2: Begin the First Layer: I'm starting with the lightest tones gonna paint everything on the cherry except for the brightest highlights and the stem. I'm using a synthetic size eight paintbrush. You want to make sure that the brush you use is not too small and that it also holds enough water in the body of it, and you can come to a fine enough point for you to get in and do those details. - As it dries. You'll see that it looks a little bit blotchy. But don't worry, because as you glaze multiple layers of color, it just starts to really smooth out and look more realist. - Now that all the sections air painted, I'm going to go in and use a damp brush just a clean, damp brush that I went to my paper towel, and I'm going to blend those edges so they're not so hard, and they smooth more naturally into the color. I'm also going to lift a lot of the color in certain areas to help achieve that blended look 4. Lesson 3: Begin the Second Layer: I'm gonna paint with e darker brick red color, and I'm painting this on the previous dried layer. I waited for it all to dry before layer, layering this glaze on top again. I'm avoiding the highlights, - doing the same thing as before, using a damp brush to smooth some of those edges and gradually fade them into the highlight areas. I keep wiping my brush so that it doesn't continue to add paint into the area that I'm trying to smooth out. 5. Lesson 4: Begin the Stem: for the stem my mixing hansa yellow with a low blue. Those are both cool shades and a nice bright spring green color To help neutralize that some of the green and make it more of an earthy green. I'm using the the darkest mix that I made of the French ultra Marine and transparent orange that will help at a little bit of brown to the green for some of those darker, earthier areas of the stem. I'm starting with the bright spring green mix, and the Cherries have completely dried. Want to make sure they dry so doesn't bleed into the the red part of the Cherries, muscle dipping a little bit into the pure hansa yellow towards the top of the stemware that it's a little bit lighter. We love that brownish green for the shadow, especially in the the back stem on the back cherry and for the darkest shadow on the step. I'm using that pure, um, French ultra marine and viral orange mix. With a little bit of the green. They get a very rich, dark green shadow, using some of that same color on the top of the stem. This is where you'd want to use a very fine tipped medium sized brush or even a small detail brush. I'm using a damp brush to blend a little bit of that dark shadow color and even adding a little bit of my warm yellow in some areas just to give it some variety, make you look more natural. That warm yellow is new GAM bows being a little more fellow blue to that dark shadow color to really received that back stem, - Then just heading some final little details and finishing touches before we move on back to the Cherries. 6. Lesson 4: Final Darks Part 1: for the darkest layer on the Cherries. I'm just repeating the same steps as before. I'm looking carefully at my reference photo to see where those darkest areas are along the top in the very bottom, and I'm just going to use my fine tipped brush to lay this down and again avoid the highlights. It's good to go carefully and take your time here. The nice thing about hot press paper with watercolor is even if if it starts to dry a bit, you can reactivate it with water and push it around a bit where you need it to, because it does not soak into the paper the same way that it does with cold press paper. So this I'm just going to add the darkest color and probably add another layer of some of the, um, mid tone, um, cherry color and just keep bouncing out the two colors until I get it toothy look and depth of color that I want 7. Lesson 5: Final Darks Part 2: for the second Cherry. I'm pretty much just doing the same thing as with the 1st 1 laying in the dark's reverie. Stevie, Darkest darks, leaving the highlights, uh, alone and then going back in to smooth them out. And I just wanted to get to look as much like the reference photo as I wanted to, and also to match the the tones of the first cherry as closely as possible. - And when this cherry has done, the last thing to do is add the shadows and we're done. 8. Lesson 6: Shadow and Final Touches: for the very last step. I'm just balancing out some of the darks on both Cherries just really seeing where the very darkest sections are. Um, I'm the on the bottom of the Cherries and a little bit under the highlights. I was going back and forth between the two of them, just do some final touches and really enhanced the contrast between the shadow and mid tone areas. I'm also going to do a little last minute detail ing on the stem. These are some finer details I couldn't do while the stem was still wet. - And last but not least, gonna add those shadows on the bottom of this of the Cherries. I'm using the same friend shelter, marine and viral orange to make that dark mix. There's a heavier paint toe water ratio so that it's darker is this really is the darkest part of the whole image, and I don't want it to blend into the cherry and using my damn brush to blended out. And then it's all done. Thanks for watching this lesson. I wish you the best luck in trying it yourself. And I hope that this this demonstration helped you to do your own cherry painting. See, next time. Bye