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To The Roots: A Watercolor Still-Life Of Beets

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Step 3: Layering Colors For Colorful Beets


About 10 minutes before painting, spray your paints with the same spray bottle to prepare them for use. You can also refer to your thumbnail sketch for determining values while mixing your colors for this watercolor still-life.

Once the paints have softened, start with the no. 12 rigger brush, and wet the purple and red beets with clean water. This is in preparation for the “wet-on-wet” technique. Next, switch to a smaller no. 10 rigger, and drop in Cerulean Blue as an undertone for both these beets. Make sure to paint around the highlights!

Add a mixture of Permanent Mauve and Cobalt Violet Light to the purple beet, and lift out puddles with a wiped-off brush. Add Permanent Carmine for the red beet, and work while the paper is wet to get softer blends. Layer some Mineral Violet for the purple beet again, and paint in a little ridging along the tail of the root. For shadows, drop in Indigo. Be careful not to make the colors too muddy while layering!

Mix Cobalt Blue Hue and Permanent Carmine, and use this for the red beet’s shadows. Add Cadmium Red Purple on top of the lighter areas, and soften the edges around the highlights.

Go back to the Indigo and add a touch of Cadmium Red Purple for stronger shadows on the red beet. Watercolor is a transparent medium, which is why you need to build up several layers for it to have more depth. It will also help create a glowing effect, especially when done right.