Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zin Bottle Watercolor Step-by- Step (well, sort of)

I started this wine bottle watercolor when I started the cork series. I just loved this bottle. With a name like Artist Series, and an easel on the label- I had to paint it! It is from one of our favorite Lodi wineries, M2 Wines. We belong to the Lodi Wine Club and they have a huge selection of wineries included. It is a great way to try out wines from many wineries in one place. M2 happens to be one of our favorites, but we have lots of favorites! So, the wine from the bottle was awesome, and now I got to have more fun with it by doing this watercolor. I already have my next wine bottle watercolor chosen- a bottle of Fisticuffs Cabernet from Tu Tu Wines in Napa Valley. When you see the label, you will understand why I have to paint it - I already painted the cork in my wine cork series. When I get the bottles painted, I can finally throw them away- my husband would like the empties gone already (he doesn't appreciate them as future works of art).

I took some basic color notes as I started painting, because I am not usually thinking about the details as I paint along. I started with all of the base colors
- Sap Green for the bottle, leaving light areas (I don't usually use masking fluid except on tiny white areas)
-Raw Sienna for the cork
-Thalo Red bottle top and wine stain on cork end
-Raw Sienna and Thalo Red for the skin tones and Cad Yellow pants
-Easel, Burnt Umber, and artist background- Turquoise
-corkscrew and bottle shadow Payne's Gray
I based most of the color wet-on-dry, but the shadow area was wet-on-wet as was the raw sienna background I added later to make the bottle stand out. The last steps are the details (lettering), darkest darks and highlights.
Most of the lettering on the bottle label and the cork are done in Burnt Umber, but the M2 is heavy on the Payne's Gray as is the 2007 on the end of the cork. I went back in with white gouache for the brightest pops of highlights. Cheating? Maybe, I don't really care if it gets me the result I am looking for!
I kind of got into my painting and forgot to slow down and take step by step photos- as usual. At least I took notes- I am getting better at this process! My main focus was on NOT trying to put in every little detail and to loosen up a bit. I love loose, flowing watercolors- unfortunately, I seem to lean towards tight and detailed. I need to remember sometimes that I am not creating a photo, but a watercolor. That is where the Twenty Minute Challenge will hopefully help me in the future.
Thanks for looking!


  1. Dear Sheryl,
    Thank you for sharing lovey works! Well, "too REAL (&temptation)" for me to gaze at them!! do not know I gave up wine several months ago(because of "diet". Agghhh?!) Anyway, cheerful and sensitive work. Technically, use of quash white is very interesting.
    Kind regards, Sadami

  2. Thank you so much, Sadami! Very nice words!

  3. Nicely done, Sheryl. Your wine cork and bottle series are just excellent. You have such an eye for these. I hope they do well for you xx

  4. Thanks, Pat. They are really fun for me to paint- I probably should work more on things that are more difficult to me, like people and animals! Soon...

  5. You are right Sheryl, the most difficult part to loosen up when painting. The fist time I tried Twenty Minute Challenge I broke in sweat: "A-a-a-a what I don't finish on time!!!" but later on, trying couple of them.. I feel better.

    Maybe while you paint wine bottle, wine can help to loosen ;) (joke, I don't drink at all) for me the art is better :)

    I love your bottle with the easel. Where in the world you found it!? Great choice for painting Sheryl.

    thank you very much,

  6. Irina-
    sometimes I do have a glass of wine when I am painting and it doesn't hurt. I found the bottle in Lodi California at a winery, isn't it great? I think we will both enjoy the Twenty Minute Challenge- good for practice!
    Thank you-


Thank you so much for your comments- I love to hear what you think!