Tips on Painting Glass Bottles

The Glass Bottle series I have been painting has gotten a lot of interest and I have received a lot of questions. I hope this post will help answer them for you.

1.”Where do I find the bottles??”

I found the ones I use at Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Tree, flea markets and antique stores. Mine are about 4 to 6 inches tall. Some are taller. I like to group them in various sizes but I don’t like a wide variance in height. I do like having odd shapes to arrange and of course, the wonderful different colors.

2. “How do I do My Set Up?”

Someone wrote me and asked how I did the set up for the bottles. I taped together 2 pieces of white foam core to make a “box” of sorts. I used white so that the color would bounce off the white and create beautiful luminous reflections. Here’s what that looks like:

I like natural light from my windows. Using this “box” allows me to move the “box” around to get the right angle of sunlight to produce the reflections I am looking for. I take photos from different angles and hold my camera at different levels to get interesting shots. I like the afternoon sun the best. The shadows get longer as the angle of the sun changes. That said, you can also set up lights to take your pictures. Particularly if it’s a cloudy day. Be sure and take “lots” of photos. You never know what great shots you will get.

After I finish taking the photos, I put them in my computer and take a good look at them to see which ones I like. I can also crop them to get a good composition. I paint more of the bottles than I think I will need and then that gives me the option to change the crop later on.

3.”What Pastels and Paper do you use?”

I am using UArt 400 paper. It has a lot of tooth and takes a lot of pastel!! I am enjoying working on it.

I recommend 3 kinds of pastels that allow me to paint a complete range of color and value. I use NuPastels for the initial layers and highly recommend the whole set. They go on sale at Christmas and you can get a really good buy on them at Blick. (I am not an affiliate of Blick but I get most of my art supplies there ☺)

Secondly as we build layers of pastel, we need to use softer ones. I love Unison’s Assorted Set of 72 but they are costly. (I got mine on sale at Christmas and love them) but I also found the Mungyo pastels at Amazon. Mugyo Pastels are comparable to Unison pastels. An assorted set of 30 cost me just over $40 and I LOVE them . They are a little softer than  the Unisons but they are vibrant and this set has a little of everything in it!

Lastly, I use Sennelier Soft Pastels for the final POP of light. I have attached a photo of that as well that I purchased on Amazon for under $50. Theses are not a “must have”,  but a nice to have if your budget allows.  These are half sticks which are easy to hold and use.

I also use assorted Pastel Pencils from CarbOthello and Conte  to neaten up edges and do my initial drawings.

If you have questions or comments, leave them below or post them on Face Book at Kay Witt Fine Art. I would love to hear from you.

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