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Picture Collection 2

Here is a second selection of pictures that would be suitable for watercolour. I have given a few tips and guidance should you choose to paint one of these. Click on the picture to download PDFs in colour and black-and-white.
Use the black-and-white picture to make a tracing. Remember when you trace turn the picture over scribble on the back with a soft pencil and then Blu-Tack the top left and right to hold the paper still while you trace of the image. Don't try tracing of every tiny detail the main areas and lines are the most important thing. left and right to hold the paper still while you trace of the image. Don't try tracing of every tiny detail the main areas and lines are the most important thing.
Unless you have a laser printer and can get good quality prints I suggest you use a tablet or phone to look at the colour image when painting. 
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Tea Pot


This cup of tea and teapot is a lovely exercise in exploring highlights and shadows. The teacup itself, although white in reality, has very few white areas on it. The teapot has a lovely collection of white highlights on it, be careful the round looking one on the right-hand side of the teapot is actually a reflection of the photographer’s flash, if you look at it carefully it has the appearance of an umbrella. If I was painting this picture, I would include that highlight but I would make it much less distinct. The table has a rather insipid woodgrain on it you may wish to accentuate that or even miss it out. One thing I would add to this if I was painting it would be and horizon line, horizontal across the page but not at the halfway point - I would suggest slightly higher.

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Hammer and Nails

Although this is a little bit different remember that this is just a still life painting. There is a lot of dark and light going on in this picture and to achieve the metallic colour on the hammer you will need to look carefully. Although initially you may think it is just black, white and grey there is actually a lot of colour in the hammer metal. The nails are bent and distorted, and if you are not careful will just look like black lines drawn all over your picture, each nail has tiny highlights and many of them have got shadows. Most of the shadows are soft and quite delicate, and are stronger nearest to the nail, and then soften out as they get further away. Don’t forget the shadow off the hammer.

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Creating a painting from this photograph seems very appropriate at the moment. I know a lot of you are anxious about painting pictures of people, however, most of this picture is fabric. The light and dark areas in the fabric stand out quite strongly in the photograph. The only part of this photograph I do not like is the surgeon’s hat. To me the black spoils the feel of it and if I was painting this, I would change it - possibly to a deep pastel green. The surgeon’s eyes are staring straight at you and this is important for this picture. Don’t overwork the eyes and be careful that when you paint his eyelashes that you don’t do it too heavily, or else it will look like he’s wearing eyeliner. The lights at the back are very light yellow, and the wall itself is not white and there is actually a darker grey colour than you might originally think.

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Ruined Abby

This is a fantastically atmospheric picture. It has no doubt been ‘photoshopped’ but that is no reason why we cannot use this colour scheme for our painting. The sky is the ‘star of the show’ in this picture. Use a variety of different layers to create this dark and ominous skyline. There is a wide variety of pinks and purples so don’t just use one colour: reds and blues will help you create a wide variety. You might want to make the grass at the bottom stronger in colour and take the whole picture into a different feel. 

The ruined abbey needs to be carefully traced out. It is important, because there is so much in the picture that has no structure (the sky and the grass) that the building must have some degree of structure to it. Be very careful with the dark areas. Make these as accurate as you can.

If you were feeling experimental this would be a good painting to add some different media to, for example using some oil pastels, or possibly some pen and ink.

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Coffee Shop

This photograph is reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting (if you don’t know his work well worth having a look). This photograph has the feeling that there is a story connected to it. When painting there is an awful lot of it that is very dark and an awful lot that is very light. Try and gain as much contrast as you can between these two areas. This is a painting that demands these dark and light areas, indoors and out. There is quite a lot of detail on the coffee table I would miss out the mobile phones and the cup of fruit, as I don’t think they add to the picture. The chair furthest away from you in the photograph is slightly out of focus, this is difficult to achieve in a painting, but you can try. If you don’t succeed don’t worry it will still look good. If you have masking fluid you may find it very useful for the plates and the white parts of the cups.

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Stack of pancakes

Who wouldn’t want this lovely stack of pancakes? At first glance this appears to be quite a complicated and difficult piece to paint, however, as long as you build it up using layer after layer starting with the light tones of the pancake all over, then building up to the darker tones, you should be able to achieve some very pleasing results.

The toffee sauce poured over it has a silky shine to it, judicial use of masking fluid at the shiniest parts will help you achieve this look. You may wish to miss out the pot of cream at the back, it is out of focus and this is difficult to achieve. However, you may wish to put it in and not try and make it out of focus. There are some lovely reflections in the silver surface of the container. The dusting of icing sugar over the plate and the fruit at the top is something I would personally miss off.

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What a fabulous elegant photograph this is. And this is what you should be trying to achieve in your painting. The choice of colour background in the photograph accentuates the colours in the flower. However, you could choose whatever you like. There is very strong lighting on this flower and hence very strong shadows, don’t be frightened of these, but do remember that they are a darker tone of green (add a little red into your green paint and it will darken it!). Make sure your tracing is crisp (use a good sharp pencil when drawing is out). Notice how the background is lighter at the bottom and darker towards the top. Make sure that you don’t go to dark at the top because the flower will not show.

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This is a fantastic exercise in subtlety and slowly building up layers of paint. The hills in the background seem to get paler and less distinct as they get further away. The way to achieve this is to paint all the hills in one layer then when that’s dry paint the next layer up and so on and so forth.

You may want to make the landscape that is nearest to you more suggestive than exactly the same as in the photograph. The sun streaming through the clouds at the top could be challenging, however, remember that you can use some tissue to lift off some wet paint. This may help. This is a painting that could be done as a delicate soft piece or you could decide that you are going to be more adventurous and explore bold and vivid colours.

Hopefully these photographs and suggestions will help you on your way. Have fun!

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