Dante’s Inferno Canto III (106-108) Unmade Souls 2015


The Divine Comedy Canto 3 (106-108) Unmade Souls (Painting in Process)

Virgil and Dante start on their journey through the ante-inferno where those who looked the other way and the cowardly mingle with the neutral angels on the Acheron riverside desiring to cross over. Charon sees Dante and Virgil and tells them to find another way across the Acheron River.

Three Still Life Watercolors

Vibrant color and immediacy is what I like the most about the watercolor medium.  consistent practice is important whether inspired or not.

Vase 1a

I start with the idea of putting the exact shape and color.

 I use a grid here to keep my parallel lines parallel. I paint little pieces at a time so I can transfer the color and shape exactly as I see it.

Vase 1b

I work around the paper always going to a blank part on the paper instead of building up any one area.

I want the painting to have balance, so work on different areas going to opposite places on the paper and touching the corners as well.

Vase 1c

Since I used an a la prima technique, I stopped when the surface of the paper was covered.

I was happy with how it turned out, so I did two more water colors the same day.

Vase 2a

I started out with a diamond grid.

Even though I wanted to use the same exact technique, I didn’t.  I painted larger areas and didn’t work around the paper.  The left side is too heavy for starting off.

Vase 2b

Finished Watercolor

Since it was too heavy on the left side, I automatically tried to balance it out by making the right side heavy too. I finished quickly to start again.

Vase 3a

Started out with my favorite part.

 I focused on the flower and built around it, trying not to fill in large areas to start with.

Vase 3b

Working around the paper.

I wanted to give the same importance to every object but I got hung up on the white rose and gave it too much attention neglecting the glass work.

Vase 3c

Finished Watercolor

No matter how many times I paint this motif, there is always something new and different in each flower and reflection.

Red Roses in Blue Glass Vase 2015

This blue glass vase is one of my favorite glass works to paint.  I got it at a second-hand store for five dollars.  Maybe the previous owner will see it in a watercolor one day.  In this post, I’m going to show the phases in making Red Roses in Blue Glass Vase.

Starting out lightly

First, I look at what I’m going to paint and think about fitting it in the picture plane. I’m starting out lightly directly with paint.

Light Wash

Here, I continue lightly, making sure everything fits in the picture plane since  I didn’t start with a preliminary drawing.

Painting around the Paper

After I figure out where the model goes on the picture plane, I start building up more color and shape around it, only painting what I see.

Building up Detail

Here I start building up detail around what has already been painted. I don’t re-paint or put more layers where it has already been painted. I just keep on working around the paper to keep balance in check.


At this point, I’m looking for contrasting colors, but still, I’m only painting the colors, shapes and forms that I see.

Finishing up

I’m finishing up here, looking for more contrast so that the glass vase reflected in the mirror doesn’t get lost in the printed material in the background.

Red Roses in Blue Vase 2015

Red Roses in Blue Vase 2015 – Watercolor on Arches 640 GMS – 22″ x 16″ – 56 cm x 58 cm

Model for Red Roses in Blue Vase 2015

Here is the model for Red Roses in Blue Glass Vase 2015