A Painterly Approach To Glass

How To Paint Glass Objects In Watercolor, Loose and Free

Tuesdays, November 17 – December 8, 2020 – 6  to 8 pm Eastern Time

Fee $175

This class will show you how to paint glass and reflective objects with ease. 

 Transparency and Reflections Are Much Easier Than It Seems.

Painting glass and reflective objects is easier than it seems. In this class we’ll approach the subject with a painterly, representational approach. We’ll give the medium some freedom to do some of the work and focus on the concept of simplifying – more on that in the weeks to come.

December 8, 2020 

This is the week we try to pull it all together.

Pre-class Work 

holiday ornaments in watercolor

Since we ran out of time to do the in class painting project, I’ll have you do that as part of the pre-class work for next week.  You can follow along with an online video tutorial – the link is in this weeks class email. 

This week’s in-class lesson is a complex set up of transparent and reflective objects. For pre-class work download the photo reference and use it to make several postcard size studies of the set up, focusing on small portions of the arrangement.  Also draw or trace the arrangement onto watercolor paper for our in-class project.  The paper can be either cold press or hot press – your choice. 

The paint project and pre-class studies should be emailed to me by Saturday evening for critique.  

In class

We’ll review the pre-class work, answer questions and then paint from the photo reference. 


December 1, 2020  –  This week it’s a focus on reflective, non-transparent objects

Pre-class Work

This week you’ll paint a more complex composition of reflective objects from direct observation.  Use either this photo reference or create a set up of your own reflective objects.

The first part of the process is to do small (post card size) studies focused on portions of the set up.   Follow the studies with a painting of the entire subject.  Email (tconner57@gmail.com) the studies and the painting to me by Saturday evening to be included in the class critique.

In Class

We’ll review the pre-class work and answer questions. Then we’ll work on a composition project together. Download the drawing layout and sample finished painting here.



November 24, 2020

This week we’ll bring reflections into the mix

Pre-class Work

The pre-work assignment is to do studies of reflections and transparency in simple objects.

There are two options:

1) the recommended way is to find some small objects that you can set up to paint from observation.  Choose simple objects with simple shapes.  One of them should be very reflective and light in color.  Have at least one clear glass object as well.

2) or work from this photo reference.  If you are working from this or another photo, be aware that many of the vertical sides will not appear vertical in the photo. The painting won’t look right if the objects don’t have vertical edges.  They are easy to fix – this video tutorial shows how.

Paint your composition from direct observation.  Remember that for a painterly effect, it is not necessary to map every detail, highlight and edge. Instead, allow the medium to create gradations of color and value and light brush strokes to leave behind white paper for highlights.

I’ll film and post the demonstration we didn’t get to last night.  You may also follow along that demo for a homework project as well.

Once you have completed your pre-class projects, take a photo or scan and send them to me by email – tconner57@gmail.com.  All projects that have been recieved by Saturday morning will be included in a class critique video.

In Class

We’ll review the pre-class work, the class critique and answer questions.  Then we’ll paint this composition together.  Download the drawing layout here.





November 17, 2020  – This week the focus is on showing transparency

Pre-class work

Download the Class Intro Sheet that has important concepts and info about materials for class.


Nearly everything we paint in this class is man-made and symmetrical. Getting the symmetrical part right is important, even in a loose, “painterly” work.  Using a center line will help draw the subjects.  We’ll cover that in class theis week.


Glass distorts the shapes of objects seen through. Reflective objects, whether they are transparent or not, also distort the shape of the objects reflected.  Think of carnival fun house mirrors. The distortions are useful in that they tell us something about the shape of the object – distorted edges usually follow the contours of object.


Unlike landscape and seascape subjects, our transparent and reflective objects have hard edges and hard texture. They are important in these subjects. It is not difficult to create hard edges and textures in watercolor, but it is good to balance them with softness.


Hot-Press paper – we’ll work on both Cold-Press and Hot-Press paper. Hot-press paper is a challenge to work on but has an advantage when it comes to creating hard edges and hard texture. It’s a good idea to have it available for class

White Gouache – we’ll work hard to retain spots of un-painted white paper for highlights and bright spots of reflection. Sometimes, you miss and paint over a spot that should have been left white. We’ll use white gouache to bring those spots back to life.

Paint – use whatever you have and are used to.  I work with a limited palette of colors, mostly primaries – reds, yellows and blues – and mix everything else from those.

 In Class

The key to showing transparency capturing what is seen through the object including the distortions caused by looking through glass. We’ll go over some examples, and have some follow along demos

There are two demo/paint-alongs this week. Download Layout 1 and Layout 2.



Download a comprehensive suggested watercolor materials list. Use it as a guide – no need to purchase everything on the list. Working with what you are used to will help your learning.  I’ll make suggestions for good supplementary materials during class.

Questions About the Class?

2 + 3 =

About The Instructor

Tony Conner is an accomplished watercolorist and and experienced instructor. His  energetic approach to teaching and enthusiasm for the watercolor medium are combined to create classes that are both fun and informative.  He excels at providing information and insights to individual students – meeting them where they are and helping them get to where they want to go.

Professional Memberships

  • Signature Member - New England Watercolor Society
  • Signature Member - Vermont Watercolor Societies
  • Artist Member - Salmagundi Club
  • Artist Member - North Shore Arts Association

Tony works from his studio in Bennington, Vermont.

What Other Students Say

I've take several workshops, some taught by prominent and well-known artists. Tony's was, by far, the best in it's quality, approach and teaching style. The small class formate facilitated learning.” - Jane C. , Setauket, NY

Of all the instructors I have seen, you are the most informative. Your method of teaching is so easy to follow and absorb. I wish I lived close enough to attend your classes. You are also a very patient, approachable person . All excellent, Tony!” - Catherine M. , Ontario, CN

I have learned more in this two-day workshop, than in all other watercolor classes I’ve taken” - Rita S. , MA

" Thought there was a perfect balance between theory & practice.  The points you wanted to stress were given clearly & concisely.  You are so passionate about your work.  I have come home energized & enthusiastic - which is exactly what I wanted from the workshop.  " - S. H., Saline, MI

"I've taken several watercolor workshops, some taught by prominent and well known artists. Tony's workshop was by far the best in its quality, approach, and teaching style. The small class format facilitated learning." - J. C., Setauket, NY

" Tony is a wonderful, knowledgeable teacher who shares with warmth and humor" - J. M, Astoria, NY

" Overall, the three days were amazing. I find myself looking at everything in terms of value. " - A. C., Bloomfield, NJ

"...but, Tony Conner has thought of it all, organized it perfectly, and made it fun and inspiring." - G. B., New York, NY