Laurin McCracken: Step-by-Step Watercolor Technique

April 20, 2021

The Process of Creating 2 Yellow and 1 Red on Foil 20″ x 26″


Step 1. The photograph of the still life of two yellow pears and one red pear on aluminum foil.

Step 2. The drawing – This was done in 2h Lead, therefore this image has been made very high contrast to show detail

Step 3. Wetting the brush – The start of the painting




4. The Pears have received their basic color washes, detail will be added last 5. Masking the highlights in the foil with Daniel Smith Artist Masking Fluid, here you can see that I paint from a large photo 6. Painting the foil – “Inch by Inch”, I cut the photo into pieces so I can get it close to the area I am painting



7. The first foil emerges behind the pears, I remove the masking fluid as soon as possible to prevent any damage to the paper 8. The foil marching around the pears, showing the masking of the next section to be painted 9. I am laying in the colors that are under the primary reflections10. The foil has wrapped all the way around the pears



10. The foil has wrapped all the way around the pears 11. The folds in the foil are painted using the classic “British Two-brush” technique 12. This is the under-painting of the background with the refection of the pear, note the masking of the other reflections under the foil



13. I masked the pears with light-weight tracing paper to protect them while I paint the background, here I have laid on the black in one layer of thick wash 14. I have removed the tracing paper mask and painted the reflections under the foil by lifting in some areas and blending the masked highlights into the shadows 15. Adding the finishing touches, such as the bruises to the pears



16. The finished painting: “2 Yellow 1 Red on Foil”



Laurin McCracken


Laurin McCracken has put the skills learned over the years as an architect, drawing, photographing, and observing into use as a watercolorist.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University and a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University.



We would like to thank our friends at Daniel Smith for providing us with this wonderful tutorial.