B'EST BAR, watercolor painting by Giovanni Balzarani, 76 x 56 cm, using DANIEL SMITH watercolors. Composition of the bar of Hard Rock Café Budapest (Hungary) - 2019

I am very honored to have the chance to explain here in my step by step article, my watercolor techniques, and my DANIEL SMITH color mixes for my study of the light.  

I really like the reflections on glass bottles, it is a long time that I study this kind of subject. In this case I was dining at the Hard Rock Café in Budapest, during the International Watercolor Mail Art Exhibition, and while I was walking in front of the bar, the cold light hit me hard as it bounded cleanly from every reflection. I immediately thought to shoot some photographs in order to develop a watercolor in the future.

The complexity of this subject is not only about the reflection but the three-dimensionality of the various surfaces.

Giovanni Balzarani painting his "B'EST BAR" watercolor.
Giovanni Balzarani painting his “B’EST BAR” watercolor.


My Painting Process

The paper I have chosen for this painting is a soft press, extra white watercolor paper, 640gsm (300lb) – full sheet, 76x56cm.

Giovanni Balzarani working on the ceiling lights contour, with DANIEL SMITH French Ultramarine + Wisteria + Lavender watercolors.
Working on the ceiling lights contour, with French Ultramarine + Wisteria + Lavender watercolors.

After transferring the drawing with a 5B pencil (I use this to have a bold line, the drawing is essential because I need to transfer all possible lines onto the paper) I started to work on the ceiling lights contour, with French Ultramarine + Wisteria + Lavender, to reproduce the LED lamp halo.


Giovanni Balzarani adding a base of DANIEL SMITH Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light to paint the coffered ceiling background.
Adding a base of Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light.

I have painted a base of Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light to paint the coffered ceiling background, in order to give the final effect of the light reflection on the wood.


Color mix of DANIEL SMITH Hansa Yellow Deep + French Ultramarine + Manganese Blue Hue + Cerulean Blue watercolors, giving a greenish reflection. As final glaze I added Van Dyck Brown so to highlight all the lamps. - Giovanni Balzarani.
Color mix of Hansa Yellow Deep + French Ultramarine + Manganese Blue Hue + Cerulean Blue watercolors. Final glaze with Van Dyck Brown.

To paint the coffer, after the yellow base, I mixed again Hansa Yellow Deep + French Ultramarine + Manganese Blue Hue + Cerulean Blue, giving a greenish reflection. As a final glaze I added Van Dyck Brown so to highlight all the lamps.


I have done the restaurant's wall background out of focus. -Giovanni Balzarani
I have done the restaurant’s wall background out of focus.

Before going on with the bottles, in the various plans (layers), I have done the restaurant’s wall background, all out of focus, representing in this way the eye of the camera.


For dark tones, my most used mix is DANIEL SMITH Van Dyck Brown + Neutral Tint + French Ultramarine + Mayan Blue Genuine + Mayan Dark Blue watercolors. -Giovanni Balzarani
For dark tones, my most used mix is Van Dyck Brown + Neutral Tint + French Ultramarine + Mayan Blue Genuine + Mayan Dark Blue watercolors.

For dark tones I have tested various mix of colours, often avoiding the use of the ready black; most used mix is Van Dyck Brown + Neutral Tint + French Ultramarine + Mayan Blue Genuine + Mayan Dark Blue.

I start from left to right for all of this part of the painting. -Giovanni Balzarani
From left to right for all of this part of the painting.

Next steps are the bottles, painted one by one, ending piece by piece, bottle by bottle. I start from left to right for all of this part of the painting. This process is the most complex because I must already paint the final light of the object without making the contour done.


For warm tones, I have made yellow glazes with DANIEL SMITH Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light, and then a mix of Quinacridone Gold + Quinacridone Sienna and Pyrrol Orange watercolors for the first glaze of red tone. -Giovanni Balzarani
For warm tones, I have made yellow glazes with Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light, also a mix of Quinacridone Gold + Quinacridone Sienna and Pyrrol Orange.

For warm tones, I have made yellow glazes for the base with Hansa Yellow Deep + Raw Sienna Light, and then a mix of Quinacridone Gold + Quinacridone Sienna and Pyrrol Orange for the first glaze of red tone.

Quinacridone Gold is a wonderful base for the next glazes of reds, because of its reflective glow.

Dark color on light colors: I have always used Van Dyck Brown, at a minimum percentage, and Quinacridone Gold, as you should be able to see on the Southern Comfort and Grand Marnier bottles at their first glaze.

The prevalent mix was DANIEL SMITH Naples Yellow + Titanium White + 1% Ultramarine Blue, creating that light greyness traceable a little to Buff Titanium watercolor. -Giovanni Balzarani
The prevalent mix was Naples Yellow + Titanium White + 1% Ultramarine Blue, and a little Buff Titanium.

For the light and transparent bottles that characterize all the right side of the painting, the prevalent mix was Naples Yellow + Titanium White + 1% Ultramarine Blue, and creating that light greyness, is a little Buff Titanium.

The use of extra white paper has helped the work very much on light tones giving them a lot of light.

Giovanni Balzarani working on his painting "B'EST BAR" using DANIEL SMITH Watercolors
Nearly finished working on “B’EST BAR”

The most intricate (complex) work for such a composition is not about the enormous quantity of details, but about the shadows creating of all the colour tones that are there, mostly on white, because their tone percentage is almost nonexistent. Creation of such shadows creates, in turn, three-dimensionality and volume to each object.

"B'EST BAR", watercolor painting by Giovanni Balzarani using DANIEL SMITH Watercolors. Subject was the bar of Hard Rock Café Budapest (Hungary) - 2019
“B’EST BAR” by Giovanni Balzarani

Why I choose DANIEL SMITH Watercolors:

DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolors represent for me the purity and that brilliance that a color has to have.

Their smoothness, quality and softness allow me, as an artist, to push beyond my limits.

My artist’s hand (the pilot) and DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolor (the vehicle) create that binomial that makes the mind open to new experiences, new lines, and new and unimaginable sensations. Their brightness makes them unique in their genre.

I really enjoy using these impressive watercolors because they allow me to find an infinite line of experimentation and, at the same time, make me that creator of works that I did not imagine before I could paint.

The dot card shows my useful colors for my still life paintings, the base to start mixing and explore a new concept of painting.

-Giovanni Balzarani, NWS, InArte

Giovanni Balzarani's watercolor palette with DANIEL SMITH Watercolros and Giovanni's Dot Card
Giovanni Balzarani’s watercolor palette with DANIEL SMITH Watercolors and Giovanni’s Dot Card
Giovanni Balzarani's DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Dot Card palette of colors

MY DANIEL SMITH PALETTE

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ABOUT

Giovanni Balzarani portrait photo

Giovanni Balzarani is an Italian painter. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 2003; for 10 years he worked as a restorer.

Giovanni has been painting watercolor since he was 9 years old, then he explored other painting techniques in his artistic studies, winning local national recognition, but only recently he has joined the watercolour international scene, where he has started to collect appreciations and awards.

He is a member of InArte Fabriano and, since 2017, the Italy Country Community Leader for the Fabriano In Acquarello International Watercolor Festival; he is also member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS).

His work is mainly focused on still life in the hyper-realistic style, influenced by Pop-art and Photorealism artists such as Andy Warhol, Ralph Goings and Chuck Close.

His painting style is always gentle, and his main subject is glass and metal objects of the modern daily life.

He lives, works and paints in Latina (near Rome).

Giovanni Balzarani with his watercolor painting, "B'EST BAR"
Giovanni Balzarani with his watercolor painting, “B’EST BAR”

DANIEL SMITH Artist Feature:  Giovanni Balzarani