Introduction to Hyperrealist Watercolor Painting Techniques: Creating Photorealist Works

This watercolor painting class shatters the misconception that the watercolor medium is too elusive or transparent for the bold and detailed surface quality of super realist painting. Students will learn the techniques to create hyperreal or photo-realist paintings in watercolor.

Instructor and expert hyperrealist watercolorist, John Bayalis, will demonstrate watercolor painting techniques and provide each student individual critiques of their completed work.

Join John Bayalis for this unique online learning experience! Artists should have a solid drawing foundation before taking this intermediate to advanced level course.

Start Date:

October 7, 2014



Course Materials (included in tuition):

Workshop Length:

4 weeks


John Bayalis (bio)

View Course Schedule


What You’ll Learn

  • Using essential watercolor tools and materials
  • Watercolor painting tips for using and creating reference photos as sources for artwork
  • Basic watercolor information and techniques

Who should take this workshop:

  • Artists new to watercolor painting and seeking an introduction to the use of watercolor for realist work
  • Experienced watercolor painters who want to explore and experience production of hyperrealistic paintings


  • The best you can find; 100% rag at least 140 lb weight (300 if possible)
  • Instructor recommends Arches hot pressed surface, 3-5 full sheets 30” x 22″


  • A quality brand of WC paint and must be tubes (eg, Winsor Newton, Grumbacher, and Holbein)
  • Color selection recommended:
  • Cadmium yellow light, cadmium yellow deep
  • Pthalo blue (Prussian blue), cerulean blue, manganese blue, ultramarine blue
  • Cadmium red light (vermillion), alizarin crimson
  • Pthalo green, hooker’s green light, permanent green, cadmium yellow green
  • Sepia umber, burnt umber, yellow ochre, burnt sienna
  • Permanent violet, permanent rose or opera rose permanent (bright pink)
  • Chinese or gouache white (opaque white for special effects)
  • Also option to use Ivory black


  • Bring a full complement of your preferred brushes
  • Instructor recommends an oval wash brush 1 ½” – 2”
  • A soft 3-4” flat brush is also nice to have for over washes
  • A variety of pointed brushes sizes 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1
  • Synthetic sable brushes are fine or if you prefer red sable brushes
  • Please bring some old/shop worn brushes for texture and scumbling techniques; this will preserve your better brushes points and shape

Additional supplies:

  • A painting board, smooth plywood or masonite at least 18” by 24”
  • Masking tape, drawing pencils HB and softer 2-3B leads, water containers & paper towels
  • Masking solution (Grumbacher Misket is one example)
  • Xacto knife for scratch out technique
  • Small palette knife for mixing colors
  • Old toothbrushes and scrub brushes for splattering


  • You will need an ink jet computer printer to printout the subject sources for each assignment; photo sources assignments will be provided by the instructor
  • All assignments must be submitted through the Blackboard System for evaluation
  • To expedite responses to questions, contact the instructor via e-mail

Course Syllabuswdu-REGISTERNOW.fw

Preliminary Reading Assignment:

  • Pages 11-35, “Getting Started”
  • It is recommended that you read this introduction to materials and supplies initially.


Reading Assignment:
  • Pages 37-53, “Light and Color”
  • Discussion of painting materials you will use specific to this course
  • Understanding watercolor pigments.
Points of emphasis: Pigments particular to watercolor paint, color intensity, emphasizing use of complimentary colors, using neutral values w/o black, permanence and luminosity, use of white..
Homework (3 Exercises):
EXERCISE 1: Create color chart
  • Purpose of exercise: Understanding the color hues and range of values of your watercolor paints is particularly important in producing super realist paintings as the color choices must be very accurate
  • The best way of identifying the watercolor pigments is to do this exercise.


  • Create three-dimensional spheres by using complimentary colors
  • See page 54 of book for some suggestions of possible gray tones to use for shadow areas
  • Purpose of exercise: Experience the technique of using watercolor to create rounded, 3-D forms


  • Watercolor painting of cat-eye marbles

.Points of emphasis: Working with a simple background and create lifelike images of cat-eye marbles that will appear to be able to be lifted off the page. Learn to use a trace transfer process and practice using a masking solution..



Reading Assignment:

  • Pages 80-125, “Painting Practice”

.Points of emphasis: Learning to work from a source photograph to produce a life like still life painting with using a background of a printed newspaper. Integrate objects (marbles) into the composition and create the textural differences represented in the source photo..

Homework: This exercise will involve working from a digital photograph to produce a photo realist still life painting.

Reading Assignment:

  • Pages 70-79, “Creating Backgrounds”

.Points of emphasis: Use of natural tones to produce lifelike shells, creating a textural background for sand and producing a super realist nature study..

Homework: This painting exercise will involve working from a digital source photograph to produce a realist nature study.
Reading Assignment:

  • Pages 54-69, “Techniques for Painting”.
Points of emphasis: Use of a full range of color full intensity where necessary, creating reflections and shine on a surface in watercolor and producing a realistic lighting effect in a natural light..

Homework: This painting exercise will involve working from a digital photograph of an automobile to depict reflective surfaces.

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