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Small Beer

Setting Up

To set up for this painting, I put a sheet of white paper on a larger sheet of blue-black paper. Then I placed a small glass by a corner of the white sheet and poured in some beer, till the glass was half-full. The beer was a dark ruby ale; I forget which brand. In the glass, it had a thin, cream-coloured head of foam on top. When I shone a light on the set-up from the top right, this produced red tints in the ale and created an interesting, purplish shadow.

How I painted Small Beer

I painted the shadow first, using a mixture of French Ultramarine, Ultramarine Violet and Neutral Tint. When the paint was dry, I fuzzed the shadow’s edges with a soft, flat brush dipped into clean water. Next I added the background, switching from Blue Black on the left to Payne’s Grey on the right. (Despite the name, Payne’s Grey is a dark blue.) For the glass, I was careful to preserve white highlights and worked from top to bottom. I’d figured out that the creams and browns in the froth, and the ruby-red glints in the dark beer, would be crucial to the painting. Along with the shadow, they were what I needed to give an unremarkable glass of beer a boost, a bit of artistic character. And I’d say that’s pretty much how things turned out.

The title

Since there wasn’t much beer in the glass, and the glass wasn’t big, Small Beer seemed the obvious title.


I finished by drinking the beer. I hate to see things go to waste.

Would you like to buy this painting?

This original watercolour painting is available for sale, unframed. Terms and Conditions apply.


The size is 5 x 7 inches, or 13 x 18 centimetres.


The materials are Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolours on Daler & Rowney 140lb (300gsm) Langton Prestige Cold Pressed (Not) watercolour paper, which is a professional-quality paper.


The price is UK £50.00.

For currency conversion, you might like to try the Valuta converter, which has most currencies: click here.

I’m prepared to sell this painting not just to buyers in the UK, but also to residents of the following countries*: Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America.

There’s no extra charge for shipping (postage and packing), but remember, the painting will be unframed. It’s up to you as the buyer to get it framed the way you want it.

*To the best of my knowledge, none of these countries will charge import duty on the painting.


I accept payment via PayPal only. Don’t worry if you don’t have a PayPal account, because PayPal allows customers to pay with a debit or credit card.

So, if you’re ready to buy now, here’s the button to press:



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