My process of painting this blue vase is a good demonstration of painting in layers. I began with a simple underpainting using a palette of 9 values of burnt sienna and lead white.

Below, I’ve painted the basic local color of the vase with no detail. I painted it much lighter than it will ultimately be, since I plan on glazing it in a darker tone later. This color will show through the transparent glaze layers.

Below, I’ve glazed the background closer to its finished value so I could better judge the value of the vase.

The photo below is a little glarey, but you can still see the dark glaze on the blue vase that I added at my next session. I’ll probably darken it even more, but I don’t want to go too far yet, as I can always add another glaze, but I can’t take one away without beginning again! Into the wet glaze, I painted some opaque light paint to indicate the reflections. This method creates mysterious, blurry edges that are just what I wanted. I added a reflected light on the left side of the vase.

Below, (again, not a great photo), I have darkened the bottom of the vase with another glaze and have refined the reflections. I also worked a bit on the top edge

I’ll continue to refine and adjust the vase as I progress. Using this layered approach allows for great subtlety and nuance. The underpainting shows through here and there, unifying the image, the glazes create transparency, and the direct painting on top gives substance to the lights.