This tutorial from Will Kemp on painting a glass of water was really cool to follow for a few reasons. One, it only uses 4 colors (black, white, yellow ochre, and burnt umber) and I’m constantly impressed by what can be done with just a few colors. Also, it’s one of those images that seems intimidating to draw and paint at first because of the reflections and distortion of light. But as you go through it bit by bit, it’s actually not that complicated. It’s just a matter of seeing all of the shiny and shadow parts as shapes, not naming them as “glass reflection” or “distorted light”.
The more of these that I do the more I really want to experiment with looser brush strokes. I like the idea of painting interesting pictures that have more personality with smudgy or messy brush strokes while maintaining realism and avoiding exaggeration.