How to Paint 5 Golden Rings in Watercolor

five golden rings in watercolor

Welcome to day five of this watercolor painting challenge (or just a bit of creative fun for xmas!) As you’ve probably guessed the overarching theme is the “12 days of Christmas” and this lesson shows you how to paint a composition of “five golden rings”.

Did you ever find it odd that the song suddenly switches from birds to “golden rings” then back to birds again?

… 4 calling birds

… 5 golden rings

… 6 geese a-laying

… Etc.

It’s been suggested that these golden rings are in fact birds. They could be referring to ring-necked pheasants! Another possibility is that these were originally European goldfinches.  The modern version eventually converted these references into 5 golden rings 🙂

If you stumbled upon this lesson in the middle, you might want to check out the beginning of this challenge here

Ready? Let’s jump in…

Painting 5 golden rings in 4 easy steps 

In this composition I thought it would be fun to arrange the 5 rings “in a ring”. I positioned the five rings so they circle each other, creating a larger loop of rings. And like in the previous composition (4 calling birds) I use size to suggest some depth – the front rings are larger than the ones at the back to imply distance.

Here’s the link to the worksheet and printable sketch outline for this painting:

Try this painting for yourself ! Click the button below to download the worksheet for this painting.

And the full list of paints I used for this watercolor are as follows:

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Finally, I’ve created a special category for these tutorials which you can view here. This will provide an overview of the whole challenge.

five golden rings 4 step painting process

Step 1

As usual, print out the sketch outline then transfer the drawing to a sheet of watercolor paper. 

Step 2

Now paint the ring shapes using a warm yellow paint color (hansa yellow deep in my case). 

Notice that I left thin white highlights on the upper facing edges of the rings. Shiny objects have bright, well-defined highlights. These sparks of white paper help suggest the sheen and reflective qualities of gold. I also left a highlight on the outer facing sides of the rings.

Paint the word “FIVE” in gray, again leaving a few white highlights.

Step 3

When the first layer of paint has completely dried, use a glazing technique to paint the inner band of the rings. Painting the inner surface of the rings this way will darken the tonal values and suggest shading, improving the 3-dimensional effect of the composition. 

Note that I painted these surfaces using a graduated wash. The paint is applied in a darker mix to the left and progresses towards a lighter more diluted mix on the right. Again this variation in color intensity helps the suggestion of three dimensions.

Be careful not to paint over the white highlights!

Step 4

The last details include the words “golden rings” underneath and an array of sparkles !

I painted these radiating lines in bright pink. Like this, the colors in the finished composition contrast and produce a bright, lively overall appearance (the color harmony is complementary).

I hope you had fun!

Let me know if you’re enjoying these challenges in the comments below 🙂

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