Stage 2 and 3
I have done the ‘poster’ (top right hand corner) and, hopefully, you can see the small fragments of colour in their respective positions – essential to show their relationship with adjacent colours and tones. It is also important that you sketch in the ’shadow map’ showing the shape created by the cast shadow.
The apple is treated in exactly the same way as the pear – starting with the darkest dark then working the adjacent colour and so on, until you arrive at the lightest light – remember always to blend the colours and tones to show the underlying ’roundness’ of the form.
The large pine-cone was first painted in as a solid dark shape – a bit scary to begin with but once you start wiping out the light parts of the scales with a small brush dipped in clean turps (wiping off the excess first) it all starts to make sense. By ‘drawing’ in the scales in this way the whole thing takes on a more realistic appearance and it also simplifies the process.
This method prevents you from getting too bogged down with the details – once you have defined the position of the individual scales you can then start painting each one – checking for the reflected or cast light/shadow and whether or not the tone is warm or cool. Take each scale individually and the task becomes more achievable.
Remember as you paint each item to include the adjoining background and foreground colours so you have a constant reference for your fruit or vase or whatever. You cannot paint the correct colour without this reference.
One other thing I am learning is to paint with larger brushes – having come from botanical water-colours I am more comfortable with tiny sable brushes but am slowly training myself to use larger brushes and to concentrate on form, colour and tone and let the fiddly details take care of themselves. For preference I use brushes by Raphael – series 8772 ‘Kevrin’ (a natural hair) in a shape known here in France as ‘langue du chat’ – more forgiving than a blunt square but less fiddly than the fine point.
First posted April 16th 2010