Summer is the time of year when we live on fruit salads. If we get ambitious, maybe a pie, tart, galette . . . you get the picture. The prompt of “fruits” is perfect for the middle of July, the month of #WorldWatercolorMonth2019.
This year looks like it will be a really good year for our fig tree, a Brown Turkey. We used to have a Kadota, which is a lovely green fruit, and a perfect foil for the Brown Turkey, which are a deep purply-brown color. Figs are something I look forward to every year, to just walk out to the tree and enjoy a sweet treat . . .
Besides anticipating figs, we have also enjoyed grapes and apricots this season. Cherries, nectarines, melons, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries. Abundance!
The first painting is not quite where I want it to be. I was focusing on contrast and shadows to separate one piece of fruit from another. The same for the grapes and apricots, which is a bit more successful although I am not quite pleased with it because I think it is a bit overworked. It’s interesting how I feel pretty good about some things – more confident – and less so with others. I guess we all do.
Given my frustration with painting grapes the other day, I decided to look at some YouTube watercolor videos on painting the highlights and shadows of spherical objects. I found two which I really liked, and the result is I did a number of studies, as can be seen below. Techniques include both wet-in-wet, glazing, and a few others.
The purple balls were done with glazing; the shadows were wet-in-wet. Here and there I went in with a damp brush to soften the edges of the shadows in the grapes, or to blur paint over areas which seemed weird. Not too bad, but I do not find glazing appealing; it may be I need to improve my glazing technique.
These orange goodies are preludes to a potential painting of oranges. The one on the right was done first, but as the ink was bleeding – it was ordinary fountain pen ink – I moved on to the one on the left, which is drawn with Sailor’s Carbon Ink. I like the on the left quite a bit – the bleed into the shadow, as well as the colors themselves, which are Hansa Yellow, Pyrrol Orange, and Organic Vermilion. The brush I used was a large one, a Cosmotop 14, and the paper was the Canson pad of watercolor paper (not the Montval).
And a day of learning. I did four watercolors without lines. The first two were sketched in with pencil; the last two were done freehand, relying on imagination and the precepts of sumi-e, where lines are not drawn.
In each painting, something works, and in each painting there are places of failure. What I failed at was separating various areas from the neighboring shape or shadow. Some areas appear rather painterly. I still have a long way to go – but at least, at last, there are no lines.
Paper is Canson’s watercolor paper, and colors include quinacridone yellow, cobalt teal, carbazole violet, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, Hooker’s green, alizarin crimson, Payne’s grey, and a few others.