I was inspired recently by another artist on facebook who paints close up fruit paintings. I love the deep colors in fruit and since I'm a bright color watercolor artist, I thought I should try my hand at it! I'm so ADHD with art. Every time I see something, I want to try my hand at my own version of it. I see a painting of a horse and I'm like, "ooh! a horse! Great idea!"....then two seconds later, I'm distracted by a squirrel painting or a strawberry.
It's exhausting being so interested in painting EVERYTHING.
Anyhow, back to the fruit...I had never really painted a close up painting of detailed fruit...I don't think I have. I can't remember. Here are the photos and step by step instruction.
Just set up your own fruit still life with a strong light source and have at it! I actually set this fruit on my white gator board in some bright sunshine.
Step one, mask all of those annoying little seeds on the strawberry and any highlights on the fruit. Try not to just mask circles for the light, but make different shapes. In the end, you'll take the masking fluid off and you don't want all of these perfect little circles for the highlights. It'll be too distracting.
I wet the whole strawberry and added a lot of pigment. I used alizarin crimson and scarlett to get the right shade, with a little bit of french ultramarine blue for the shadows on the sides. I tried to keep the pigment lighter towards the highlight on the berry.
I also wet the whole lemon and added my first wash of yellows and blues to it, keeping the pigment lighter toward the highlight.
Step two! Wet the whole grape and using a mixtures of blues, reds and purples and a number 3 round, paint on your first wash. Study your subject closely to see where the shadows and light is.
I used a mixture of hookers green, viridian green and touched on burnt sienna on the leaves of the strawberry.
All of the fruit will need more than one wash to get the depth of color that we are shooting for.
Moving along! Here, I'm putting another wash on the lemons with a dash of salt just for interest. I've started on the shadows, and I'm letting the grapes dry before I finish all of the grapes so that the colors don't run together.
One of the biggest mistakes that my students make is to not allow your painting to fully dry between washes. A fully dry painting should be flat and completely dry to the touch. I sometimes use a blow dryer, but if you've used a lot of water, it might need to dry overnight.
As you can see here, I'm finishing up on the grapes on the left and still working on the bunch of grapes. I've also deepened the cut strawberry's color and added another wash to the strawberries. At this stage, it's all about your observational skills....period. What are you seeing? What shapes do you see in the shadows and highlights. Study your subject closely and paint what you see, not what you THINK you see.
I'm in the final stages here. Once I take the masking fluid off, I'll touch a bit of yellow into the seeds with a dark brown highlight to make the seeds pop. As you can see, I've softened some of the highlights on the grapes. Can you tell which grape isn't softened yet? I also like to soften the edges of the fruit because the softer edges recede, giving the fruit a 3-D effect of popping off of the page. I love that!
This pic gives you the perspective of the size of the painting. All in all, I really enjoyed painting fruit and I'm sure I'll tackle another project soon. I hope that this has been useful to you!
What fruit project are you going to try? Just buy some fruit, set it in some sunshine or bright light and have at it!
Feel free to ask questions!
I'm a wife and mother of four kids. I homeschool, paint, run, and garden! I am always interested in digging truths out of Scripture. Here, you'll find my thoughts on art, adoption, gardening, mothering, homeschooling, books and whatever else is on my mind. Enjoy!
Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo. -J. Cheane