Part 2 Project 2 Exercise 3 – Still life with natural objects

We are asked to assemble a group of natural objects, choosing simple forms rather than complex ones, one or two objects.     Due to lockdown, we had not done a grocery shop for a while and our stocks of fresh fruits and vegetables was low.  I did a few tonal studies from a couple of motley overripe apples we had laying about. 

Pitt brush pen and water brush – apples

I looked at a spray of flowers that were all that remained of my mother’s day arrangement and did a quick sketch of those that I’d placed on a saucer.   I liked the idea of this but the medium I chose to do the tonal sketch (Pitt brush pen and water brush) proved difficult to get the detail down correctly and I got a bit frustrated with it.   

Pitt brush pen and water brush – flower spray on plate

Next I found some limpet shells that we had in the bathroom and thought they might work but again found them difficult to draw with the brush pen.   

Pitt brush pen and water brush – limpet shells on plate
Pitt brush pen and water brush/pencil – small shell

I did a tone study of bell peppers from a web-obtained picture. 

Pitt brush pen and water brush – bell peppers (from web-image)

Eventually after we’d purchased some supplies, I decided to try and arrangement of choc-nut donuts and a mandarin orange, as I liked the difference in the textures of the foods, as well as the colours.  I did a few composition ideas in my sketchbook.

Eventually I decided to look at a zoomed in view, focusing mainly on the texture of the orange. I was going to look at oils but decided after doing a light pencil sketch on mixed media paper (again slightly larger than A4) that watercolour may be the better medium to use, as I knew I would have to do a lot of layering of colours to get the depth of tones in the orange.

I used a portable set of pan watercolours for this little painting. Blending most of the colours to get various shades of rich purple/blue for the shadow beneath the donuts and a variegated wash of this purple/blue in the shadow around the orange on the white plate.     I used many different washes to build up the orange, including a brown made from purple and yellow.  I dotted a couple of tiny pricks of white as highlights on the donuts and orange.    The orange does tend to appear as if it’s floating on the plate, I think this is an unusual optical effect.

Pan Watercolours ‘Mandarin orange and choc-nut donuts’ +-A4 mixed media paper

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