Insensitive Observation of Still Life Art
|How to Paint Grapes|
Perceiving objects in symbolic and idealized ways and reflecting this in the painting. For example, grapes are small round objects, often found in bunches, that are either green or maroon in colour. A white dot can be used to suggest a highlight and a dark crescent for the darks.
Working in alla prima (in one paint layer), may not permit the artist the scope to make small modifications to the grape painting necessary to capture the essence of pectin or similar subtle effects.
Making do with cheap oil painting materials such as inferior brushes for exacting processes, or not having sufficient colours in the palette to attain the subtle colour mixes needed for specific purposes.
Subtle Effects for Still Life
Painting fruit and observing other still life artists’ work will inevitably raise visual awareness, which will in turn cause the artist to critically anaylise past paintings and perhaps feel dissatisfaction. This is a good sign, as the artist is beginning to see things in a more sensitive way. The following method can be used to suggest pectin on fruit.
How to Paint Pectin on Grapes
Photographs with high resolution of grapes are essential for detail. If painting grapes from life, keep the grapes in the fridge between painting sessions to keep them fresh. As with most painting techniques, work from the basic to the particular. Simplify the grapes into basic tones and shapes and record them onto the painting surface. Render the grapes as though without pectin, but see beyond it to the colour beneath. Use a little linseed oil to achieve a flat glaze. Brush out ridges and troughs. Allow this initial paint layer to dry.
Lightly “scumble” the paint over the grapes concerned. Don’t apply the paint evenly or thickly. Allow the paint to drag over the painting in a broken glaze in an effect like lightly applied crayon. Darker areas of the grapes, such as shadows should be darkened slightly accordingly.
Pectin can also be suggested by dragging the paint over a painting completed on fine texture such as canvas. This will suggest the dustiness of pectin, as some areas will be darker than others.
See my video clip on how I painted pectin on grapes in alla prima.
How to Paint Moisture on Fruit
|Paintig Highlights on Strawberries|
Again, good photographic reference is essential. Paint the fruit (in this case, strawberries) as though no highlights or water droplets can be seen. Apply the paint thinly where the highlights will be placed.
Once the colour and hues of the fruit has been blocked in, mix white with a hint of pthalo blue and a little linseed. Observe the shape of the highlights, which will vary in shape and size. In the strawberry painting, the highlights vary from linear flecks to doughnut-shapes. Place strategically around the fruit, ensuring the outlines of the highlights remain sharp.
Moist highlights will sometimes exhibit adjunction of dark linear shapes which are deeper than the general colour of the fruit. These dark convolutions hold the key to making the surface of fruit appear luscious rather than merely smooth or shiny. Like the highlights, these dark areas will vary in shape and size. Ensure the outlines remain sharp.
Super-real Fruit in Painting
Recording subtle observations in objects, such as fruit is key to creating a still life with super realism. Pectin on grapes or water droplets on strawberries, for example, require small touches, but could transform a painting.
Relevant Links to Still Life Art