Painting a still life of red and green apple in oil paint, demonstration of wet in wet

1) Raw amber wash drawing stage:

I add a small amount of odorless turpentine to a small amount of Raw Umber, mixing it with a spatula. Then I proceed to draw with a brush, using a small amount of this mixture, finding a basic outline and rubbing the shadow shapes. I constantly compare the apple to my painting, seeking to correct any inaccuracies. By using shadow shapes to draw, one can begin to compare the masses equally. Using straight lines to better identify the structure and comparing the width of the shadow shapes with the light shapes, I move towards more precise proportions. I use another brush dipped in odorless turpentine or kitchen towel as an eraser.

Then I add my highest light in the composition to better see how bright I can finally get. (Squinting helps identify where the highest light is. I want the paint to be as bright as possible in the highlights (midtones, highlights, and reflections). Typing the paint this way also allows me to calibrate the values ​​(how the light or something dark is) more easily. Then I paint a basic background color to create some context for the apple and to further correct the drawing. The value of the background in the light is derived by comparing it to the highest light in the painting Squinting helps determine the correct value.

It should be noted that, unlike a tennis ball, no apple is a perfect sphere, but consists of subtle planes. If one were to paint an apple as a perfect sphere, as some artists do, it will look like a Christmas ornament (not the look I’m after).

2) Mass blocking

I paint the most chromatic (colorful) parts at maximum intensity to mark the color. From then on, no color in my composition can be more chromatic than my key, in the same way that no value can be higher than the highest light, already established. I paint the planes of the apple in a color and value that best represents that plane, seeking to capture the structure of the apple. Each value and color is dependent on those around them and at this stage they need to make sense in the context of the whole set or else be repainted. Highlights (midtones, highlights, and reflections) must be lighter than shadows. Squinting shows how simple shadows can be painted, just a fixed value at this point. Keeping things spacious and simple, I cover the panel to create a loose visual impression, further correcting the drawing as I go.

3) Form of further refinement

I correct the false values ​​that jump out for not fitting the overall impression, before dividing the large shots into smaller ones, if you like. Further correcting the drawing as I go along, I also define my edges, painting the outline of the apple as it meets the background harder (more abruptly) or softer (less abruptly) depending on what I see. For example, the side of the apple appears harder where it overlaps the cast shadow. The cast shadow is painted more smoothly the further you move away from the block. A smooth edge can be created by adding an additional intermediate value, blending shapes (be sure to rephrase the shape if you do this), dragging the brush to overlap a previous brushstroke, with a loaded or empty brush, finger, or palette knife, or frankly in any way you like. want. If there is too much paint where I need to make a correction, scraping with a putty knife or kitchen towel to remove excess paint may be essential.

4) Finish

Looking to simplify and reinforce any value or color by repainting more on top. Handling and applying paint can enhance the variety of textures, but achieving the texture ultimately comes down to the correct value, in the context of all the other values ​​of the composition. I add details, or simplify throughout the composition, depending on what you are looking for. For example, I could have left the shadows as a flat value (see stage 3), but in this case I introduced a small amount of reflected light into the shadow, squinting to determine how unified they should be. Too much reflected light will weaken the sense of the unified light impression. Our eyes adjust and let in more light when we look at shadows in nature. Sacrifices have to be made because paint does not have the same extremes of tonal range that we see in nature. The reflected light is sacrificed a bit to promote the division of light and shadow. See the work of Edouard Manet to see how much you can simplify the values ​​in highlights (midtones, highlights and reflections) and shadows. Less information in a painting often means more, but it depends on what effect you are looking for.

Content Article: Copyright Andrew Hitchcock 2013

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