Starting a Painting

Very important reminders for beginning your first fruit painting. 

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Look at Your Subject.

Most important rule. Look at your fruit more than your canvas.

 
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General to Specific

If it looks good on your first coat, you're not doing it right. It's called an underpainting because you won't see it when it's done. Get darks and lights. Don't worry about highlights, reflections, or details. More about this.

 
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More Contrast

Don't be afraid of the darks!

 
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White Rules

Don’t use white unless you see a pastel color. (Think of an Easter egg.) Skip it on your first coat on the fruit, but you may need it on the background. You will use it for highlights.

 
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Easy on Medium.

Unless you're drawing out the fruit, only use enough Liquin to get the paint to move around. You can cover with a coat as undiluted as the right mark if the paint flows well enough.

 
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Use Your Sphere Skills

Keep the lights light, the darks dark. Blend a smooth transition between light and dark with strokes going in all directions.

 
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Soften your Edges

Blend sharp edges with a dry brush, preferably while they’re both wet. Leave no canvas showing!

 
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Look at Color like it's a Swatch

Don't go blind because you see objects. Look at color like you did during our color mixing exercise.

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Background Depth

Don’t over-blend your background so that it’s smooth and flat. Objects look more three-dimensional with a blurry or choppy backdrop, even if the variation in value or color is slight. Your subject will look like a cut-out (like a person in front of a green screen) without a little variation behind it. You can mix a few similar colors to achieve the mottling of this depth technique; just don’t blend them on canvas to the point where they disappear into each other.