Saturday 21 January 2012

Still Life, Bottle and Clementine WIP 1

10" x 8" Derwent Artists Pencils on 'Elephant' Colourfix sanded paper

I finally got going on a new drawing, from my own photo ~ put the flags out!  My still life drawings usually consist of one object, or a variation on one object, (lol) but I pushed the boat out with this one and dared to put two different things together.  I had an idea to draw some glass with something organic so I went to my local greengrocer to choose some fruit or veg that might look good with one of my glass bottles.  I came out with three plums, a bag of clementines, a lemon, two conference pears and an extremely small bunch of black grapes. 

Before buying said fruit I examined each piece very closely, you know, with an 'artist's eye' for shape and colour ~ would those grapes dangle nicely next to a bottle? Is the lemon an interesting shape and an attractive shade of yellow? Might those pears lean just the right way and sit on a surface attractively?  I'm not sure that examining the produce quite that closely was the usual kind of behaviour the greengrocer expected from her customers, and who can blame her?!  She did ask me if I needed help with a rather concerned expression.  Maybe I should have gone to Sainsbury's instead ...  no-one would have noticed!

Anyway, I spent a couple of days arranging different bits of fruit with my chosen glass bottle, different positions, different lighting, backgrounds and so on.  After seriously questioning my sanity a few times and asking myself why I don't just draw a feather or a leaf or something, I finally settled on this little arrangement.  I'm using pencils from my brand new set of 120 Derwent Artists pencils ~ joy of joys!  Once I've decided on the composition I then choose a palette of pencils I'm likely to need.  I might add to this as I go along, but generally I do stick to my originally chosen palette.  Here's a pic of the pencils I'm using on this drawing just to give you an idea.

The little red pencil there in the front is Deep Vermilion.  I've hardly used it but, unfortunately, it must be damaged because it breaks every time I sharpen it ~ unusual to have a damaged Derwent pencil, hmm.

I love the range of colours in this set and I've kind of plunged in, using them for the first time on this drawing, so it's a bit experimental.  As you can see, I've started with the clementine and covered most of the background.  I've worked quite a lot on that clementine ~ got a bit carried away ~ which is not ideal.  I usually work up the whole composition to the same level as I proceed so that I can check how each element relates to the others at every stage.  It just makes for a more coherent piece of work, in my humble opinion.  I'll complete the clementine, though, once the bottle has been rendered.

I'm rendering the background with loose, cross-hatched, broad strokes and then using a soft brush over it.  The aim is to achieve a smooth mix of subtle colours, darker shades on the right side as there is natural light coming through from the left.  I've just started the bottle and you can see those white guide lines which show me roughly where there are main colour changes.  I'll erase those dotted lines as I begin to apply colours to the glass.  I use fewer of those white guide lines these days as I'm learning to judge shape and colour changes by eye now much more and simply drawing in colour from the start.

I've gone on enough for one post so I'll get back to the drawing board and get cracking on that glass bottle.  Ta ta for now!


Felicity Grace said...

Oh, living dangerously, Janet! (Fellow safe person speaking! ;) ) This looks wonderful already. I haven't been brave enough to tackle glass yet but fruit is difficult enough - once drew a banana that seemed to rot in front of my eyes! Started off a lovely bright yellow with green tinges and ended up spotty!

You prompted me to check my Deep Vermilion, and mine is OK so maybe you just have a rogue one? (And it's not very 'deep' is it?!)

Janet Pantry said...

Hi Felicity! Fruit is difficult isn't it? Particularly yellow fruit for some reason so I hear you on the banana lol! I agree on the Deep Vermilion, lovely colour but not really deep, and yes, it's a rogue one. Other colours are strangely named too, eg. Teal Blue ~ more of a grey or cloud blue to me. I thought Teal was greenish? Anyway, it's good fun discovering these colours and mixing them on the paper too.


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