Posted on Thu 23 Nov 2017
With a slightly more complicated set-up such as this you need to decide on the relationship between the two main items (see photo below). I selected a sheet of watercolour paper pre-tinted with a blue-grey wash that included a pattern of small interesting runs.
The plums were drawn piled up rather than lying flat and I began by painting the vase using a touch of Venetian red and cadmium orange combined with cobalt blue, white gouache and jaune brilliant No. 1. The foxgloves were a joy to paint but it can be easy to find yourself repeating your approach to every bloom rather than studying each one and painting it individually. Moving around it aids your concentration. In the same way I painted one fruit at a time, combining some and also linking them to the plate as I went along, allowing edges to soften together. You need to think of the plums and plate together and how the fruits amalgamate, and how they sit down into the plate. Everything relates to everything else. You need to maintain concentration when you have repetitive shapes and each has to be painted as if it was the first one. You need to be patient, work slowly and, if you find yourself painting a flower and then painting another one the same, it is time to take a break.
As the painting evolved I added the blue stripes on the tablecloth but, by reducing the tone, did not allow them to dominate the picture as they do in the photograph. I ask myself now was this cowardly or a good decision?
Close-up of the foxgloves
After making a pencil drawing on toned watercolour paper, I alternated the painting of the flowers, the plate with plums and the cloth in order to stay focused
Foxgloves with Plums on a Green Plate, watercolour with pencil and body colour on self-tinted Hahnemühle Not 140lb (300gsm), (38x43cm)
This demonstration is taken from an article by Judi in the January 2018 issue of The Artist
Click here to purchase your copy for more still life demonstraions