Fruit Still Life Study in Oils Part 1 – Laying in a Wash Drawing

Laying in a Wash Drawing:

  • Set up your chosen fruit with a single direct light source (this could be a window or a bright spotlight) against a simple background.
  • For this stage, the only paint you will need to use is burnt umber (as well as the other materials and equipment listed below).
  • Use a medium sized flat brush to apply scrubby lines of burnt umber mixed with odourless mineral spirits. Avoid getting too much paint on the brush as we want to keep it light to start with.
  • Start with the simple proportions, such as the outside widths of the fruit and the ground line of the background.
  • Keep your lines straight so that they are easy to correct.

  • Once you sketched in the shapes of the shadows and background, you can lightly fill them in using the same scrubby hatching strokes.
  • This is a good time to make any corrections to the shapes that may become apparent.

  • When you’re happy with the general proportions of the shapes you can mix up some more paint and odourless mineral spirits and start using broader brush strokes to lay in darker tones.
  • Keep in mind the difference between the shadow on the fruit and the shadow cast by the fruit on the ground.

  • Finally, once you’ve darkened all the tones sufficiently, you can use a smaller brush to add some detail to the edges of these shapes, in preparation for next week.
  • Leave the painting until touch dry (usually 2-3 days)

Course Materials:
  • Small Canvas (stretched or board)
  • Easel
  • Palette
  • Palette Cups
  • Oil Paints
    • Titanium White
    • Cadmium Yellow (or equivalent bright yellow)
    • Burnt Umber
    • Raw Umber
    • Prussian Blue
    • Ivory Black
  • Various brushes (ideally a range of smaller and larger brushes, but whatever you have lying around will be fine)
  • Odourless mineral spirits
  • Linseed oil
  • Tape
  • Paper towel or rag for cleaning up