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

OCAD Studio: Still Life Copy in Mixed Media Part 7 – Adding the Final Details in the Foreground Using Pencil

Adding the final details in the foreground using pencil:

  • You can use the pencil in this stage in a very similar fashion to Part 6, starting with the shadows in the foreground elements and smoothing the tones out where necessary.
  • Once the shadows are complete, use the pencil to work carefully over the painted white areas, adding tonal shifts from the shadows into the lights in order to develop a better sense of 3D forms in these sections

  • You can also use the fine point of the pencil to add very fine details (such as the writing on the letter in this piece).
  • Make sure that you don’t go too dark with these elements as the image will appear too graphic if you make everything equally contrasted.

  • When adding details like text (such as the paper typeface and handwritten letter) try to capture the abstract feeling of those elements rather than studiously copying out the exact words.

  • That’s it! This mixed media drawing is now finished, hopefully you found this series useful and you are able to apply the processes you learnt when you’re working on your next piece.

Course Materials:

  • Paper
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Graphite pencils (from 2B – HB)
  • White Gouache or Acrylic paint
  • Various brushes (whatever you have lying around)
  • Drawing Board
  • Tape

OCAD Studio: Still Life Copy in Mixed Media Part 6 – Adding the Final Details in the Background Using Pencil

Adding the final details in the background using pencil:

  • Begin with the darker background elements.
  • You can use the graphite pencil to fill in the patchy texture made by the charcoal in the earlier stages.

  • Approach the image part by part, breaking down specific areas into smaller forms gradually.
  • See how the cut face of the ham has more detail now that I have worked over it with the pencil.

  • You can also use the pencil to create subtle transitions in smaller objects like the handle of the knife.

  • You can also use the pencil to darken and smooth those parts of the drawing that have a heavy amount of charcoal – like the darker bottles on the right.
  • Passing the pencil over these dark parts of the image with moderate pressure will shift and even out the charcoal dust, making for a smoother and darker look.

Course Materials:

  • Paper
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Graphite pencils (from 2B – HB)
  • White Gouache or Acrylic paint
  • Various brushes (whatever you have lying around)
  • Drawing Board
  • Tape

OCAD Studio: Still Life Copy in Mixed Media Part 5 – Painting in the White Tones Using Acrylic or Gouache Paint

Painting in the white tones using acrylic or gouache paint:

  • For this stage you just need some white paint (either acrylic or gouache), a little water for diluting the paint and a couple of different size brushes (ideally one medium and one small).
  • Start by identifying the very lightest tones in your image, in this case, it’s the paper, tablecloth, some parts of the plate and the highlights on the glass and silverwear.
  • Paint in the lightest parts first using thick paint and the larger brush.

  • You can add slightly darker tones by mixing in a bit of water with your paint to dilute it. This will allow you to do slightly transparent washes for the less bright tones.
  • BUT be careful not to use too much water as this will buckle the paper.

  • Once the larger areas of white paint have been blocked in, you can use the smaller brush to refine the edges of the light shapes (where necessary).

  • And finally, you can use the small brush to add thick highlights to the glassware and silverware (making sure to keep the highlights as very small dots on the darker tones).
  • Once you’ve finished, make sure to wash your brush in water so that it doesn’t dry out and harden.

Course Materials:

  • Paper
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Graphite pencils (from 2B – HB)
  • White Gouache or Acrylic paint
  • Various brushes (whatever you have lying around)
  • Drawing Board
  • Tape

OCAD Studio: Still Life Copy Using Mixed Media Part 4 – Enhancing and Adding Detail to the Darkest Tones

Enhancing and adding detail to the darkest tones:

  • Start this stage by using some compressed charcoal to loosely add more tone to the darkest regions of the drawing (background etc.).
  • It doesn’t matter too much how you apply the charcoal, hatching and scribbling is fine.

  • Once you’ve roughly applied a reasonable amount of charcoal, start spreading and evening the tone using a large brush.
  • It may end up slightly patchy but that’s fine as you will be working over it more – this brushed layer just makes a darker base tone to work over (vs the white of the paper).

  • One the tone has been brushed, start going even darker with the compressed charcoal.
  • Make your application more even and keep the hatching closer together this time (as we won’t be brushing it again.

  • Once the background is sufficiently dark, you can start adding features that are in the darker areas (such as the sprig of leaves sticking out of the ham in my drawing).
  • Make sure that these dark elements are unified with the surrounding darker tones. It can be tempting to make them lighter so that they stand out by that will disrupt the major tonal relationships in the whole composition.

  • Finally, use your kneadable eraser rolled to a point to neaten up any areas of light tone that charcoal dust has been spread.
  • You can also use the eraser to add more detail to the edges of the darker shapes.

Course Materials:
  • Paper
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Graphite pencils (from 2B – HB)
  • White Gouache or Acrylic paint
  • Various brushes (whatever you have lying around)
  • Drawing Board
  • Tape

OCAD Studio: Still Life Copy Using Mixed Media Part 3 – Developing the Foreground Elements

Developing the foreground elements:

  • Use a mixture of sharpened charcoal pencil and will charcoal to start adding more detail to the foreground elements, paying close attention to the shapes of the shadows and darker tones in the objects.

  • You can also use the kneadable eraser rounded to a point to remove tone from the drawing, in order to find lighter shapes (this was how I found the shapes of the light knife handle that sits in front of the darker background).
  • The eraser is also useful for erasing highlights in the shinier objects (metal, glass etc.).

  • Carry on adding detail to the lighter foreground elements with the willow charcoal.
  • Try to keep the tones in the elements a bit lighter so that they unify more with the foreground general (thereby separating them from the darker background).

  • Finally, you can use the eraser to neaten the edges of these shapes and keep the foreground nice and luminous moving forward.

Course Materials:
  • Paper
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Graphite pencils (from 2B – HB)
  • White Gouache or Acrylic paint
  • Various brushes (whatever you have lying around)
  • Drawing Board
  • Tape

 

Task 3: Charcoal Forms

Learning to Draw: TASK 3

You can use a range of Charcoal equipment, but I like for this task to look at the effects I can get using the blocks of Charcoal! They create such dark effects and so you can achieve eye popping results due to the tonal range you can create.

Charcoal pencils are great too…but the skills you are learning from using Graphite are being utilised again. The reason I like to encourage students to grab the blocks is to widen their experience and knowledge of alternatives. So, come out of your comfort zone and grab a compressed charcoal block for this task 🙂

 

Other Equipment that is useful:

Putter rubber / kneaded eraser is crucial for the technique I will show in my next video (Facebook live tutorial). Willow sticks are nice but more light and good for midtones… the break easy and smudge easy too- this is good for some effects but the block you will get a solid black covering.

White charcoal, or even a white chalk stick, is great for making highlights when using midtone paper- I will be! Creating a stark tonal range, and again, making that eye popping result.

So, the paper… Brown parcel paper is what I use in my demonstrations. I really love this paper as it is textured, providing a rougher surface to work on. This holds powder media really well and allows for harsh mark making. It can be cut to any length when bought on a roll, so it adds to your flexibility of what you can create. White paper usually is set to one size and when working in a sketchbook it can restrict creativity sometimes.

For this task, I will go big! I want to work on nothing less than A3 for sample and produce a final outcome around A1 size…don’t be daunted by this, it is great and much easier to do when you have blocks of media to spread all over the surface in no time at all 🙂

The Task

For this task you are continuing your skill building with using tone. By using Charcoal this time, you will not only be trialling a new medium, you will also be using much darker tones and testing how you see tones in these forms.

You first need to add the tonal scale to the universal forms; Cube, Cylinder, Sphere and Cone. This allows you to understand the range of forms you will encounter when taking on a still life observation in the future. If you can shade these 4 forms, it is commonly thought you can apply tone to any object you may want to draw 🙂

You may wish to use your own photography and still life compositions to further explore adding tone to your art. Check out the resource for inspiration and guidance;

charcoal practice

Also, see me in this quick demo to see how to use charcoal in different ways 🙂

 

I will be on Facebook soon giving another tutorial using this great media! Look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Enjoy!

 

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