Recently I decided to start practising a little more in my sketchbook, and I chose to create these fabulous fruits in watercolour paints. I’m having so much fun painting these. I think it’s the precision that’s required (I have a ‘thing’ for details) and you can really achieve that with watercolors.
This pear was the first fruit that I tried, a fairly detailed sketchbook study. The sketchbook is a a great place to practice your skills and refine your techniques.
Plus, you don’t want to go straight on to your watercolour paper and spoil it without having some sort of plan – that stuff is not cheap! Best to have a trail run first to build that confidence up.
I use the watercolours much the same as I use coloured pencils, which is probably why I like them for the details you can achieve. Now, you may think of watercolour as a bit of a loose medium, where you’ll often see paintings that range from watery and surreal to abstract and vibrant, with sploshes of colour running everywhere.
This is all true and beautiful in all of those styles, but what I didn’t realise until I started using it, was just how intense you can get the colours and how precise you can be. Unlike oils, it dries very quickly, and as you are using water as your medium, there are no nasty chemicals involved.
I’ve also discovered that painting outside with them is the easiest thing to do. Your little palette of pan paints, a couple of brushes, some water and paper and you’re good to go – fuss and mess free! With the current lockdown, I’ve experimented with every medium outside possible, trying to find what works for me – and watercolour is right up there. The other one being pastels – again, perfect for outdoor use!
I didn’t get on so well outside with oils and acrylics, but that’s for another post I am writing on plein air painting.
So, back to watercolour and this is the piece I am currently working on. I still have a long way to go, but you can perhaps see here, specifically with the strawberry furthest away, how the layers begin to build up.
The green leaves currently have one base layer on them, so that will take further layers to enrich the colour and then finally the detailing.
The strawberry furthest away is a good few layers off completion yet, plus, as you can see, I haven’t added the shadows into the seed areas yet to build up that sense of form. So, it is very similar to how you would traditionally use coloured pencils, in that you need to protect your white/light areas and build gradually as it’s not easy to correct mistakes. I’ll do a more in-depth post painting a strawberry.
If you love working in a precise way and favour subjects with intricate details, then I’d highly recommend giving watercolours a try, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. It definitely surprised me and now it has become one of my favourite mediums!
I am using a mix of the watercolour paint tubes and this fantastic set by Mozart – the colours are so vibrant and the tin lid doubles up as my mixing palette when I’m outside painting. I think you could really create some brilliant art with this set alone, especially for your sketchbook.
The professional range for original pieces I sell
For commission work and originals, I’m using the Winsor and Newton professional watercolour paints in the tubes. I was confused by the tubes when I first started using watercolours, I thought you washed away your left over paint like acrylics, but that is not the case (thankfully) you really can use the whole lot by reactivating it with some water. But I’ll be talking more in depth about that in a later post.
What’s your favourite watercolour paints? Maybe you have an Instagram account I could see some of your work on? Perhaps you have already had a go at creating fruit in watercolour. Do let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!