Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Heavy Load - oranges on a branch, step-by-step progress demonstration

One of the best things about the Mediterranean life-style are the healthy dietary habits for which you do not have to make any effort - they are just the usual way the life goes on! My childhood Christmas were connected with the taste and smell of the oranges, as this fruit was not common to find in Romania back in the 80's but just as a very special treat (at least for children living in small villages, as I did). Since I moved to Greece, oranges and fresh orange juice are an every-day treat, and I feel blessed to be able to offer this fantastic source of vitamins and health to my son every single day of the year!
Few weeks ago I took a photo of some oranges in one of the trees on my street, to share it with my fellows on WetCanvas, in the Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) which I hosted on the March 7. Here is the original photo:

This photo is free of copyright to be used for derived artistic works. If you would like to have a better resolution copy, look for it on WetCanvas or send me an e-mail.
I was sure I will paint this one myself, and I thought I would share here the stages I followed to get my painting done. It might be helpful for beginner fellows to see how a watercolor painting is done in steps - I always like to check such tutorials and demonstration, to understand the technique and steps followed by professional artists.
At first I checked carefully the reference photo to decide which composition would work best for my intent, and I decided I would go with a crop focused on the bottom half and middle part, where there is a branch with lots of oranges glowing in the spring sunshine. I also selected the size of the paper (app. 7x10 inches, Arches 140lb CP) and the basic palette: Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Hooker Green, Hansa Yellow Deep, Quinacridone Magenta, Burnt Sienna,  Payne's Gray. Some bits of other colors might have been added here and there.
In the first step I did a drawing of the selected composition on paper and I started to layer the paints from the most far (sky background) and some middle tones of the leaves, to give me the basic starting point.

In the following step I worked one by one the further back leaves and oranges, and the painting started to show already. Also, I noticed that something was missing in my drawing - the continuation of the branch in the upper left corner, and I corrected this, otherwise the oranges would be floating in the sky.

The following step was dedicated to work a major part of the oranges and some of the leaves that were not overlapping with the oranges.

The last to paint were the bottom orange, the one with the highest contrasts (sunshine versus shadow) the the most close to the viewer leaves (foreground).

Update: after posting this painting in the Watercolor forum on WetCanvas, I was advised to further work on the shadows, as they do not "read" very well. Which I did, trying not to overwork it however, and here is the updated painting:

I wish every child could enjoy one of these fantastic fruits every day!

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