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Art Masterclass   

                          August 2009


Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.     

Art masterclass      

from The Artist, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists;  


This Month:


Wet and Dry Colour

Cooking Apples by Tim Fisher

cooking applesDevelop your skills by using solid sticks of watercolour both to draw and paint your cooking apples

Watercolour pencils offer you the best of both worlds: painting and drawing. You can achieve the subtle effects of a watercolour painting, but with the controllability of a pencil — and watercolour pencils are the ideal companions to take out on sketching trips.

I prefer to use sticks of solid watercolour (without the wooden casing), such as Cretacolor Aquamonolith or Derwent Aquatone, as this allows me to lay down more colour and carry out some techniques that are not so easy with wooden pencils.

This demonstration painting builds upon some of the techniques that were used for the pencil drawing — it is worth practising them. This time I have taken two of the apples and sliced them to alter the shapes and colours, and placed the pieces on a white plate with the knife. I have used the same lighting as before.

You will need…

  • Watercolour paper with a little texture: try a paper with a Not (not hot-pressed) surface.
  • Solid watercolour pencils. I used Cretacolor Aquamonolith in olive green dark, olive green light, green earth light, lime green, dark yellow, sienna natural, vermilion light, carmine extra fine, blue grey, Mars violet dark and indigo.
  • Hard eraser; I use a Faber-Castell Magic Rub vinyl eraser*
  • Water
  • Round synthetic brush, size 8



Using a sharp stick of vermilion light, draw the plate, finding its ellipse shape as described for the bowl in the pencil drawing, then add the apple and knife shapes.

As it is a white plate, the surrounding paper needs to be tinted: sharpen a stick of sienna and dissolve the shavings with water, mixing it with the round brush. Mix plenty of colour for the wash so that you don't run out halfway through the painting. Turn the drawing on its side and prop it at a shallow angle to allow the paint to run down as you paint the wash. Try to maintain a bead of liquid on the paper while painting so that you get an even coating of colour.




When the first wash is dry, start to put some tone into the fruit, knife handle and shadow areas with sienna and indigo. At this stage work very lightly and gradually build up dry colour.





Add more colours to the fruit, starting with a blush of carmine, followed by yellow, olive green light and lime green. Use directional strokes, following the curve of the fruit. Crosshatch indigo and Mars violet light in the shadow areas and the knife handle. Blend each of the areas of colour with a damp brush. Wash the brush clean regularly to prevent the surface becoming muddy. Allow to dry.



Start to build up stronger colours using the pencils dry. Press on more firmly, adding green earth light, olive green dark and blue grey. Don't be afraid to add some of the apple colours into the shadow areas and vice versa. Use sharp pencils and a crosshatch technique.





Finally, use a sharp indigo pencil to tighten up some of the detail around the stalks, pips and in places around the rim of the plate and handle of the knife.



This demonstration is extracted from StartArt2




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