Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving about six weeks ago so I must have had our neighbours to the south in mind this weekend when I organized the still-life. I know it’s missing a pumpkin and a turkey but it still feels seasonal, doesn’t it? Anyway, I hope Linda and Carol and other friends from the USA had a great holiday.

I couldn’t resist a demonstration of the squash. I tried to think in terms of ‘light to dark’ and ‘big to small’ but, first of all, I approached it as two interlocking shapes and painted them separately. In the upper shape, I painted a light green-gray wash and added a darker value while the wash was wet.The stripes, which really help make the object feel round, were painted when everything was dry.

I started the lower shape in almost the same way but my values were a bit darker and I left a few highlights. When dry, I painted the dark green panels, avoiding the stripes which are the first wash showing through. The stripes in the upper part of the squash are positive marks; negative spaces in the lower part.

The stem was painted as a separate shape, as well. I touched in the orange where the two shapes meet at the very end.

The entire turnip was painted with a creamy light wash and a fairly neutral gray was added to the lower area while the cream was wet. I allowed it to dry completely before adding the purple, which I darkened gradually from upper left to lower right. Again, the stem was painted separately and in a few steps.

Everyone got to work but about half an hour later we had an emergency demo/discussion about the perspective of the basket. A few problems were considered.

The main problem was showing too much of the interior of the basket. Our mind knows that it’s a fairly big interior space and sometimes doesn’t trust what our eye is actually seeing.

Figure A shows how some of the baskets were drawn although Figure B is much closer to how they really appeared. The photo of the still-life above was taken from the average eye level of a seated student.

Another concern is the angles that can make the perspective convincing. The main angles, along the length of the basket, in the larger study are not as steep as those in the small diagram to the lower right. As a result, the smaller basket feels tilted rather than fore-shortened.

The tricky squash and the perplexing basket were good challenges but everyone rose to the occasion and came up with solid work. That’s it for Sustained Saturdays this fall. We’ll be back in the winter so have a look at my Winter Calendar,  if you’d like to join us.

Sustained Saturday Critique


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One Response to “Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Barry, thank you and we did have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. I have a good sized family and most of us live close so we have FAMILY holidays…very nice because we all get along very well. Once again stellar work from your students. Perspective, especially in a set-up like this one is very challenging. Thank you for sharing your insight.

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