Thursday, 25 October 2012


Thursday again and another lovely morning spent painting at AVA. The subject this week was fruit and with my present passion for Quinachridone Purple still strong, I had decided to paint dark grapes, hanging on the vine.
I decided to have a bit of a go prior to the session, so that I could test out a few colour combinations for the grapes and I had a good look at the way the leaves are formed by accessing photos on the internet.

At this stage I must apologise as I am going to post two paintings, and I did take photos of the original washes and drawing to show you, but when I went to remove the card from the camera, I found the slot empty and the card already in the reader, where it has been since the last post. Having completed the paintings, I have obviously lost the original drawings. Another senior moment!!

I did complete the first 'trial' painting, but although I was generally happy with the fruit, I was less happy with the leaves. I had painted the initial wash far too dark, and when I came to deal with the leaves the top left one especially became very muddy. Although I tried to wash some of it away, being 'Leonardo' paper, I could not budge it.

Now, my mind is mulling over the possibility of cutting around the fruit and using it as a collage some time in the future.I was also unsure about the bottom RH background. The 'lilac' shapes seem a bit hard and solid.

All this gave me ideas about how to tackle the painting at club this morning, so I used a sheet of Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough 300gm paper on a block and repeated a background wash and drawing.

Although I was much more pleased with this initial stage, I did realise that I had not left very much white at the top into which to paint some grapes with pure colour.

It became quite difficult to keep the grapes fresh as I had to paint nearly all of them over a background colour, mainly 'Moonglow' by Daniel Smith, and this is quite a dull blue/purple.
 In light of the muddy leaf in the previous painting, I kept the treatment of the leaves to a minimum, as this was all about the fruit, and in this painting I did try to reproduce the light bloom which appears on grapes and other fruit, but which disappears as they ripen.

In the first painting, I do like the very dark fruit at the bottom of the LH bunch, and I think that the second painting could do with a bit of this treatment to give it more umph, but I will live with it for a few days before deciding if it needs tinkering with, or if it is finished.

As an aside, the green on the LH lower leaf was created by dropping Apatite Green, by Daniel Smith onto wet paper. The paint appears to have granulated without any help from me, but also the granulated particles have collected in the hollows of the rough paper, giving a really lovely effect. This is probably more apparent if you click on the image to see it enlarged. I shall try that again!


  1. I liked this one very much when I saw you paint it today.

    1. Thanks Peter. It looks well in its frame now that it has been tweeked.

  2. Each time I see the thumbnail image of these juicy grapes, I'm drawn to them. They look fantastic! I particularly like the second one for the clearly depicted left side of the bunches and the suggested right and bottom edges.

    1. Thank you Blaga, I tweaked it a little and am pleased with it too. If you like this you might enjoy looking at the blackberries in my post of 20th Sept called 'More Daniel Smith Colours' if you have not already seen it

  3. I think these both have great strengths. I don't share your disappointment with the leaves in the first one, the leaf on the right in particular is very strong. The intensity of the fruit pigment in the first is also wonderful but I enjoy the delicacy of the fruit in the second. The two approaches induce all sorts of interesting questions about style in painting. Lovely work.

  4. Thanks Mick. I do think the monitor enhances the image to some degree so maybe the leaves look better than the reality. I have intensified the colour on some of the grapes in the second painting which has given it much more 'umph' Thanks for keeping on looking!