View Full Version : WIP-Demo

Celeste McCall
10-26-2004, 11:45 PM
Dear All,
I am hesitant to do this, but it was requested, so I'll do it even though I'm not sure how this is going to work out. I started this about mid day, so I've been working about 3 hours. It's completely out of my head. 22" x 15 adn 1/2" It's old paper that I inherited so it has worn spots, etc. This is only for those that want to learn how I do grapes. Wish I had done this on clayboard textured so I could erase (with scrubbing) any mistakes.
I started with a sketch of the branches and then placed the grapes and leaves. I did this with the prismacolor pencil which disappears when wet. Next I used water to erase any lines that I did not need. This is a closeup of the focal area. Gee! this looks terrible at this point!


[Note: This thread has been edited; posts that did not pertain to the technique being demonstrated were removed in the interest of preserving continuity of instruction. The Moderators]

Celeste McCall
10-26-2004, 11:53 PM
Next I block in the reflected lights with carmine and cad orange mixed together. I turn the paper with the top or the painting at 3:00 o'clock and do all of these. Then turn the top to 9:00 o'clock and do the pale yellow highlights and paint the leaves with the same to give an underglow. Stems are painted with a light yellow green wash.


Gee, I can't wait to get this past the initial washes. But this part is easy and fun to do.

Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 12:01 AM
Next, I add the purple shadows on the grapes and then a wash of Ultramarine on the highlight side of the clusters that are not the main grapes to wash them back. The main grape cluster doesn't get the blue wash on the highlight side. Put a little bit of turquoise if you want to as well.

Next block in the background with a mixture that resembles a brown green. I mixed sap and b. sienna and a little b.umber to grey it. Then used lots of water as it needs to be a lighter value....these will be background leaves later on. Then, as I work toward the bottom I begin adding thalo green in a wash. I like this as a background shadow leaf color. Then wash the rest of the background with a light yellow tan color mixture.


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 12:09 AM
Oops, fogot this step. Create the pathways of dark values behind the subject matter to see if the shapes are pleasing.

Also, start to work on the stems. I used sienna and rose madder to make a nice red brown. Also added a little bit of burnt umber as a gray next to the red brown on the stems where I needed a wider shadow. Looks cool next to the warm color.

This is the point that I can usually tell if the painting will get a trip to the fireplace. So far this one is okay enough to proceed and avoid the flames. I hope that I don't mess it up.


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 12:17 AM
This is the better example of colors. The leaves are more yellow like in this picture. I will have to add back more of the purple shadows because they have faded a bit too much when I washed them with ultramarine blue. But so far it's okay. I'm going to try to shoot for an explosion of light onto that leaf if possible. I like to let the lights 'leak out' from the focal area.

We will see if I can get this finished tomorrow. :D


Brian Barnes
10-27-2004, 03:24 AM
Looking forward to the finish. This is a great demo! Coming along beautifully! :cool: I like how having the darks concentrated at the top with light BG at the bottom gives the impression of the grapes dangling under the vines. Your colours look to be right on too.


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 09:07 AM
Dear Brian,
Thank you. The darks will anchor the piece as well as provide gradation, with the light leaves against dark at the top and the dark elements against light background on the bottom. Gives a little contrast. :) The darks will also be used to pull the eye through the composition with a pathway. I think that Ken Hosmer does this very well in his work (but he always seems to do a black and white study first to insure sucess - I should have done that, but I really don't have the time).

This is something that we learn as china painters when designing our pieces whether it be a huge vase or tiny box. An 'anchor' can be very important by keeping the design from 'floating' on the pieces of china. Formal designs on china 'float'. American style designs seem to be anchored now days.

Here is a painting by the late Hilda Palmer of Kerrville, Texas. She was a china painter as well and often worked out her designs in watercolors before tranferring her idea to china. This one is an example of her later work in which she pretty much did watercolors. She was a very unique lady and artist.


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 12:10 PM
Here is the next installment on this project.
First: I wanted to have one side longer than the other to try to do as my favorite Chinese artist has taught...have a high side and a low side. With this painting being one of hanging subjects, then it could have a really long side and a shorter side. I probably should have tried to overlap some grapes to break up all those liney stemwork area's on the lower left hand side.
Next: I am beginning to do the leaves...Still not sure I'm comfortable with the look of the leaf textures??? but it's fun to try something different. I have to wash them later to make sure that they do not take over though.
Last: I will finish the leaves and do some washes, etc to finish the painting. Any c&c will be appreciated in these final steps. :)


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 03:14 PM
Well, 3 more leaves and some washes and this puppy is finished.

However, I did not get the blast of light that I wanted near the leaf so it's a failure in that regard. :rolleyes: It's not a disaster yet, but it is disappointing...see...I should have made the preliminary sketch! Argh!

I sure do admire all of you great 'paper' painters. The clayboard is sooooo much easier to paint on and correct mistakes on. So my hat is off to all who paint on paper. :music: Maybe I should try that gesso on paper. ;)


Any suggestions for this final stage will be much appreciated.

Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 03:29 PM
After seeing it on here...I'm also going to have to fix the upper left hand portion of the main cluster of grapes. Now, that's going to be a problem with this paper.

Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 05:13 PM
Also, Here the leaves are all done: I have decided that this technique makes them look a little 'plastic', so I imagine that I will return to my own style. I like the upper right two leaves where I did less on them. So, maybe a compromise could be the answer.

I have washes to do for the final effect, but I think that this will be the last picture. This does not have as much color as the real thing does. The yellows are brighter on the real thing and the orange is more intense than looks here. .

The faults with this painting?

1. Not enough integration of the colors being reflected onto the leaves, etc.

2. The branches are too contrived (painting from nature is always better than the pictures in the brain)

3. The only cluster of grapes that I really am happy with are the blue cluster under the main cluster. That is what I wish that I had stuck to for the whole thing.

4. That main leaf looks like it's waving at the viewer (the beauty contest wave even :rolleyes: )which takes way too much attention in the focal area.

5. Both branches almost exited off at the same level from the bottom of the paper. I had to fix that by making the left handed one curve back onto the painting. This took a tiny bit of gouache to do this and that is one thing that I try to avoid even though it's okay to do it in my book.

6. The focal cluster is too red and I didn't get the splash of light that I enjoy painting.

7. I could have left more light for the leaves behind the grapes at the top of the painting and behind the main cluster (the green ones that were abstract shapes) because it would have tied the other leaves together better.

Thanks to everyone that has posted. I really appreciate you all here at wetcanvas. You're a terrific bunch of artists.


Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 07:16 PM
I forgot about the loveliest thing about paper...it can be cut so I could crop this. She might like this better as it eliminates a lot of problem areas.

What do you all think?


10-27-2004, 07:41 PM
I really enjoyed following this one through..... and I do hate disagreeing with the artist but that main bunch of grapes is SENSATIONAL........ I am actually ( yes really) dribbling I want to pick and eat one so much...... and I dont have any in the fruit bowl and the shops are shut !!!

I do like the crop........ I think it focusses the 'Best bits' very well and I prefer the composition it creates. .....but my mind is blown away by the fact that you did this 'out of your head' :eek: :eek: :eek: :clap: :clap: :clap:

I printed out an article called painting backwrds. i gues it was by the same guy....... the linking of the darks has cropped up in a lot of the books ive been recently andIve been trying to do just that....... its partly why I rearranged the asters petals and placed the bees darks where I did...........

am trying to be muc more consious of that role in composition.

10-27-2004, 07:42 PM
I think you were being to hard on yourself listing all those faults.. Ah***sigh*** i would be leading a parade if my works turned out half as good as this. You lead a very intesting demo. Hats off to you. :)

Celeste McCall
10-27-2004, 08:42 PM
Dear Jaytee,
I sure do enjoy your posts. They are always so full of spirit and personality. I loved your wip on the bee and aster!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Painting without looking at something and just making up compositions is the most fun that I ever get. It is a never ending source of entertainment. On china it is much more forgiving as it is easily wiped off and started over. So, it's not much of a stretch to put this same knowledge to paper. :) Thanks again Jaytee for your delightful post.

Dear Tammy,
You are too kind. :) Thanks for the nice post. Your paintings are very beautiful. I am hardest on my own paintings. I love everyone else's and only give a critique if I truly believe that they want one. Then I hope that they take it as a compliment because that is how I intend it to be. Thanks again Tammy for your generous post. :)

09-04-2005, 07:14 AM

09-04-2005, 07:18 AM
Cool Celeste, love it.
Almost magical watching it emerge, my 10 y/o son Danyon was looking over my shoulder, he gives you the thumbs up too.
Dake and Dan

09-04-2005, 08:24 AM
Oh, I'm so glad Jlyn bumped this up!! I missed it first time around.
This is a wonderful demo and result, Celeste!! I haven't yet got up
the courage to do a grapes & leaves work yet... but this makes
me want to try! Lovely painting all round...

:clap: and :) for you...

Jo in Georgia

09-04-2005, 10:59 AM
I missed it too, and I'm so, so thrilled that I didn't this time.

I'm so glad that you did this. I've been wanting to do grapes when I see how some others are great at making them sing! But this one is the exception...WOW!! Sing, Sing, SING!!!

And your explanation/demonstration of it all is very well written, and easy to understand. I appreciate that fact that you DID have the time to do this.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! :clap: I'm so inspired by you!

09-05-2005, 05:56 AM
Many thanks for taking the time to do this DEMO for us.

Despite your list of "faults" you have painted a lovely picture. Like JayTee said, those grapes are so luscious they make you drool looking at the screen.

Very easy to follow comments and discussion too. Like Lyn, I'm giving this thread a rating. Would give you a Mentor point too except the awards buttons seem to have disappeared????


09-05-2005, 08:25 AM
Celeste... I missed your demo when you first posted it, so I'm really glad that Judy bumped it... Your painting finished beautifully! I've rated this thread!!!

Strawberry Wine
09-05-2005, 08:57 AM
Celeste, I too missed this first time round. I enjoyed watching the painting progress and your explanations.

Rated this thread a 5 too.



Celeste McCall
09-05-2005, 08:40 PM
Jlyn - Thanks for the bump. :) This is an old thread. :)

David - Thank you and I sure do appreciate Danyon's thumbs up. ;) Honesty is priceless and I thank you for yours always. ;)

Jo - Thank you very much and do give grapes a try. They are a whole 'bunch' of fun to do.

Becky - Thanks so much for your kind post. I do hope that you will try to paint grapes. They are one of my favorite subjects to paint. ;)

Sylvia - Thanks so much for you sweet post. You are such a dear. ;) Thanks also for the stars. I hope that my next post on grapes will be better. ;):):)

Char - Gee, now I'm getting embarrassed....this is such an old thread and when I was first learning to really watercolor. I thank you so much for the stars. Your extra generous, and a real sweetheart.

Gail - Thanks so much for your kind post. You're one of my favorite artists on WC. I love watching your paintings and wip's. That sunflower was just gorgeous! Thanks also for the stars. You're a darlin'.

Thanks again to all. You are all generous to take the time to post and I really appreciate that. ;)

I hope to see some grapes being painted by y'all in the future. :D

09-05-2005, 09:07 PM
Such a joy Celeste.....I just love to watch you working...almost feel as if I am right there...Thankyou so much for this WIP

I have just given you all the stars I am permitted to give...Excellent stuff...:) :wave:

Celeste McCall
09-06-2005, 06:58 PM
Thanks Laurie. You too are a sweetie. ;)

Lynn Quinn
09-06-2005, 07:10 PM
Wow, Celeste, I'm really glad this got bumped up, as you did it before I joined! Maybe I'll actually try grapes again some day! A couple of years ago, I tried -- spent hours, days evem, trying different things. None of them worked, & I abandoned the attempt. Great demo!

09-11-2005, 07:45 PM
Gorgeous!! And that painting of Hilda's !!!!!!! OMG!! Gorgeous, as well!!

I just attempted a grape painting a couple of days ago which will promptly go in the proverbial trash can!!


09-11-2005, 08:53 PM
Wow.... Gorgeous!!

Celeste, the crop is dead on, drop dead perfect..... IMHO....


I'll get there someday!! :D

09-11-2005, 11:16 PM
WOW impressive Celleste,
I just think there is something regal about grape clusters and you have captured that essence beautifuly,


09-14-2005, 10:04 AM
Thanks for the commentary ....really well done.....you did such a swell job of critiquing yourself that you have left me speechless.....methinks you were a little too hard on yourself.....
And you've gone and made me thirsty :- )

09-14-2005, 10:13 AM

WOW...Celeste...THANKS SO MUCH for this WONDERFUL WIP. This is GORGEOUS and so lusciously vibrant!! :clap: :clap: LOVE THAT CROP. :wave: