View Full Version : Cherries in bag, WIP

Merethe T
04-02-2007, 09:33 AM
Hi all!

Someone asked in another thread if I could post a WIP of a still life, and since I enjoy other people's WIP's a lot I figuered I might just do that. :)
I'll try to remember to get photo's all the way, and not get to caught up in the details, lol... ;)

I work mainly from my own photo's, I have a "to do" folder on my computer filled with different still life set up's - I do photo shoots when the sun is bright enough as I want strong light/shadows. I don't have equipment yet to take photo's in artificial light - on my wishlist though...I use a Cannon 350 D camera - love it! I take photo's in high resolution to see the details clearly, and take notes in my sketchbook with info of colors in the shadows when I have the set up in front of me. My computer is a tool for my paintings - I keep the ref on the computer so I can zoom in/out to get the details right.

The photo I'm gonna work from now is two years old, I haven't dared going for it untill now, as I suspect the plastic might be a challenge to paint...will see... :D

I've transfered the drawing a`la Ponting, I find it helpfull to keep the drawing on the painting board during the painting prosess, to re-draw lines when they get lost...I'm not to worried about getting an absolute accurate transfer though, some lines might be moved around a bit - I don't always correct when I'm painting things like fruit, fabric etc.

My sketch isn't to detailed - only lines to indicate light and shadow - I keep referring to the ref photo to find values and colors, and I keep an eye on the other parts of the painting to make sure it comes together right in the end. One of the things I've learned here at WC is that a photo don't tell the whole truth, and what works in a photo might not work in the painting.

I'm gonna post my ref, had a hard time getting a photo of the transfered sketch as I used a white pastel pencil - but it is basically an outline of the cherries and the plastic bag, with some lines to mark light/shadow. I'll be using Polychromos, Giraults, Unisons and Great Americans mostly, and some Carbothellos and Pitts for details. I use colors shapers sometimes to clean up edges, but for the most part I use my pencils for edges and small details. I've picked out a sand-colored La Carte sheet for this - 30x40 cm (that would be 16x12 inches I think...).

So here we go, gonna start with the plastic bag...never painted plastic so this will be interesting for me....I figure I'll take the same approach as painting glass - mark of the highlights and the darkest darks first. I won't paint the hole in the bag, gonna "play it by ear" and to some improvising when I get there.

Hope this is of interest for someone - and please feel free to give any c&c you feel like along the way! :)



04-02-2007, 09:47 AM
Pullin' up a chair, Merethe!!


Piper Ballou
04-02-2007, 09:55 AM
Merethe....this is going to be great. Remember the plastic bag is not just clear and white in places, there will be a lot of colors you can add to it....
I am looking forward to seeing you work on this

M Douglas
04-02-2007, 10:25 AM
I'm moving in next to Cindy for this one, this is going to be awesome to watch. Whos got the popcorn.....oh its breakfast time here lol.


Pat Isaac
04-02-2007, 10:45 AM
Count me in. I love the concept of this. Coffee anyone?


Merethe T
04-02-2007, 11:37 AM
Cindy, Piper, Melodie and Pat - great to have you onboard, thanks! Sound like you're having a good time with your coffee too, maybe I'll just join you... ;)
Piper - you're right, lots of reds, blues and purples in there...gonna have to keep my eyes wide open so I don't get lost in all the colors, lol...glad to see you btw, haven't talked to you in a while now....hope you're good?

An update, got some colors down..
I've started the plastic bag, basically just blocking in darks, lights and midtones now. Haven't done any blending yet, at this stage I'm just trying to get a feel on how it all work together. At this point I've used different greys, and a little bit of blue - using hard pastels (Polychromos) and a few pencils. As I'm getting closer to the cherries I'll use some dark reds too. I'm working on the outside of the bag, and while I'm doing this I'm trying to figure out what colors to use for the inside, and for background...haven't decided how dark the BG will be yet.

I'm looking for the largest shapes at this point, later I'll do more details to get the realism I'm looking for. I've a close crop for this painting, but I might do another later with a more distant view of the bag. I'm painting the bag without the hole, trying to imagine how it would look...some parts might be too dark now, but that's an easy fix when I start to work in the details.
Here's where I'm at - back to work for me...;)


04-02-2007, 12:01 PM
Pulls up an armchair.

Whoops, sorry, just pinched a cherry from the composition.......:evil:

Merethe T
04-02-2007, 01:42 PM
Geoff - LOL! Glad to see you... :D

Gonna post a pic of the first layers blended...as you can see it's still to dark to give the impression of plastic, I'm now gonna lighten it up bit by bit 'till it gets there.

I always work in thin layers, building up the colors that way...I find it easier to blend other colors in - to avoid makin' mud. La Carte gives enough tooth to this kind of approach, I don't have any trouble filling up the tooth like I can with velour.

I've started to work in the darkest cherries inside the bag, I need to see if it can help to make the bag read as plastic. For now it look more like metal to me, lol....also gonna have to make a desicion about the bg soon, need to find the right values inside the bag.


Pat Isaac
04-02-2007, 02:31 PM
Love all those values and colors already.


Donna T
04-02-2007, 02:31 PM
Wow! It will be so exciting to watch you do this! I love the composition and I know you will do an awesome job (you always do!)

Donna T

David Patterson
04-02-2007, 02:43 PM
Looking great so far...but it's getting crowded at the table, and Cindy keeps elbowing me!:evil:


04-02-2007, 03:55 PM
.... and Cindy keeps elbowing me!:evil:

I know, I know, I need a GOOD seat up front, but I'll make room for you in the front row at the table, David! (I'll make sure I don't poke you in the eye, at least! :rolleyes: )

Merethe T
04-02-2007, 04:49 PM
Lol, great to see you in good spirit....but no poking with all the coffee in front of the La Carte....:eek: :p

I've got one more update today, my back is now begging me to stop, lol! I don't use my easel anymore, I paint with my drawing bord in front of me or in my lap - usually with my nose almost in the dust....I know, not the best working position....

I've lightened the plastic bag with some light grey, light blue and a white pencil - later on I'll lighten it even more with my white Great American. Started on a bg - from black to dark grey, with a touch of the darkest red I'll be using for the cherries. I'm leaning towards a light grey for the table, with a touch of blue and red in shadowed areas.

I can't get a good impression of how the bag looks untill I have some cherries too, so I've started to paint the dark cherries in the back. I've used two colors for them - a dark Cyprus, GA, and a dark alizarin FC. I recently discovered the Cyprus in my pastel box, and I love the richness to it! (No way, I don't have to many sticks, it kept hiding from me.....lol:cat: )
I've used black to darken the red even more - and blended it all. For the stems I use dark green, light green, cream and a couple of red browns. I don't blend the stems, I use my pencils and they'll do the blending for me.
Here's what it look like now:


K Taylor-Green
04-02-2007, 05:27 PM
Unbelievable! I'm keeping an eye on this one!

Pat Isaac
04-02-2007, 05:27 PM
The bag is definitely plastic....


04-02-2007, 06:48 PM
Wow! Cravia, Amazing work! I am pulling my chair too. :)

Susan Borgas
04-02-2007, 07:13 PM
Please make room for me, I just have to watch this all unfold.
Hey Geoff leave the cherries alone and try the popcorn!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Apr-2007/13752-popcorn.gif :lol:

04-02-2007, 07:31 PM
Wow! This looks great already.
Thanks for doing a WIP.


bruce johnson
04-02-2007, 09:26 PM
Brilliant start Merethe, I'm pulling up a chair as well..

Piper Ballou
04-02-2007, 10:48 PM
Merethe, think you are right that you cannot work on the bag until you get some of cherries done.....looking good so far
and you know I am your front row cheerleader....

M Douglas
04-03-2007, 12:24 AM
Awesome so far Merethe!!


Merethe T
04-03-2007, 11:51 AM
Thank you all for watching and cheering me on! :thumbsup:
Great to have you all hanging over my shoulder.... :wink2: :D

I managed to do some more painting today, between the laundry and bread-baking,lol...

Next step is the cherries. I've decided to let the bag rest for a while, I need to get a feel for the wholeness of the painting. I'm trying to keep the colors down to a few, a couple of reds and some purple for the shadows.

Here's a close up of cherries before blending:

And a close up after blending:

I'm moving on to the cherries in the front, to get the lighter colors in the mix. When I work I use a "blow-brush" constantly, I blow off access dust before blending - this helps me keep the colors clean. In the photo the cherries are wet - I sprayed them before shooting the pics. I'm now debating wether to try to get a wet look or not...if I try to make them look wet I'll probably do so with the closer cherries.

Here's a pic of how the painting look like right now:

Now gotta run, have band-practise before our gig tomorrow...wish there were more hours in a day... :D

See you later!


04-03-2007, 12:00 PM
Changes armchair for a high chair so I can see !!!!
Hate popcorn, now where's a cherry I can have.
Hope that plastic is recyclable!!
Still watching and learning.:clap: :thumbsup:

04-03-2007, 12:21 PM
great choice in reference photo . can't wait to see your continued progress and finished piece. i am a beginner . i took a few pastel lessons. do you always do an underdrawing? do you work top down on the page???? unbelievably realistic!!:thumbsup:

Kathryn Day
04-03-2007, 12:47 PM
Merethe, looking great, nice control of tonal values. You have my curiosity aroused, what is a "blow-brush"?

Bhavana Vijay
04-03-2007, 01:16 PM
Oooooh Merethe!!! This is exciting...lovely lovely so far. That last cherry looks sooo delicious!

Pat Isaac
04-03-2007, 02:01 PM
Wonderful cherries, can almost pick them up.


Karen Margulis
04-03-2007, 02:04 PM
Wow!!! This is looking fantastic! Your cherries look so eatable! I'll be back to see more! Great work!

04-03-2007, 02:07 PM
OMG! This looks awesome! I'm watching too. http://bestsmileys.com/eating1/16.gif

04-03-2007, 04:59 PM
Beautiful job Merethe, as always... love your still lifes...... great subject and you've depicted the plastic bag so well already.......... gorgeous cherries....
whats a blow brush........ have you a pic of it

04-03-2007, 06:15 PM
Wow! Merethe, Looking great and delicious. I love your still lifes. Watching and learning! Yes, what is a blow brush?? May be, if I get that brush, I can paint better:p


Merethe T
04-03-2007, 07:48 PM
Wow, I'm so happy to see so many in here - thank you so much for all the comments - you're the best! :thumbsup:

The blow-brush (don't know what it is called in english,lol) is a cleaning brush for my camera - which became part of my pastel-tools after a hard-learned lesson on how La Carte acts when it gets wet....I don't ever blow on the paper no more...with this brush I can get rid of access dust safely.
Here's a pic:

No more painting for me today, it's getting late in my part of the world. Hope to paint some tomorrow - that is if Geoff hasn't got his hands on the cherries by then....lol


04-04-2007, 12:49 AM

Waiting and watching.....


04-05-2007, 01:16 AM
i just found this ... and have to keep my eye on this ... great reference photo and fabulous job so far !!

04-05-2007, 01:43 AM
wow... this is going to be great!!! Can't wait to see it finished!

04-05-2007, 01:38 PM
Thats a good gadget Merethe, ahhhhhh yes Ive seen those........... will have to try and remember where lol

04-05-2007, 01:49 PM
oooh, this is a fun wip! love those cherries!

i use a blower too, something i also do not know the real name, i call it--please pardon my gross words here--the snot sucker! its one of those bulb thingies they give you in the hospital to 'blow' the nose of your newborn. works great in pastel too! oh, the inventiveness of us dusty ppl!!

04-05-2007, 02:07 PM
No more painting for me today, it's getting late in my part of the world. Hope to paint some tomorrow - that is if Geoff hasn't got his hands on the cherries by then....lol


Ah, but if you're very good, I'll give you the pips back - :evil:
Looking forward to seeing this finished. Unfortunately I'm going to be away for a while. Someone keep my armchair and high stool warm for when I get back.
(edit for spelling!)

Nancy Leone
04-05-2007, 11:26 PM
Those cherries are so realistic. Thanks for the wip.

04-06-2007, 05:51 AM
Merethe this is going to be very interesting to follow! I love your work. Sorry I haven't been around some time. Now I'm back! :D

Merethe T
04-09-2007, 07:36 AM
Cindy, Violet, Melanie, Dawn, Chewie, Geoff, Nancy and Dorte - thank you all for watching, and commenting - and for giving me a couple of good laughs...;)

Lol, gonna finish this up while Geoff is away, to avoid ending up with a foreground of pips.... ;) Would make a nice, realistic painting though... :D

Well, I'm back to painting again, have been away a couple of days myself. Here in Norway it is tradition to celebrate easter out in the woods or in the mountains, often skiing (which I don't,lol). But a couple of days out in the sun has been a really nice break from work.

I've painted a few more cherries, moving forward to the closer ones, slightly shifting the values. I'm not really aiming for photorealism when I paint, I'm trying not to get to caught up in details this time. I want deep, rich reds, and I try to keep the palette down to 6-7 different reds. I tend to drag out every color in the box when I paint, but I'm getting better at sticking to fewer colors. I'm gonna use some of the same reds in shadows and background - to tie the painting together. For highlights on the cherries I use a light blue, and pure white for the brightest parts.

I'm still a bit undecided what color to choose for the table - I was thinking of doing wood, but I keep leaning towards a light grey color, as I think I might want to keep some of the reflections from the photo. I haven't included all the stems in the painting, it looked a bit messy to me, so I draw them in or leave out some as I move forward.

Here's an update:

See you soon!


Donna T
04-09-2007, 08:07 AM
Wow Merethe, this is looking so good! You have done a great job on that plastic bag...how on earth do you do that?! The cherries are amazing - they have that glow that only cherries have. When I buy cherries some have stems on and some don't so I don't think you need to worry about not showing every stem. I'm curious as to how you will finish this!

Donna T

04-09-2007, 08:29 AM
hi Merethe, What a wonderful painting you are creating here! :clap::clap::clap: Tempting!

Pat Isaac
04-09-2007, 08:51 AM
Those cherries are really coming to life, tumbling out of the bag.


Merethe T
04-09-2007, 05:14 PM
Donna, Usha and Pat - thank you so much, glad to see you here!

Here's another update, been painting all day...:) Don't you just love days dedicated to only art? No work, no have-to-do-stuff - love it! :clap:

I finished the plastic bag and the cherries, may have some last finish-ups to do when the BG is done, but for the most part I think they are done. Here's a close up of the bag before blending:

I've used mostly greys and white, and a little bit of blue. I'm using Rembrandt GA's and W&N's for the bag, and a few Carbothellos for fine lines.
After blending this is how the bag looks:


I tried to do a background in light - medium grey, but I realized quickly that it wasn't going to work out as I wanted it too. It felt to cold, so instead I'm going for a wood table. I like it better, it gives a warm glow to the painting.
Downside is wood is not my strongest side, so I'm not really looking forward to this part...all the fun stuff is done, now all that's left is work, lol!
Have only put down a thin layer of ground colors for the wood now, I wanted to see if I could get some interesting shapes of light/shadow. This is only a basic layer, and will be adjusted when I start to work on the details of the wood.

Here's what it looks like now, with all the cherries done:


And a final pic in this update - just a close up of the foreground cherries:

Had to take the pics with flash, it's dark outside now...the colors are a bit colder in RL, and the wood won't be this intense in color when it's done.

See you soon! :)


04-09-2007, 06:45 PM
Hej Merethe !

Awsome work.
My favorite characteristic in your work is how you have managed to keep the cherries separated from each other, thus giving a real 3D feeling to all the painting.
Everything else is top notch.
Congratulations !

Kind regards,


bruce johnson
04-09-2007, 07:27 PM
Oh ...how I'm enjoying this WIP..amazing.. :clap: :thumbsup:

04-10-2007, 02:28 AM
Merethe!! this is stunning! I truly love your work!!

04-10-2007, 05:21 PM
I just need to borrow your cherries! :wink2: I want to make a pie! :) You wouldn't miss them would you! :D Seriously...They are so real!! Looks like they were fresh picked! Great work!:thumbsup:

04-10-2007, 06:37 PM
Hi Cravia love the picture. Reminds me of a nice summer day sitting in my garden eating cherries. They are so real looking I think the reds are gorgeous. Great work.

Jo Castillo
04-12-2007, 12:10 AM
This is so beautiful. You know I love red... Nice work.

04-12-2007, 10:37 AM
To be frank, AMAZING WORK! My question to me is when can I paint like this, may be in my dream!!!

04-13-2007, 02:45 AM
wow glad I waited to get in on this one. it would have be too hard to wait to see it get this far step by step, the cherries are very nice of course but what blew me away was the plastic bag, even with all the steps and closeups, I still can't see how you did it...you are certainly amazing! thanks for the demo!

04-13-2007, 04:50 AM
Just wonderful Merethe, those cherries are to die for!!!

04-13-2007, 09:36 AM
Oooh, this is awesome as always! I'm so glad I didn't discover this thread until now so I didn't have so long to wait to see the picture develop. ;)

04-13-2007, 11:06 AM
Right, I'm back - where's the cherries - I've a pip or two to put down !! :wave: :wave:

04-13-2007, 01:46 PM
This is becoming a beauty Merethe, looking forward to the finish.

04-13-2007, 03:24 PM
Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang. This is wonderful. Can't wait to see the wood grain you do. Wood scares me too, but I know you can do it!


Merethe T
04-18-2007, 02:12 PM
Wow, thank you all so much - I'm speachless, and blushing just a little bit....;)
I truly appreciate your encouragement!!

I'm getting close to done with this piece, forced myself to sit down and do the wood. I'm not sure I'm happy with it yet, but like I said earlier wood is not my strongest side...

I've worked in different browns over the first layer, indicating some lines here and there, and used a little turqoise some places. The turquise seem to add more realism to the wood, I like the effect.

Now I'm gonna let it sit for a bit, need to make up my mind on the upper right corner. I'm not sure I'll keep it as it is now - I might do an all black wall, lower the line behind the bag with a black stick, and darken the back shadow. I'm not totally satisfied with it now, I think maybe it draws a bit too much attention to it, and there's not really much going on back there....
I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions - what do you think?

Anyway, here it is close to done - thank you all for following this with me - I enjoyed it!! :)


04-18-2007, 02:34 PM
wow Merethe! I really think you should make that corner dark as you said, but other than that and lowering the line, don't change anything! It's wonderfull!!

Pat Isaac
04-18-2007, 03:15 PM
Excellent, excellent. I'd make a dark wall also to keep the focus on the cherries.


04-18-2007, 03:16 PM
Hi again,

This one was really painting tiny abstracts.
Confess ! :-)
Congratulations for such quality.

Kind regards,


CM Neidhofer
04-18-2007, 03:29 PM
This is just absolutely exquisite, Merethe. :clap: :clap: :clap: I think I would leave that back corner as it is, though. Right now the color carries through the colors of the cherries that are IN the bag. I think it gives the whole painting unity. Just my opinion though.


04-18-2007, 04:18 PM
Wow, this is truly remarkable! The bag looks so real, and the cherries, mmmmm!!!:D thumbs up, up, and up:thumbsup:

04-18-2007, 04:31 PM
Just amazing Merethe, thanks so much for sharing!


04-18-2007, 09:09 PM
truly beautiful and an interesting painting! The only very small thing I would suggest is to watch the woodgrain and keep it in line, although it may appear kind of bendy in real life, if you make it bendy in a painting it has the effect of making it look like there is an indent in the table, so I would just correct those swirls in the forefront, around the bulk of the cherries. Otherwise, perfecto!!

04-19-2007, 03:12 AM
Absolutely wonderful!! :thumbsup:

04-19-2007, 07:31 AM
Well done Merethe;
I'd darken the back corner a little, too. As for the wood grain - seems fine to me; does it matter if there's a little dent in it?.
As for the cherries. Any left over to eat ?

:clap: :clap: :wave:

Susan Borgas
04-19-2007, 07:44 AM
:clap: :clap: and another :clap: from me!!! I look and I learn and learn some more!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.

Ps.... just as well this Wip is coming to an end because Geoff might end up with a belly ache...:lol:

04-19-2007, 04:00 PM
*Book Marks* Wonderful work!!! :clap: what do you use for blending?

04-19-2007, 08:24 PM
Marvellous work, so well executed! :clap: :clap: I would really love some rich red cherries like that right now.......

Merethe T
04-20-2007, 05:17 AM
Thank you all for your enthusiasm and wonderful comments, I'm glad you like it! I haven't done anything yet, it's sitting on a shelf right now - I usually need a few days to "see it" again. There are some things to adjust, I'm gonna straighten up some lines, and probably go darker some places. Thanks for helping me see..... ;)

Chosen1 - I use my fingers for blending! I have a few color shapers, use it from time to time for small details and thin lines, but for the most part my fingers are my tools. For sharp edges I use pastel pencils for cleaning up.

Got some plums waiting on my easel, will leave the cherries in fear of giving Geoff a belly ache, lol!


04-20-2007, 12:47 PM
Unbelievable!!! What a test in patience this piece must have been.

Feel free to eat the entire bag of cherries - you deserved them.!!!
:) :clap: :thumbsup: :clap:

04-20-2007, 06:12 PM
This is breathtaking right down to that little bad spot on the cherry just coming out of the bag! I could look at this one forever and enjoy each look as much as the first! Very, very nice!


Merethe T
04-21-2007, 07:07 PM
Barb and Pat - thank you so much! It was a fun piece to do,and even more fun sharing it with you all! :)

04-22-2007, 05:08 AM
Thank you all for your enthusiasm and wonderful comments, I'm glad you like it! I haven't done anything yet, it's sitting on a shelf right now - I usually need a few days to "see it" again. There are some things to adjust, I'm gonna straighten up some lines, and probably go darker some places. Thanks for helping me see..... ;)

Chosen1 - I use my fingers for blending! I have a few color shapers, use it from time to time for small details and thin lines, but for the most part my fingers are my tools. For sharp edges I use pastel pencils for cleaning up.

Got some plums waiting on my easel, will leave the cherries in fear of giving Geoff a belly ache, lol!

PLUMS, did you say PLUMS - I love plums, lovely juicy, plums - bring it on !!!:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :wave: Geoff (drooling over the cherries in anticipation of another masterpiece !!).
Booking first row in my armchair.

Susan Borgas
04-22-2007, 07:40 PM
PLUMS, did you say PLUMS - I love plums, lovely juicy, plums - bring it on !!!


Merethe T
04-23-2007, 04:00 AM
Lol!! :lol: :p

04-24-2007, 05:31 PM
Merethe, I visit and lurk from time to time. Haven't been painting so don't feel as if I have much to contribute. BUT must say something as this still life was simply amazing! Loved every shot and your explainations, it was well presented. Thanks for sharing your talent and time! Your work is inspirational! Sharon

Merethe T
04-25-2007, 10:54 AM
Thank you Sharon, I'm glad you liked it! Nice to know this is inspirational, WC have been a great place to learn and get inspiration for me - glad to contribute myself... :)


06-11-2007, 10:01 AM
Hello Merethe...just caught this and was so impressed watching it unfold. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I didn't have time to read the comments so this may have already been suggested but I thought that with all of the exquisite detail of the bag and cherries that the tabletop needed to be either more detailed to match the rest of the work or entirely plain to act as a mere prop to support this wonderful detail. Being somewhere in between tends to draw the eye to it in it's oddity. It's well done just distracting and you certainly don't want the viewer's attention sliding away from your focal point.

Terrific!! :thumbsup:

Cheers, Dianna