I did this painting for a W/C Studio challenge and photographed it step by step, especially to show the importance of Negative Painting.
14x10 on 140# stretched arches CP
This is my messy palette and the brushes I use. All flats— 1”, 1/2”, 1/4” natural hair of unknown origin (probably squirrel) and 3/4 and 1/8 inch synthetics, and a small round for small details (not shown).
Colors around my palette from L to R: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Lemon Yellow, New Gamboge, Indian Yellow, Permanent Orange, English Red, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Red, Ivory Black, Windsor Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue,Cerulean Blue, Pthalo Blue, Pthalo Green, Hookers Green.These colors remain on my palette, but I seldom use more than seven or eight in one painting.
For this demo, I used Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna, New Gamboge, Lemon Yellow, Orange, Perm. Rose, Windsor Violet, Ultramarine Blue, and Hookers Green.
reference photo from the Reference Image LIBRARY
I start wwith a light wash of blue on the shadow side of the figure and a light wash of Indian Yellow on the shadow side some of the fruit— just to establish a light source and direction.
After that is completely dry, I add the first wash of the flesh (burnt sienna) and do some darker blue on the head piece. You can layer colors like this without getting mud, as long as you use the same color for each wash. Use a soft brush and be sure the first wash is completely dry.
I do a second wash of darker blue in the shadow areas. When dry, I do the darker shadows of the flesh—mostly burnt sienna with a touch of blue.
I paint the tree trunk with burnt sienna and ultramarine blue using plenty of water and letting the colors mix on the paper. Most beginners paint too dry— You must paint wet to get those interesting blends.
Next comes the fun part: The negative painting. I put a big wet mid tone wash of green over the background using hookers green, raw sienna, new gamboge, and ultramarine— again letting the colors mix on the paper. Notice how that mid tone makes the sunny look. Any color would work. I chose green because I’m going to turn it into foliage.
Note that what I painted AROUND the figure (negative painting) is just as important as what I painted ON the figure.
More negative painting— I created the feeling of leaves by painting a darker green AROUND them.
I do the first light washes on the fruit and begin to give them form by painting the shadow side darker. Remember to have the light coming from ONE source.
I add a cast shadow of lavender-blue over part of the table and fruit. This adds more of the sunny look I’m after. But it took a lot of nerve to lay that wash over the fruit that I thought looked pretty good. However, it worked. Notice how the shadow falling over the green bananas gives them shape and form.
More negative painting at the bottom turns that area into leaves.
A little more modeling of the fruit and touch up here and there. I'll look at it for a few days to see if I want to make any changes. I already know that I want to soften that dark llne under the neck and chin.