Media: Watercolour

I’ve just painted some fruit using watercolour and though I’d make notes on the medium itself.

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This Aubergine was painted quickly to test the textures of watercolour as a way to represent vegetables. In this case I am looking at representing ‘shine’ which I’ve identified as being a positive addition to some foods – ‘shine’ can mean ‘not rotten’.

I painted blue first then ‘Rose Madder’ over the top but avoiding the areas where I wanted the shine to appear. Because this is watercolour the underlaying blue was re-activated and mixed with the pinker colour to produce a more Aubergine-like colour.

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Later I experimented with using just water on the brush to soften the transition between the darker and shiny areas. This worked quite well in real life but does not show up so much in the second photo above.It got rid of the dark line around the area – an accumulation of pigment which I suspect is common in watercolour use.

I find water colour paints quite frustrating to manage because they need endless areas for mixing and diluting. This would be less of a problem if my workspace was bigger. But it’s not.

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I tried a tomato starting with ‘Rose Madder’ then adding ‘Bright Red’ from the outside inwards. The image here shows distinct transitions in colour but that’s less obvious in the real painting. The blending works well for this large circle as it is easier to minimise the visible brushstrokes by just going around and around.

Overall the watercolours are good at producing vivid colour for fruit and veg. If I take more time and care with the process I think the unwanted artefacts (which may come across as bruised produce in these images) could be minimised.

Some other thoughts on watercolours: would using different water improve the use? Distilled water perhaps? I don’t have a good range of brushes except ‘Hog hair’ ones at the moment – perhaps synthetic or sable/squirrel would effect the resulting brush marks left.


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