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Red pepper

Fruit and veg are usually a favourite in a still life painting because of their colour and interesting form. I wanted to go over some of the stages that you might encounter on one of these paintings.

Once I have established the contour of the bowl and pepper, I begin blocking in some colours to try and establish the shape. I love this stage because all the brushwork is loose. The idea is to have blocks of dark, mid tone and light areas that give a sculptural aspect to the painted shapes.

The colours are an approximation and what interests me most is getting the illusion of where objects are located. The relationship of one colour value (how dark or light it is) against another is important to maintain this.

As I look at the colours I try and minimize the differences (between the green stem and the flesh of the pepper for example) because I know how the light falling on both is the same, and so the colour will also be similar.

Bright colours are more vibrant and will distort the shape of a painted object if I'm not careful but still, I can never resist using them!

Here I was in a battle between painting what I saw and what made for a better painting. Although the bowl and table top where fairly accurate I feel that I prefer the stronger contrast of the previous version and so I'll have to spend some time on that. Although the pepper is the star of the show, it might be the shadows that have more of an effect on the composition, and so are just as important.

I will be dealing with the advantages and dangers of using resource images or photos as models for painting since cameras interpret colour in their own way and often flatten forms. The effect can be that the initial blocking of shapes of different values, at the beginning of the process, is made harder.

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