Still Life Painting - How to Paint Fruits

Painting fruit may not be the most appealing idea in the world, but it’s something that every artist should try at least once when they take up oil painting instructions.

Start off by applying a base coat of paint to your canvas. The color that you choose is completely up to you, but if you don’t want your background to stand out too much, then pale grays and browns tend to work quite well.

Make sure that your base coat dries completely before starting with your subject. If you absolutely can’t wait the full week that it can take for oils to dry, then feel free to use acrylic for your base coat, which takes between 10 minutes and a day to dry completely.

You can’t start painting until you have something to paint, so grab a bowl, some fabric, and whatever fruits catch your attention. Honestly, you don’t need anything but the fruit, but if you want to make things interesting, you can add any other items that you would like. Set up your still life in a space that has good lighting and where it won’t be disturbed by people moving things, or eating your fruit.

If you are relying on the sun as your source of light, then remember that your shadows will move throughout the day and it will be best to confine your painting to the same time frame each day. It is better for beginners to use studio lighting (lamps). Arrange the fruit and the lights to cast interesting shadows on your still life. The use of lightings in still life will have a direct impact on your creations.

 colour buster

Now that you have your subject ready, study it closely. Notice the shapes that different colors and shadows make on the fruits. Where are the highlights, mid-tones and shadows in the entire composition? Are any pieces of fruit only one color? (This is very unlikely, often you will see browns and greens in bananas, reds and greens in granadilla, and so on.)

Once you can see the individual shapes in the still life, pick up piece of charcoal, or if you are feeling confident, your paintbrush. Sketch out the basic shapes that you see, remembering to include the shapes of shadows.

Start applying paint to the shapes on your canvas using colors as you see them in the composition. You can start with the darker colors and leave highlights until last, or work the other way around – you can always come back and add more shadows or highlights later, if you want to.

Painting in sections is often the easiest way to go. For instance, start with the painting of the apple, move onto the banana, then the paw-paw, and continue in this fashion until you’ve finished the painting.

Don’t worry if the colors that you use are darker or brighter than the colors in the real still life, this will simply make your painting appear bolder, brighter and more dramatic than reality; never a bad thing, and certainly an interesting touch to add to a painting of fruits.

If you happen to think, at some point, that your painting just looks like a big collection of blobs of paint, don’t let it cause you to abandon your painting. From further away, these “blobs” tend to blend into each other, forming a bright, smooth image which is perfectly easy to identify.

Add details as you notice them, to really bring your painting to life.

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