The fruits that I sequestered into my little painting area are about to go. I’ve had a great time looking at them. Starting with the apples and oranges, I moved on to more exotic-looking ones: mangos, guavas, misshapen kiwis, Korean melons, horned melons also called kiwanos, and even the elusive dragonfruit. I even included a colorful butternut squash in the mix.
By trying to draw these beautiful fruits, I re-kindled my sense of wonder. Drawing requires observation. Sketching outlines allows me to transfer the three-dimensional image that is projected onto my two dimensional retinae back onto a two dimensional piece of paper.
The signals from my optic nerves transfer visual information to my brain. Since my retinae are set apart by the distance between my eyes, each contains a slightly different image. My brain combines the two images into one, an image that I perceived in three dimensions.
Drawing is the reverse process of seeing. I try to get my hands and eyes to work together as agents of my brain. Their mission (which they must accept) is to replicate the brain-processed, three-dimensional image back onto the two dimensional surface of the paper – in essence recovering my retinal images in cyclopean form.
Basic drawing is for me, the process by which I more fully understands how something looks.
Color is an added dimension to outline and shading that is the stock and trade of drawing. It is really difficult trying to match a watercolor with an actual color. There are infinitesimal differences in color that could be due to lighting, shadow, reflection, or pigmentation changes in the subject.
I noticed that the color and surface texture of some of the fruit I painted changed during the time I was painting… Just as the surface of a cut apple turns brown with time.
For today’s watercolor experiment, I revisit the star fruit that I painted the other day. It changed color drastically during the week or so it was in my studio, from a yellow green to completely yellow. Shades of yellow are difficult, to achieve.
I cut the star fruit coronally, to reveal the star-shaped cross section. Some of the yellows were translucent, showing a depth beyond the cut surface.
This portrait of the aged star fruit doesn’t seem quite dignified. It is more like a cartoon representation of two pretend stars, a mommy star and a baby star perhaps. I did not seem to capture the translucence to show there was depth under the cut surface – the same depth one can see in the surface of a cut lemon.
More practice necessary – but it will have to be a different starfruit.