Two Apples and a Lemon

I am getting a bit ‘appled’ and ‘lemoned’ out here: tired of drawing this kind of fruit without much improvement.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

Up to now, I’ve been using dilutions of watercolors to give me the different strengths of colors: undiluted for the darkest of color and very diluted for the lighter colors. For the lightest colors I use paper white meaning: I leave the paper blank and don’t paint any color at all.

Today I used the same technique except for the lemon. Here is the reference photograph:

Photograph: Two Apples and a Lemon

Reference Photo

You see my problem? The darkest yellow that I could paint will not equal the yellow of the lemon in shadow. In my days of painting color strips, I also painted variations of colors adding lamp black and titanium white in measured amounts to create a chart of the color gradually desaturating to black and brightening to white, respectively. Yellow is a color that is very sensitive to the addition of black. Adding just a little black desaturates it quite a bit.

Here is today’s watercolor composition with my lemon, desaturated by black in the shadows:

Watercolor: Two Apples and a Lemon

Two Apples and a Lemon
11″x14″ 90# Cold Pressed Watercolor Pad

It didn’t quite make it. It looks like a sickly albino watermelon in front of an inside-out watermelon, both in the presence of a gigantic Fuji apple. Instead of getting the lumpiness, obvious in the photograph, my lemon just looks dirty. I didn’t keep enough highlights in the lower foreground. You can plainly see that in the reference photo.

Today’s composition was my own deviation from the book I have been following: You Can Paint Vibrant Watercolors in Twelve Easy Lessons by Yuko Nagayama. I didn’t further the cause of vibrant watercolors so tomorrow it will be back to the drawing board and the next lesson.

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