More Bananas

Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes. But practice must also have a goal.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I liked yesterday’s bunch of bananas except that the sketch was a bit confusing, if examined closely. The ‘wild’ banana’s left end didn’t match up that nicely with the stem. So today’s goal was to draw less ambiguously. I also thought that the pencil I used (a decidedly un-artsy pencil, left over from my days as a US Census enumerator) was too soft.  Today I used a pencil with harder graphite.

Here is my reference photograph:

Photograph: Bananas - Reference Photo

Reference Photo

Here is my sketch:

Sketch: Bananas

As per Ms. Nagayama (from her book, You Can Paint Vibrant Watercolors in Twelve Easy Lessons), I began by painting the lighter colors. I dabbed in the shadowy areas lightly as well.

Watercolor: Bananas - Light Colors

Bananas – Light Tones and Shadows Roughed In

Finally, I darkened the dark places and tried to keep the highlights bright. I used the recommended colors: lemon yellow, yellow deep (an orange-tinted yellow), permanent green #1 (Holbein), burnt umber and mineral violet (also Holbein).

My final watercolor rendition (if I don’t work it over any more) is just a darker version of the above figure (with some added burnt umber marks to indicate bruising).

Watercolor: Bananas

11″x14″ 90# Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

I’m not sure I like this rendition, although I must admit that the real-life bananas are also unremarkable. I could exercise my artistic license and add banana-ish colors where I think they should go (for example a deep orange tint on the bright parts and extra green to indicate a youthful banana  appearance. I suppose that is my prerogative. After all, how else would I paint a ‘Vibrant Watercolor’ from a non-vibrant subject?

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