Still life study of red onion

still life study of red onion Mar-6-2019
Still life with diffused lighting

Study topics

3-value plan; monochromatic block-in with greys; color block-in with large brush

Process notes

Set up a red onion against a natural colored linen fabric, with diffused indirect lighting. After doing a sketch and establishing the value structure, blocked in the subject on the panel with deep, medium, and light Portland Greys.

Color palette: ultramarine blue, naphthol red, cadmium yellow light hue, titanium white

Brushes: hog bristle bright size 12 and filbert size 4; Ivory rigger size 2

The panel I used was one I had made by securing a piece of cotton duck canvas to a piece of masonite, then applying a few coats of acrylic gesso sanded smooth after each coat.

What I learned

I was so surprised at the impact of using a large size 12 brush on this small 6×8 panel — it really helped prevent me from making lots of picky little strokes and made a stronger effect. I saved the smaller filbert for details and that worked well.

While it was much harder to discern the shadow family from the light family, I liked the softer look of the diffused lighting.

Blocking it in with greys was interesting…in some ways it felt like an extra step that isn’t necessary on a small study, but it also helped me separate color from value and have a more clear road map. It would be worth exploring some more, with different underpainting colors to see what I like in different scenarios.

I also liked painting on this canvas panel a lot. It works well with the bristle brushes and the texture makes me happy.