Saturday, February 11, 2012

Art Class Instruction

(These are directions for the students in the art class I teach at our homeschool co-op. The class is so short that we weren't able to finish our painting. If you are a regular reader, enjoy a free painting lesson (or come back another day)!)

Art Techniques Class #1: Fruit Still Life

Class Lessons Recap:

1. Hold your paintbrush not like a pencil, but more up and down so the bristles sweep front to back, not to the side.

2. Use a LOT of paint as the low humidity we have here will dry your paint very quickly.

3. Usually, paint objects that are in the background first, then paint the ones in front.

4. Apply one THICK coat of the base color to the entire fruit, quickly. Before it dries, add the lighter color to the left side (highlighted side) and then the darker color to the right side (shadowed side).

5. When adding highlight/shadow colors, do not blend the new colors all the way across the fruit or your fruit will be one color again.

6. If you add too much light or dark color, add some more base color to the fruit and blend in with the other paint that you have too much of.

7. If you get frustrated, STOP. Move on to another piece of fruit, or try again later. After the acrylic dries, you can paint right over any mistakes you've made.

8. If your paint gets too thick and the canvas gets muddy, let it dry completely and then start again where you left off.

The orange:

1. Begin with a base coat of orange all over.

2. Add some white to the left side, blending toward the middle in sweeping, curved strokes that match the shape of the orange.

3. Wipe your brush (do not rinse). Add some pure orange to the right (shadow) side of the fruit. You can also add a small amount of brown to the right side as well.

4. Swipe one thin line of white along the left side to show light reflection.

5. Add a small, starfish shaped stem to the top of the orange (off to one side).

The lime:

1. Start with a base coat of green and a small amount of yellow.

2. Blend in a small amount of white to the left side of the fruit.

3. Add a small amount of green to the right side.

4. Put a very small, half circle of brown at the top and bottom of the fruit to show the stem/flower attachments.

5. Add a thin swipe of white to the left side to show light reflection.

The grapes:

1. Start with the whole grapes in the front.

2. Work on one grape at a time, starting with a mix of purple, red, and blue.

3. Add more purple to the left side to highlight.

4. Add a small amount of blue to the right side to show shadow.

5. For the grapes behind the front grapes, use less purple and more blue/red so they will be darker. Still add a small amount of purple to the left side, and more blue to the right side.

6. Try to change the exact colors you use for each grape. Make some more red, others more blue, others more purple. Grapes have natural color variation.

7. Add a swipe of white to the left side of each grape (in the shape of the grape) to show light reflection.

8. Pick up both brown and green for the stem of the grapes. Add more green to the left side, more brown to the right.

9. Add in a few more small sightings of stem throughout the bunch.

The banana:

1. Start with a base coat of yellow.

2. Add more white to the top and left side of banana (but not up to the exact left side, because the banana curves away from the viewer and so will be darker).

3. Add a brown line down the middle of the banana, then blend down toward the bottom of the banana (adding more pure yellow if needed).

4. Add a small amount of yellow with a touch of green along the banana.

5. Add brown to the top and bottom of the banana to show the ends of the banana.

6. Add a swipe of white to the left to show light reflection.

The apple:

1. Start with base coat of red.

2. Add white to the left side of the fruit, just a little bit!! Blend in toward the center of the apple in curving brush strokes.

3. Add blue to the right side of the apple to show shadow. If your red has dried, add more red to blend in with the blue. Do NOT blend the blue farther than 1/3 of the way across the apple.

4. Add a stem using brown and a bit of green.

5. Add a swipe of white to show reflection.

The Shadow:

I don't think we sent any black home with you. If you do have black acrylic paint at home, here is how you do the shadow that is below the fruit grouping: (If you don't have black paint, I can send some home with you next class)

1. Put a small amount of black on your palette (plate, etc). Dip your brush into water and then mix with a small dip of black paint.

2. Keep adding more water until your black is very watery. I mean, super watery. It's better for it to be too watery than too thick.

3. Using the watered-down black, follow along the bottom of each piece of fruit, blending out away from the fruit until your brush is dry. Work in one section at a time.

4. Remember, the light source is to the left, so the shadows will fall to the right!

5. Extend the shadow 1/2" or so away from the fruit, following the shape of the fruit.

6. If your shadow is not dark enough, keep adding more washes of the watered down black until the shadow is as dark as you want it.


Add your signature to the bottom right or left corner of your canvas. (I use a fancy way of writing my initials.)

I hope this tutorial will help you finish your painting. I will try to make sure that the next painting we do will be faster!!

I had fun in class today. See you next month: Landscapes!