Monday, February 20, 2012

Grapes In Winter

Once again I turned to the supermarket for another subject to draw. This time, however, I was inspired by Jess's wonderful grapes at Inky Leaves as well as memories of a July trip to a local winery with my best friend.

While we were there, strolling through the vineyard, I knew that I wanted to do a study but had no art supplies with me that day. So I put the idea on the proverbial back burner and decided that I would do one in the future. Of course, I forgot about them until recently.

Fueled with some inspiration, I found a nice cluster of plump green grapes at the market. My first challenge was setting them up. I knew I needed to suspend them to get the views that I wanted but this proved more difficult than I could have imagined. I was struck by how heavy they were but figured that I could use some string to hoist them up and anchor that with something. The contraption I came up with, a box that I used to pull the string across and secure underneath to hold the fruit, lasted all of about 5 minutes before the grapes started dropping. Working at an uncomfortably fast speed, I got the over all shape of the cluster on transfer paper before losing a sizable portion of the arrangement. Consequently, I had to hold the grapes with my left hand as I finished sketching with my right. I do not recommend doing this by any means but I needed to keep the drawing accurate and true to the view that I started sketching from. That seemed to be my best option. With grapes still dropping ( and getting rather sticky), I placed them side by side with my drawing and began the more detailed tonal under drawing.

Here's the graduation of values (above pic) with Dark Sepia on the cluster.

(and the illustration after more layering)

I spent a good part of Monday afternoon layering Chrome Oxide green, Permanent Green Olive, Earth Green Yellowish, Light Yellow Ochre, and some Burnt Sienna for the browning discoloration. Thankfully, I had just enough Chrome Oxide to darken in the darkest values. The waiting game is on before my Dick Blick shipment of more pencils arrives with some essential colors. Then I can hopefully finish this piece by the weekend.


  1. It happens to us all doesn't it? Subjects have a tenedency not to behave but you have got a really lovely drawing here. cannot wait to see how it goes, hurry up postie!

  2. Indeed it does. I was getting so frustrated with this one- nearly gave up the ghost but decided to tough it out. I'm impatiently waiting for those pencils, though...Until then, I can do more layering today with what I have on hand.