Assignment 6 of the Society of Botanical Artist’s Distance Learning Diploma involved painting a fruit of our choosing. I really struggled with my choice of fruit in my head, but as soon as I got out into the farmer’s markerts/farm shops I was instantly stuck by these pomegranates. They were so bright and I just had to paint them.
I knew that I wanted to do something slightly different with the composition, but, as usual, I didn’t leave myself nearly enough time to complete the piece to the standard I aim for. I knew that my composition had to be restricted to only one fruit (rather than a study of multiple pomegranates). I had to be inventive with just 1 pomegranate, showing all the aspects of the fruit that I could…
I got out my kitchen knife and you can see the results below! Choosing the composition was quite difficult.
As I mentioned above, to say there was a pressure of time is a huge understatement, but it was entirely my own fault so I just had to plow on.
I did do one small study, but basically I just dove in, I had to… I started work first on the main bulk of the skin, using varying mixes of Quinacridone Rose (Daniel Smith), Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Scarlet Lake (all Windsor & Newton) and a concoction of browns/yellows. I laid down a number washes to build up the depth of colour using the wet-in-wet technique. I did try and give the impression of the textured skin even at this stage.
I then started to add more texture to the skin using the dry-brush technique. Also adding form to the fruit at the same time (shadow and highlight)
Next I went onto the seeds. These I did do some practicing, as it was really important to capture the highlights, the translucency with the inner seed inside, as well as the bright pink colour.
The next part I had to work on was the twirl of skin. The outer part was just a continuation of the process I had used for the main bulk of the skin, but the inner pith required a mix of a botanical grey, with some yellow ochre, really trying to demonstrate the texture inside where the seeds lie.
The Final Piece
The feedback I received was generally good, which I was very surprised about but obviously very pleased. The main critique was from the ‘line’ component, which I actually completely agreed with. It appeared that the way the skin fell to the left hand side of the fruit wasn’t quite believable. This was in fact how it did fall, but I do agree that it would make more sense to the eye to have it coming from slightly higher up.
I received a mark of 9.15 for this piece…
…onto vegetables now. With lots of time….