Oh Grapes, what a bunch of …

7 Feb

Grapes … little globular morsels of delight that birthed the nectar of the gods.  One of my personal favourite fruits and also seemingly a well loved subject for still life painters. I started painting the grapes onto my square 20 x 20 canvas about the same time as I did the mangosteen one.

It was fairly easy to find pictures on the net as reference.  Perhaps too easy…  Its relative popularity also made the process of painting more difficult for me.  The cause is mainly psychological.  Instead of being of assistance in instruction to me, I just felt pretty much overwhelmed as there were so many FANTASTIC paintings out there! Classical ones, red ones, purple ones, green ones, ones on vines, ones in glass bowls, ones falling from the sky (no not really, not this time).

Sigh, I felt I wasn’t doing a good enough job on my little painting!

Anyway, it has come to a point of no return for me and my little grape-y bunch… The law of diminishing returns has kicked in as much as my brushstrokes were concerned and it was time to desist.  Ding ding ding, time’s over, put your pens DOWN….

So…. well…. here it is… *breath withheld*

Grapes Copyright 2011

*deflated breath*

I’m still not 100% pleased with it. I’d agonised over the painting for quite a while and I did document the process this time round. I just thought I’ll share the evolution and what went wrong, and what I’ve learnt.

Photo of the grapes I set up for the painting

I took of a bunch of grapes I happened to find in the fridge, picking the best bunch I could find. That was the easiest part of the process.  Then it got complicated.

Complication #1:

I was using my mobile phone camera to take the photo and as you can see, the light source was from my camera (i.e. frontal).  This is a hard angle to paint!  You can’t tell where to put shadows and the light is simply not helping.  It would be much better to use a clear directional light source from the side, or simply choose one when drawing.  As to why I did not do so in the beginning… well, boils down to inexperience I guess.

Complication #2:

I very smartly (or so I thought) elevated the grapes over a coaster, thinking it would make the grapes look nicer.  And I placed it on a kitchen towel because I wanted to keep the grapes clean for later consumption.  Thus done, I sketched the grapes sans coaster, sans kitchen towel and happily proceeded to paint grapes.  The results made a friend comment “EH, your grapes like floating hor?”. Arranging a still life is an ART I tell you!!! And I sabotaged myself.

Kua Kua Kuaaaaa…. FAIL!

Fortunately, no photos were taken of my initial draft. So, no casualty! 🙂

Thereafter, I decided I had to make some drastic changes to the painting.  I changed the background colour and added the “coaster” and “kitchen towel” into the composition. To my dismay…

Grapes... Take 2!

… my grapes were no longer flying but a-tumbling down instead!!  Argh.

After I declared a total and absolute defeat with sketching by myself, it was time to bring in the high tech weaponry.  If Photoshop can paint, so can I!

I drew an outline of the photo on a piece of transparency paper, scanned that, and superimposed it onto the painting like this…


and TADAH~! I can now see what is off alignment! Cheat-o-logy! Hahahha…

With my “stencil” in place, I fixed the placement and proportion of the grapes and its surroundings.  I had to overhaul the colour of my grapes as I had forgotten how I mixed the colour of the previous grapes… DURH!

Ah well… I hope I did enough to make it look decent enough as a gift.  One day I WILL have enough skill to do it by my own hands… till then, I hope my friend likes it!

8 Responses to “Oh Grapes, what a bunch of …”

  1. XiuJia`` February 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    The grapes look very nice. 😀

  2. Rui February 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    I like the way you think, fixing the painting with the power of technology. I’m sure one day you will be able to paint one that you are 101% happy with, without any help.

  3. 宇晗 February 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Thank you gals! 🙂

  4. XiuJia`` February 11, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Hann.. before you get famous like your grandpa, could u also draw something for me since I’m your new BFF. LOL. 😀

    • 宇晗 February 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

      LOL! Jia, if you like, you shall have first choice of one of my completed paintings. 🙂 Consider it a bday present too! Heehee.


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