Mango in situ.

by Gerard
(Brisbane Australia)



Mango in situ. 30x40cm Acrylics on canvas.

I choose to do this painting to try the Camera Lucida App on my iPad. The small size works well without having to use a complex setup for the iPad or having to trace the picture in segments.
I first traced in pencil using 6 shades of grey on the posterized photo. Then retraced the sketch freehand using indian ink.
Going over the initial pencil drawing helps a lot to learn and memorize the shapes. (see photo 1)

I then applied an imprimatura of raw sienna using my own adaptation for acrylics of Delmus Flemish method. The acrylics dry fast but using the Atelier interactive range mixed with their slow medium you have plenty of time to apply the wash and blend it. This particular paint can be reactivated using a water spray even after some hours. (see photo 2)

Moving on to the umber layer I had to resist the urge to add too much texture but still block the main shades. The original tracing is still visible under the thin umber washes. I didn't do too much blending between the shades. (see photo 3)

For dead grey layer I used a mixture of umber, forest green, sienna and crimson as I knew I would use these colours again in the later stages. I was worried about the lack of blending of the various bands of grey in the middle of the fruit. Working from a photo also produces a lot of blured objects in the background. (see photo 4)

I applied a few layers of thin colour. The artist quality paint is not cheap but the flemish method makes it more economical. I didn't use more than a couple of pea-sized blobs of each colour. I now am glad to have left the student quality behind. Using good paint certainly makes a difference.

At that stage I was very worried about the look of my mango. Some of the problems were blending green and red without making mud, finding a red mixture without making pink, and introducing the small yellow dots without making a pin cushion.
I was lucky that these variety of mangoes are in season around here (Queensland - Australia) and although not cheap at $4 each, we still buy them and eat them. The mango trees in the backyard only produce leaves and food for the fruit bats (flying foxes).

A final session to apply the white highlights and some dark shadows details and the picture suddently appeared. It's amazing to see how a painting can look so bad when unfinished and can change in the last 5 minutes. Time to sign it before doing too much to it. I had to resist the urge to add the rain drops and settled for a more characteristic sap stain.

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