I realized that there are several artwork pieces that I just haven’t included making of posts for; in fact there is quite a back log. The Lemons oil painting is one of those artworks that I never got around to writing about how I painted it. Not everyone likes to see how a painting is made, but I love writing these posts as a sort of self-reflection. I remember when I first started learning, I would often browse the blogs of artists I admire to learn how they painted.
I decided to start with the details for this painting. Many artists start with backgrounds, but since I am still fairly new at oils I wanted to focus on building skills. I also realized that if I painted the entirety of the background I would need to wait for it to dry so as to not smudge or mix paint into the edges of the lemons.
Rather than using black, I mixed red into the greens to help dull them and darken for the shadows.
I started painting the lemons. Whilst the photo isn’t that great, you can still see that this base layer didn’t use just a solid yellow; there are mixtures of green, orange, and neutral grey-yellows.
Once the base layers are down, I started to focus on the tonal values a bit more. I have since learnt that its better to build your darks in earlier steps of oil paintings. This was one of my first times ever putting oil to canvas.
Finally I painted the background. I didn’t want anything distracting, so I opted for a neutral purple color. The purple, being a complimentary color to yellow, will help the lemons pop.