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The Pear, Underpainting Experiment..

The mighty pear. The most underrated fruit today in my opinion. I am sure if I polled individuals on here they probably would be able to tell me the exact number of times they have eaten one. This pear painting was more difficult than I initially expected. It was similar to the tomatoes. I took my time on this one making sure I was mixing the colors just right. What you can't see are all the mistakes I initially made. I pulled the paint off so many times as I just wasn't feeling the colors that I mixed were correct. The brush strokes also bothered me. Pears tend to be a yellowish green with a little subtle tint of blue (depends on the type of light shone on them). Here, I was experimenting with underpainting.

The Subject - Pears obtained from a local grower.

From what I am learning the best underpainting color is one that is a compliment to the main color of your painting. This is called a complementary color. Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.The Subtle Pears; 8 x 8 in; oil on canvas - Second and Final in a series Examples of this would be blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple, etc. Complementary color schemes create a high amount of contrast but can create a lot of visual vibration when they are used at full saturation.

The Basic Color Wheel

For pears, a good complementary color would be violet (see my take 2 painting) for the underpainting. For my 'take 1' painting I choose blue which would be a close analogous color to that of violet. Does this make any difference with the end result?

'Take 1' with blue underpainting - sketch

The Pears - 6 x 6 in; oil on canvas - First in a series

Now for 'take 2'...with a light purple on the background (true complement to the green of the pears).

'Take 2' with a violet underpainting - sketch

The Subtle Pears; 8 x 8 in; oil on canvas - Second and Final in a series

With all these pictures, photos seem to not do them justice in being able to convey the spectrums of the yellows and greens seen in the pears. The side by side comparison photo does help with showing the vast differences between each underpainting (see below).

From this experiment, I feel the underpainting does, in fact, make the painting mood different. With the violet (the truest compliment of yellow/green) the shadows are much darker and compliment the yellow-green of the pear. The first painting with blue does shine through but mimics what I learned in a previous post. Both are vast differences.

For my next trial I will try and experiment again with the underpainting, but choose to allow most of it to show through. We will have to see how it goes.

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Thanks for reading!

Side by side comparison of contrast

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