Blueberries_web

Painted January 18, 2016.  Oil on board, 5×7.
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Blueberries always remind me of summer.  There is a patch of forest in Upstate New York that has some of the best wild blueberry picking you’ll come across. We try to come out there every year in July when the blueberries are ripe and have our fill, as well as gather enough for pies and pancakes.  Sadly, these did not come from that patch, but from a store.  Still, they remind me of summer on this cold winter day.

I have not done this in a while, but I decided to document my painting process for this painting.  Below is a sped up painting demo video. I used Titanium White, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Ivory Black, and Ultramarine Blue.

I begin my paintings by mixing up some dark color with a lot of linseed oil and using that to do an initial oil sketch.  In this case, I used ultramarine blue and burnt umber.

Once I block out my basic shapes, I begin to block out the shadows.  In this case, it was the right edge of the blueberry pile, the bottom right of the little bowl, and the front edge of the table.  Exact colors are not crucial, the focus in this stage is still on values.

Next, I fill in the background and other large areas. It’s always tempting to jump into your subject and get into the details, but you shouldn’t do that too early. With the background color in for reference, it’s a lot easier to establish the colors and values of the main subject. It’s also much easier to paint over the background color, than trying to go around your subject, trying not to mess it up.

Once I have some paint on most areas of my board, I’m ready to start getting into some details.  I lay down the light blue color of the berries, where they are facing the light.  This is not the brightest light yet.

From here, I work on some key details.  At this point, I have just about every color on my palate, and about 5 brushes with different colors on them.  This makes it really easy to fine tune the details.  The things that really crystalize the painting and make it look finished are the darkest darks, the bright highlights and some key edges.  For these I usually use a finer brush and try to get them nice and crisp.  If there is a crips edge and a clear definition of where objects touch each other, the rest of the wild brush strokes will make sense.

Enjoy the video, and leave a comment to let me know if you’d like to see more of these kids of posts and videos.