Red-on-red, step-by-stepPosted: October 7, 2020
I took process shots while painting these hot peppers because it was a watercolour challenge for me. Red peppers on a red cloth. What gets painted first? The red subject or the red background?
In this experiment, I decided to try painting the background first. The cloth is a deep crimson, so I used mostly Alizarin Crimson mixed with a bit of Cobalt Blue in places. I used a 1″ flat brush that carries a lot of wash and has a good edge. I mixed up enough paint in a big puddle so that I wouldn’t have to make more wash while painting.
Next I painted the peppers. For these I used mostly Cadmium Red, mixed with a little Hansa Yellow for the light parts, and Alizarin for the shadow sides. I left the white of the paper for the shiny highlights on the peppers.
The green pepper and the stems were painted with a mixture of Hansa Yellow and Prussian Blue. I wanted to choose a blue that made a nice bright green, and this worked well.
The last steps are adding the shadows on the cloth. Here’s the trick with this: if you paint the cloth too dark to start with, you won’t see the shadows, so paint this a little lighter than it was. Reds are tricky. Also, make sure your background is dry so your shadows remain sharp.
This is the final, scanned version of the sketch. The previous images are photos of the sketch on my easel.