Observational painting practice - 10 minute apples

I am always wanting to improve and learn new things when it comes to art. I usually paint from photographs for reference but I want to learn more about drawing and painting from life.

There is something so challenging about working from a realtime subject, the lighting changes and the perspective changes as you tilt your head. But as the impressionists found out, there are some colours and observations you can only make from life and not from a photograph. For example a photograph will flatten the colours out within shadows and detail is lost, detail that our eyes can see.

So I wanted to start simple with some quick observational paintings at home. I can’t take credit for this exercise as it was one I read in the book Daily painting by Carol Marine. She is a master at daily painting and paints mostly still lifes from life in her studio. I found her book very inspiring and she gives lots of handy tips she has discovered along her art career.

10 Minute Apples:

Setup your painting surface with 8 or more small squares. Light your apple dramatically and set the timer. Sketch and paint the apple in your first space. When the timer goes off - stop and don't go back to fix anything (as temping as it is I know!). Then change the angle, maybe even the lighting and paint it again mixing up the compositions as you go.

With the pressure of time it forces us to simplify the shapes and focus on conveying the most important things. Looking back I could reduce my brushstrokes even further (I can't help but pop some detail in!). Give it a go it’s so much fun!

My 10 minute apples.

My 10 minute apples.

If you are interested in Carol Marine's book it is available on Amazon here.