lemons- an exercise in lots of interlocking and overlapping loops!

lemon 1

Today’s challenge was to draw something we’d eaten. Not sure how to tackle this at first..I’d eaten out the previous day and had risotto (not going to draw that) and if the purpose was to look carefully at the thing we were drawing, if we’d already eaten it we’d get an array of grimy empty plates.  I have a friend who is doing a series of works on her plates after she has eaten the meal – she works in embroidery, but I didn’t feel ready for that yet.

One of the other people doing this challenge had done a very luscious grapefruit, which looked really succulent.  I wanted to try to get this sense of liquid shimmer, so took two lemons, sliced one in half then took another thin sliver, and arranged them on a plate.  As I was passing my bay tree I nipped off a stem and added this to the array…I like Bay and lemon together, but this certainly added more complexity, especially with the shadows.

The challenge was to do this piece in fifteen minutes.  I set to, with the angled circles of the lemons and the plate sketched into a fine sifting of powder with a toothpick.  I then added a bit more powder and started on the interior of the lemons.  At this point I realised what a difficult set-up I had.  By having three cut surfaces of lemon visible I had to do a detailed drawing three times and each cut surface had to match!  By having a thin sliver of lemon I could also see through the slice to the layer underneath  – not a clear view but it did change the colour of the top surface.

I struggled, realised I’d never really looked at a lemon before, noticed how I could see the oil sacs in cross-section on the edge of the slices, and how the outside pores patterned the surface. The bay leaves were awkward as they pointed at various angles and cast dark shadows on the lemons – quite hard to make the shadow and the leaf look different and still be dark. By the time the fifteen minutes were up I had the beginnings of a sketch but I didn’t want to stop.  I took a photo at this stage and carried on.  I added a bit more powder to deepen shadows, and tried to get the plate to look like a plate.  Still not sure what to do on the edges of images.  I think it would be a lot easier to make these look like lemons by adding some yellow, so I’m firing this and might try tinting it in a second firing.  Several people have added colour to their sketches, and it certainly looks like a technique that is worth exploring.

lemon 2

Because I realised how little I knew my lemons I then did a pen sketch and added a bit of acrylic paint.  I had moved indoors to the warmth by this stage so the lighting and angles are different. Went a bit silly around the edge again – I should have stopped when the outer part of the image was just blank paper.  Clearly an area of design I need to put some thought into.

lemon sketch


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