"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

Assignment 7 - Fruit Study ...

Physalis peruviana, Cape Gooseberry

I loved painting this generous plant with such healthy fruits and I really have a soft spot for it now.  I have to say though I am very glad this assignment is off my table.   Summer in Western Australia is often pretty tough when the hottest days come ... but the last week has been a record breaking heatwave.  I know many of you understand how difficult it is to paint in the extremes of weather ...  thankfully so many other elements went pretty smoothly for me ...

When I last posted here the first branch had been composed and painted ... now it was time to paint the larger papery calyx and the little fruits with one undressing by peeling off the calyx .... well trickier than I thought it would be because of our late rains and then strong heat - the fruits were either too small or too ripe so the colours were a little richer than usual.

  My photos don't help in reflecting that because neither camera seems to interpret the colour in my botanical artworks accurately!
I like to check the tones by changing a photo of the artwork to black and white to make sure I have enough highlights and depth.
I really like the effect it creates and helps me to see I'm on track.

I then had to bring in the left hand side branch ... after referring to initial sketches and options, using the drawing on the tracing paper to position makes it easy to see it will all fit together ...

 First washes going on .... wanting to include more Cape Gooseberries to show the variety in colour a little more ...

Two more little fruits added ... it's starting to look like my theatrical production with the archway of the stage proscenium ... the leaf on the left branch bowing to the performers, the little flower watching on and the younger fruits waiting to be centre stage with the very ripe trio ....
Well - when you work a long time on an artwork and the heat starts to bother you - it gets a bit stir crazy and the subject develops a personality of its own ...

Now I am hoping my artwork is with my tutor ... in a much cooler climate in the UK - away from clammy arms and sweating brow .... and hoping for a good reception.


  1. Great to see the process Vicki. I hope it gets to the UK safely too. I will be sending positive vibes! Well done on a beautifully delicate and integrated painting. Lovely!

  2. Beautiful work, Vicki! Love the composition! Fabulous!

  3. This piece is really scrumptious and I love to see your progression. I am sure it will be well received and wish you all the best for a good mark.

  4. Yes, painting in extreme weather is hard, how do you cope with painting in hot and DRY weather with watercolour? It's a new challange for me here in Australia..
    Anyway good luck with the assignment!

  5. hi Vicki - I am just starting on SBA assignment one...your blog has been a wonderful encouragement when I have got the collywobbles and think I am mad to do this. Love all your tips but wonder how your sketch book is - are they meant to be real - ie a bit messy with the odd cherry mixed in with the b&w work? or a collection of preparatory works and colour notes etc..stuck in to impress...
    Love your posts - they are great

  6. Thank you Jessica, Alena, Jarnie and Matteo ... it landed in UK safely and I received very good marks - still always room for improvement.
    Hi Bridgetjane - thank you so much for your lovely comments - I hope it helps you - it's pretty difficult doing this alone. My sketchbook is very scrappy with bits and pieces stuck into it but I am trying to use it more and be better organised as they will assess it on completion.
    Please join us on the SBA DLDC Facebook group - we did get your request and would love to have you with us - so many questions are answered there.

  7. I love your work. Brava ...you are going on improving . I find that composition is very well balance and you are really becoming a clever Botanical Artist. Ciao

  8. Thank you Renata ... it's all about learning hard as that is sometimes. Your comments are much appreciated.
    It's still so hot here, I meant to say Matteo that watercolour in such hot weather makes for very quick drying paint and especially my washes suffer a bit ... but hopefully we don't get too many of these days... have to invest in a small air conditioner for the lounge/studio.