One way to the stack the odds in your favor with most endeavors is to rehearse. So before I attempted the oil painting above, I did a little thumbnail sketch, a full-sized value sketch, and a watercolor sketch (below). I also took photos just in case the paperclips and scotch tape holding it all together failed (but they didn’t–the stack is still standing!)
I did the watercolor sketch first with the fruit sitting on my drawing table and the grey studio wall as the background. I love ink & watercolor. So immediate and so fun!
Then I set up the fruit stack by my easel and did this value and compositional sketch. I wanted the sketch to be the same size as the painting so I used the Gessobord as a template, tracing around it on the sketching paper. Once I had the drawing the way I wanted it, I used Prismacolor cool grey markers (30%, 50% 80%) to shade the values. It was easy to transfer the full-sized sketch to the Gessobord with a sheet of blue Saral Transfer Paper between the sketch and the board, then drawing over the sketch with a stylus.
I revised the background by hanging a dark gold/green cloth hung behind the still life hiding the gray wall. Now I’m wondering whether to repaint the leaves. What do you think? Is it better to leave them kind of soft and blurry so they don’t attract too much attention. Did you notice them before I asked the question?