Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Today was the first proper frosty morning of this autumn and just for laughs, and to get away from the delicate intricacies of the bramble, I decided to tackle a chili pepper, my first one too. With their cheery colour, fun architectural shaping and gloriously shiny skin, chillies bring a real pop of colour to dull November days. So, with the rather apt tune, November Rain by Guns and Roses seeing me on my way, I started a little series of sketchbook studies.  

The overall shape of a chili, appears quite straightforward, although I did need to make sure that the stalk was following the correct line. I also wanted to have a good number of wrinkles in there too, to give plenty of character, so on the drawing, I made sure to outline the areas of high shine carefully.

The chili
Although I had to shift it to get rid of the shadow from the window

With the first washes of Cadmium Red Deep
mixed with a little Cadmium Yellow Light.
Dropping colour in whilst the paper is still damp
allows the early build up of colour and tone

Some of the colour testing before adding it to the piece.
here i have also started to add colour to the stem
using Indanthrene Blue and Lemon Yellow

Re-wetting the entire length of the  chili,
I was able to build up more layers to
give a more 3D effect.
A slightly darker mix was used to give a good
contrast with the shine. 

Pulling the colour out towards the middle gives the
 streaky appearance that chillies have
in the wrinkles of their skin 

The colour of a chili pepper is a really luscious, bright red, so the tube of gorgeous Cadmium Red Deep came out of the box again. For the deeper shadows, I used a deep purply-red to get some depth and shape to the fruit and kept loads of fresh white paper for shine.    

Shine is a difficult area to get right as too much white can make a piece look false and too little makes it look flat. The Goldilocks moment of just the right amount has to be balanced and in order to make sure the washes didn't go where I wanted white paper, I used making fluid. Once rubbed off, the areas can be blended and softened to look more natural.

A deeper red was used to give the deepest shadows.
here I have used my favourite Perylene maroon with
some of my earlier Cadmium Red Deep mix.
I also added a touch more Indanthrene Blue to give a
more purply shade.

Again, I pulled the colour out using a damp brush to
break up the harsh lines and soften the shiny areas. 

Adding a deep green to the stalk.
Some of the really deep red mix works well with a little
more yellow and blue to give a really dense green.
The finished piece.

And the colour notes.
Well, it is for the sketchbook after all.

1 comment:

Janene said...

So interesting to read about your process with these--your pepper turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing.