Pear value study

by Janet Bonneau in Oil Painting Classes
Our first class for beginning oil painting was a lot of fun and we actually ended up concentrating on more sketching than painting. I have three students in the class which makes for a wonderful small group setting – so we’re having a good time getting to know each other.
The setting is the third floor of the former Barlow St. School in St. Albans and the room has lots of tall windows so nice lighting is not a problem. I’d brought in a lamp and cardboard thinking I might need to set up the still life that way, but we all found that placing our subject – a pear – right on the window sill was fine.
Here’s a photo I took of that same pear which I brought home after class so I could have a reference photo to put up for you here on my website.
I peeled the pear and cut it if into a squared off fashion so the shadow side would be easier to see. I also like the way the square look creates planes of shadows and light.
I worked on my value study at home and this is a rough idea of what a quick half hour pear study ended up like. If I were to go back into this painting – I would finish adding a bit more to the background on the right side of the pear – as it looks like it’s dropping off into space like there’s no shelf it sits on. I may still work on it a bit more. The pear shadow could also use some softening up in some areas.  I’ve kept the brushwork very loose and not overworked. 
Instead of using black, I created the dark with a combination of thalo green and cad red. Might do it again with another combination of complements like purple/yellow or blue/orange.
These little studies are fun to do and can help train the eye to observe what the lights and darks are doing in any particular lighting conditions. 
Next class we’ll be painting the color wheel and creating a value scale.
Happy painting!