An Onion, a simple exercise

Lök, en enkel akvarellövning

The result of this exercise may not be art, but it is still a good exercise in wet on wet technique and mixing color. Use French ultramarine and some orange-brown color, I chose burnt sienna from Winsor & Newton, it has a clear orange hue.

You can choose any brown color, as long as it is not too dark. If you want, you can add any yellow color to the palette. I used the yellow color just to make the peel of the onion a little less red here and there, the yellow color is optional.

A photo to paint after

Step 1

An Onion step 1

Mix your brown color with blue to create a gray color mix. Feel free to use different gray mixtures, a bluish and a brownish, paint the background around the onion but not on the surface on which the onion is placed.

Let colors and different values mix on the paper, paint fluently. Feel free to add clean water to the painting to create lighter parts. It is easier to paint this with the paper upside down, easier to follow the contours of the onion when you can paint with the brush tip against the edge of the onion.

Step 2

An Onion step 2

Now the surface on which the onion stands should be painted. For this I chose a brownish light color. Paint the surface fluently and let the liquid settle a bit before applying the shadow wet on wet. The shadow color should be bluish and very dark.

One of the most common mistakes for wet on wet painting is to use too light a color, water is on the paper surface and does not need to be added to the paint. A really dark color with only a little water spreads in a controlled manner while a lighter color, with more water in it, often spreads uncontrollably over the paper.

Paint the shadow along the entire length of the cutting board (yes, it is a cutting board on which the onion stands.) Thicker next to the onion and narrower the further away from the onion.

Step 3

An Onion step 3

It’s time to start painting the onion, start with the inner part, leave the outer dry peel to the next step.

Start by painting the entire surface with a light “onion color” Then apply shadows with a much darker color than what you want as an end result. The color will namely lighten significantly because it spreads in the wet light color, in addition, all watercolor colors will be lighter when they dry.

Try to capture the round shape, look at the photo to see where it is dark and light. Do not forget the dark shadows next to the outer peel. You should also indicate the longitudinal lines in the onion.

Step 4

An Onion step 4

The last step is to paint the dry outer peel and also the tops of the onion. If you want, you can now use the yellow color to make parts of the shell a little yellower, but it is not so essential. If you want to continue with only blue and brown, it also works well.

To achieve the dry appearance of the onion peel, the white savings are important. Leave a small unpainted edge along all the onion edges. Some savings along the longitudinal lines on the onion are also good to make. As for the tops of the onion, the contrast is important, white lines next to dark are a way to make it look dry.

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