Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Don't know what to draw?... Try this

Series of the MonthKerrie Woodhouse

One of the things that always used to trouble me was what to draw. Of course it is in part down to the inner critic who would shout down almost every suggestion. Too difficult, too boring... no end of excuses to avoid trying. I have seen many drawing books and courses that include fruit... usually an apple or a pear. It made my inner critic yawn. But after a month of fruit paintings I have proved her wrong. 

Don't know what to draw? Try this

The biggest appeal for me is that it is one of those small simple, everyday things that we don't perhaps fully notice or appreciate in the ordinary course of modern life. Sit down and observe it well enough to draw and paint it and you can't help but admire the  colour, form and texture of nature's gifts. This for me is a good enough reason to draw anything.

wet into wet watercolour fruit

But even setting that aside, fruit has  much to recommend it as a drawing subject:

  • it comprises simple shapes such as spheres and  ovals, however
  • these are imperfect shapes - no two fruits are identical - which means they are very forgiving to draw
  • fruit is colourful and textured offering sufficient scope to provide the open minded artist with an interesting challenge which is still manageable
  • fruit is readily available in most kitchens (although I have to admit I have a bit of a leaning towards working from a photograph)
  • if you eat your subject when you are done, who is to say you didn't capture it perfectly?
don't know what to draw

I do think that part of my delight in painting fruit this month was the approach I took with watercolour. I was waxing lyrical about this at the start of the month, when I began the series.

don't know what to draw

Thanks to Andrew Geeson I have been introduced to a way of approaching a watercolour painting  that makes me excited about almost  any subject.  It celebrates the thing that sets watercolour apart from other media - the water.

don't know what to draw

It is quick and fresh and allows for the capture of the essence of a subject rather than the slavish representation of every realistic detail. It embraces the unpredictability of the interaction between pigment and water.

don't know what to draw

So if you don't know what to draw - please don't discount fruit as a dull subject matter. It presents more opportunities than you might expect from an everyday item. And if you are still stuck for something to draw or paint perhaps taking a new approach such as incorporating a different technique or a new medium will be all you need to breathe excitement into what feels like an old, tired subject.