Oil painting avocados


oil painting avocados

This was a project that I worked on with my oil painting group this week.

The students took an avocado each and we talked about the many visual possibilities of setting them up as an interesting subject to paint. On a shiny surface like a ceramic plate, there are both reflections and shadows which add a dynamism to the composition, on patterned fabric the lines and the colours play an important role in the over-all image.

Compositional sketches help to understand the subject before beginning the painting. I believe that the more information we have, the more spontaneous and free we can be when we begin work. Jean chose to place one avocado half on crumpled paper, which provided the textural interest against the smooth flesh of the fruit and the round stone. Martine overlapped her two halves and used their shadows as an important part the composition, leaving well balanced red space around the pale green fruit.

IMG_3762 (Copier)IMG_3763 (Copier)










After working out the design, time was spent mixing colour. Personally I like to use a large glass palette as well as a hand palette when I’m working; the more space the better. I use a knife which I think gives me cleaner results in the mixing. The oil paint slides around beautifully on the glass, it can be picked up on the knife and added to other mixtures. When you are beginning and aren’t properly used to the paint you are using, it is better to limit the tubes and really get to see and to understand colour mixtures.

After all this preparation, the resulting pictures were produced quickly.

Martin, Brian, Paule and Jean decided to apply their oil paint with a palette knife, which exaggerated the textures and broke up the defining contours. It was helpful to soften certain parts using a brush as well in places, particularly in the complex shadow areas.


Martine and Jacqueline used brushes and obtained and smoother, ‘neater’ finish. They created colour harmonies in their oil paintings by adding touches of back ground colour into the avocados and ‘avocado colours’ into the background.

For my part, I find that a simple still life subject like this can give artists almost endless possibilities. At the end of the morning we were amazed by the variety of paintings produced, each one seems to have bought out a particular and different element in their avocados.

students avo (Copier)



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