Vine Tomatoes in Colored Pencils

As we settle into a new year, hopefully a better one than 2020, I thought it was time to learn something new on the art front. To that end, I’ve been attending a weekly Botanical Drawing class. The theme of “new” is splattered all over this class – it’s done virtually (a first for me), focused on botanical drawing (another first), and in colored pencil medium (yet another first… kinda). 

This week’s subject was a pair of tomatoes on the vine. The first two classes were graphite only, no colored pencils, so this was the first session that introduced color. I’m using a small set of 12 SoHo colored pencils, which are very vibrant and so far seem to do the trick. It’s going to be a challenge pivoting from oil painting, where colors are seemingly endless through mixing of a core set of hues. The colored pencils are a different challenge because there’s only so much layering of colors that the paper will tolerate. In oil painting, if you overdo it with oil paint colors it goes brown or a dirty grey, but you can wipe it off the canvas. The colored pencils, however, can only support a limited amount of mixing on paper, and it’s largely un-erasable. It’s a wee bit stressful at times!

I really like the challenge of capturing the reality of botanicals, which is at the heart of botanical drawing. It will be interesting to see how the various compositions evolve on the color and value front over the remaining 5 weeks of class. 

This week’s composition vine tomatoes is done on standard paper and measures about 7 x 5”.