What you’ll need:
Having travelled to France and trying some of their local garlic, I was indeed a huge fan! A friend who lived there bought over a lovely string of garlic. I just had to paint it: lots of soft creamy yellows, cool greys, umbers and deep aubergine travelling through the bulbs.
By chance I happened upon Derwent Graphitint Paint. These seemed perfect as they could be used lightly and then with a much drier brush, I found I could obtain a much deeper shade.
And so to work….the advantage was the garlic string wouldn’t change as a flower does, so time was on my side.
I hung up my garlic string so that I could have it in front of me, and used a black mount board behind the garlic to counteract any interfering light. I find this does help a lot to see all the lovely details in the garlic.
Starting off, I took a measurement of the length and width. This would help in having the correct size of paper to use to match the size of the garlic. I create two boxes using these measurements, one for the plaited string and one for the garlic bulbs. I then proceeded to draw, first the plait, then the bulbs.
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the colours and which ones would be good to mix and which ones are best to work with.
I started off with the plait and using lots of Russet, I applied a pale wash of colour. The Russet was mixed with Port for darker shade and touches of Autumn Brown for warmth. I applied these colours in the darker areas where the plait crossed over. Adding Dark Indigo to the Autumn Brown produced a lovely rich brown which could be applied in the darkest of areas. Much deeper shades were achieved using a much drier brush, as to not dilute the colours down.
The garlic bulbs were drawn lightly. Colours were gradually applied to each bulb. The colours are very soft and muted so I found applying more colour after the initial application until the depth of colour I wanted was achieved.
Again I used Russett; this was fast becoming a favourite and already I had made a small well in the centre of the pan. I introduced Port, Juniper, Aubergine, as these colours are in the skins of the garlic in varying degrees. The Juniper and Russett produced a perfect ‘knocked back’ colour, perfect for some of the skin. There are lots of cool greys and the Graphitint Paints have three good greys in the pallet. Green Grey, Steel Blue and Graphite Grey. These are useful for creating shadows. Just add very small amounts, with a watered brush. I suggest experimenting on some paper before applying the colour. This will help in creating the correct shades that will be needed.
Finally for depth of colour, I added some details using the Graphitint Pencils. The Aubergine pencil was particularly useful and was added in the darkest of areas along with the Russet pencil. A small wash of water was applied over the pencils to create harmony with the watercolours used.
I have recommended these paints and pencils and everyone who has tried them have been really enthusiastic.