Dragon Fruit
watercolor on paper
8.5 x 11.5 inches
©2014  Karen Sioson


Colors used:
Winsor lemon
permanent sap green
Winsor green
cobalt blue
ivory black
permanent rose
permanent alizarin crimson
permanent magenta


paper: Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper


Karen Sioson

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Photo reference taken in a hurry.  Those supposed to be staying away from the sweets (diabetics) were impatient to get the subject back. 

Light source was CFL over the sink.

photo reference

I drew the forms with light pencil.   I put light washes when I block in colors.   I erase the pencil afterwards.  Graphite can dirty colors specially the yellows. Of course, follow your own preference. Some like how the pencil lines add structure to the watercolors.

Colors used at this stage: Permanent sap green, permanent rose, ivory black, cobalt blue.


You are probably wondering what I am doing here. I take advantage of gravity too when I paint. You can create textures with the help of gravity. I have observed before that WN Ivory black when applied as a wash can get uneven easily if you disturb the wash while it is drying. Sometimes what can be an annoying/unwanted result can be turned around and become a useful trick.  


There are different ways to paint watercolor.  Fast and furious or (for OCs like me) you can layer to your hearts content until you get the look that you want. I often would jump from area to area while waiting for previous applications to dry.

Colors used at this point: Winsor Lemon, permanent sap green, permanent rose, ivory black, cobalt blue.

Notice how my first layer for the cast shadow is full of color. I always work mindful of reflected colors.



For the "oreo" flesh, add the light, middle and finally the dark seeds. Use the reference photo to get an idea on how the seeds are spread out. I focused more on the values and temperature of the surfaces than meticulously copying the seed placement. Areas facing the light source are warm. And because I wanted to give the painting a look that it was painted outdoors under natural light, I imagined the surfaces that would be facing the sky not directly hit by the light source to be cooler hence the bluish tint.


Second layer of the cast shadow painted with ivory black. Look at how it lets the previous layer shine through. Also, do not over mix. Some unevenness can be beautiful.


I varied the outer skin color with bits of permanent magenta (looks like fuschia with a touch more violet in it) and with permanent alizarin crimson (more dark reddish fuschia). Aside from Ivory black, I also mixed a black from permanent alizarin crimson and winsor green. Ivory black is a warm and light black. The black from PAC and WG is very dark. I used it for the very dark areas. You can mix a brown from permanent sap green and PAC.


I toned down the white background and anchored the subject down by placing a gradated cobalt blue wash on the background. Lighter where the light is supposed to be coming from. Darker near the left bottom corner.

Of course I realized that after placing the wash, I just made/defined a very big empty area on the upper left. I should have used something colored like paper strips to frame and better visualize the painted area instead of just lightly penciling in the boundary


Edbon Sevilleno may have 3M magic tape.  I have super magic artist tape. hehehe  Kidding.

I can not remember the brand but this is supposed to be an artist tape (acid free) transparent kind that help keep the edges or margins of the paper clean while you work on your painting.  I rarely use this as I try to save the tape.  Artist tapes were not available in the Philippines several years ago.  This one was sent by my friend, Rowena from abroad.    



See... it fades watercolor mistakes magically.



Kidding. I used a toothbrush to scrub the area clean to erase the part that I did not like. The tape protected the areas I wanted to preserve. Scrub away from the tape so you do not push water under the tape. Blot with clean tissue.

Yes... it is ok to use tooth brush on watercolor paper... as long as you are working on cold pressed or rough paper because you guessed it, those paper have "tooth".   harharhar.   

Arches is a tough paper though so it could take this abuse without getting damaged.  Test first on a scrap of that type paper before doing on the painting itself.

I was able to get the white of the paper back.  Actually, this part you can just hide behind the mat (no need to erase) but just for my peace of mind, I wanted it fixed before I sign it finished.  


Dragon Fruit
watercolor on paper
8.5 x 11 inches
© 2014 Karen Sioson

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