Red pepper study

The first section of Part two suggests different media to explore still life, so for Project 1, detailed observation of natural objects, I chose a red pepper.

I started with Pastelmat and soft pastels:


I like this but I ended up blending it too much and lost the highlights. I tried it again on pastel paper, again with soft pastels:


And with the pepper the other way around:


And again with oil pastels focussing more on the green stalk which was a bit more interesting than an expanse of red:


I don’t really like the paper showing through and I don’t have many reds in my collection of oil pastels. I decided to have a go with gouache:


I really like the reflections and highlights on this one, and think I’ve got the angle of the stalk end twisting round slightly from the rest of the pepper.

I have not used  drawing inks before but I used a fine paintbrush and quite like the effect of the cut pepper:


These were all quick studies to get a feel for the different materials and see what, if any, I felt I wanted to take further. I love the feel of soft pastels and how they sweep over the paper but I need more practise in getting the best from them, and I perhaps need to go bigger, as they lack refinement and I want to celebrate their exuberance and colour. The strength of the pigment is wonderful, although in my selection of 30, I only have a few of each shade and I don’t know how to blend the colours without going overboard and losing all the character of the drawing. I like the oil pastels but I’m wondering if I should use them in conjunction with another medium such as a water-based paint? I have seen people use them in a sort of resist technique on paintings so I shall investigate further.



2 Replies to “Red pepper study”

  1. fab peppers! Home grown? The gouache one with highlights is great. I have never got on with pastels either – it does seem like you need a huge collection (I have about 10 of each and when I handed in a pastel drawing my tutor simply said ‘not very successful’ !) I think you might get a better response with these!


  2. Peppers courtesy of veg box; my freeranging chooks mean homegrown veg are a thing of the past!! But thank you – I’ll try going bigger and perhaps get a few more shades/tones of one colour and see if it makes a difference 🙂


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