Oops! Some of you have already seen this post. After writing it, I accidentally published it on Friday instead of scheduling it for today. Sorry for the confusion. Once I realized what I’d done, I un-published the post and scheduled it correctly. Meanwhile, I completed one more painting of a pear, so I’ve now updated this post to include it here.
Now, without further apology or ado… here is today’s post.
One of the first things I learned to draw was an apple. Pears soon followed.
There’s a good reason for this, of course. Apples are more or less spherical in shape, so once a student has learned the basics of drawing and shading a sphere, it’s only natural to take this new knowledge into the “real world” by drawing apples. Soon, the student is ready to move to slightly more interesting shapes, and pears are ready and waiting.
Many painting courses follow a similar progression. Learn the basics of painting shapes and how to make them appear three-dimensional, and then try out what you’ve learned by painting first, apples, and then pears. And so it is that over the years, I’ve drawn and painted my share of both apples and pears.
Maybe you remember this pair of pears, drawn during a Sketchbook Revival workshop in 2021:
And then there was this pear-painting exercise for watercolor that I completed twice, first in 2016, and then again in 2020. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed in not seeing as much improvement as I would have liked.
Without doubt, the worst of my pears was one I tried to draw using ink and a dip pen. That was a disaster. It was an exercise in stippling, and I quickly concluded that, for me, stippling and dipping did not mix.
Yet another disaster of sorts was this graphite drawing. Yes, it’s a pear, but viewed from above to create an extremely foreshortened fruit… which led in turn to something wholly unrecognizable.
At about this same time, I was beginning to explore looser watercolor painting, so using a couple pears my husband had picked at his parents’ farm, I painted this little “pear study”.
I enjoyed painting these two pears, even though they, too, are barely recognizable. It was fun to play with loose watercolor, fun to dabble with colors, fun to simply play with my food!
Even though my pears aren’t great works of art, I’ve become somewhat comfortable with them. I like playing with the shapes, working to create form from those shapes, and I love the colors of pears. That said, I was actually a little apprehensive when I recently signed up for a free watercolor class with Anna Mason in which we would be painting a pear.
Anna Mason is an awesome botanical artist who creates highly realistic fruits and flowers. I knew this painting class would be a bit of a challenge for me because it’s taking the opposite approach to watercolor than what I’ve been doing recently. Nothing loose or suggestive about Anna Mason’s art. It’s very exact, very precise, very detailed.
From the start, I knew I didn’t want to push myself too hard to come up with a pear as realistic as she was painting. Yet I felt it would be good for me to work with the “tighter” techniques instead of the “looser” style I’ve been learning.
It was interesting. I came away with a pear that is definitely recognizable as a pear, despite being much less detailed than it was supposed to be — according to the four-part lesson series. Here it is.
It’s a good pear, isn’t it? It’s shaped like a pear. It’s got the right colors for a pear. There’s even some suggestion of the skin texture, and a bit of shadow that looks natural. Yep. It’s a pear, all right, and sure, I’m pleased that I painted this. Definitely it’s better than some pears I’ve drawn or painted, as you’ve already seen.
At the end of the class series, however, my only thought was, “Well, that was interesting.” And this is a good thing for me right now. What was interesting about it, you see, was that I didn’t really enjoy painting this pear. While taking this online class, I realized how much happier I am with the looser style of watercolor I’m learning. I liked my pear, but I didn’t love it. I liked the painting process, but, again, I didn’t love it.
In some respects, this is probably the best pear I’ve ever painted, yet it’s not one I’ll be happily showing off. My husband noticed it and commented on it, and I merely shrugged. Yeah, it’s a pear. That was all I really had to say about it.
For me, at this point in my art journey, learning what to leave behind is important. I’m learning what I like and what I don’t like. I’m learning to focus on who I am as an artist, and that’s a very important lesson, don’t you think?
And now, as promised, I’m sharing one more pear painting. Since I’m spending so much time now learning to use oil pastels, I figured drawing and painting a pear with them would be very good practice — on both drawing and blending techniques. Once I’d completed the pear, I made a quick watercolor background.
What can I say? It’s a pear, and I think anyone seeing it would know it’s a pear. I do like the white highlight, so kudos to me for getting that right. As for my blending and shading techniques with my oil pastels, it’s a learning process. I’m working on it. I am enjoying my oil pastels, so that’s worth something, too.
And while we’re on the topic of pears, I’ll add this too… it’s a collection of dessert recipes. Enjoy!
25 Easy Pear Desserts