Friday, September 13, 2013

Plums...and Friday the 13th

I remember reading a story about how Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner once had a bowl of apples removed from the set because they were too big—apples were smaller in the '60s. Well, he would have a hard time filming Betty Draper shopping at my Safeway; I recently noticed that the peaches are the size of softballs and even plums seem to have gotten much bigger. That may explain why I was attracted to these little Italian prune plums (or "Empress" plums) they had this week. I know, a little exotic for Safeway, right?

I've never attempted drawing fruit with lots of that dusky bloom on it, so I figured it was time. I browsed through a couple of my favorite colored pencil reference books and decided to give it a whirl...

I set up my little still life with my usual viewfinder approach.
(I wrote about it here if you're interested.)

Then I did my pencil sketch (below) on tracing paper and transferred it to my drawing paper.

I was actually most apprehensive about getting the plum flesh right, so I started there, in case I had to scrap the first attempt. I've seen photos of these plums with both green and golden flesh; I'm not sure if there are different varieties or if they're degrees of ripeness.

Hmmm...okay it'll do. Now onto the dark skins:

This shot is after layering two dark colors so far:

We interrupt this post for some Friday the 13th misfortune...

Yikes! Even though I'd done little swatches of how I thought the skins would work out, 
I made a terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad mess of it.
There will be no photos or details here —trust me, it's a mess. 

I was feeling really frustrated about the whole thing as I went out to get my mail,
but I'm over it now. 

This helped:

So, how was your day?


  1. A free sample of Nutella? Yummy!
    Bad day? What bad day?

  2. I enjoy your posts very much. thanks.

  3. Hehe! The healing power of Nutella. Would make a good marketing campaign for them. If they partnered with chicken soup, you'd have one powerful meal!

    Too bad about the skins - the pit was dead on!