Lemons Study in Watercolor Step by Step Demo

Watercolors used for this demo

This watercolor study of lemons was fun to paint. There is something about fruit that I love painting even if it is just a quick study.  Not to mention that the visual compliments of blue and yellow are one of my favorite color combinations, it feels so crisp and clean to me. For this painting I used the following colors:

  • Burnt Sienna (Winsor and Newton)
  • Hansa Yellow Light (DaVinci)
  • Indian Yellow (M. Graham)
  • Cobalt Blue (DaVinci)
  • Ultramarine Blue (DaVinci)

Step 1

I drew my lemons out on a 6×8″ piece of 200lb Saunders Waterford Cold Press paper. I taped it down with masking tape to a piece of gatorboard. I painted on masking fluid to save the white of the paper. You can see in the picture of drawing where I used the masking fluid.

Step 2 and 3

With clean water, I wet the background carefully keeping the water off of the lemons. I then used cobalt blue, applying a more concentrated color in the areas I wanted to be darker or in shadow. I let the painting dry completely.

After the background was completely dry, I wet the lemons and painted them with a nice layer of Hansa Yellow Light.  I then set it aside to dry completely lol you are going to be so tired of me saying that :). I cannot stress it enough let it dry completely before touching it ?

Step 4

I added a layer of thin Burnt Sienna to the shadows and added a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue (brownish black) to the end of the lemon. If you notice my lemon on the right became bigger. I decided I wanted the lemons to overlap so I gently lifted some of the dark shadows with a soft synthetic flat brush.

Step 5

After the painting was completely dry, I painted the half lemon with a mixture of Indian yellow and Hansa yellow light on the outer and inner edges of the sections of pulp. I painted straight Hansa in the middle of the sections while it was still wet. With the same warm mixture, I glazed over the left edge of the full lemon, covering the lifted area as well. I then blended it out with water towards the middle of the lemon. I also dropped a little of this color over top of my masked highlights and blended it out with a damp brush. With a mixture of Hansa yellow and just a touch of Ultramarine, I made a yellow with a green cast. I used this cooler yellow to apply to the right side of the full lemon again, blending it out towards the middle of the fruit. I let the painting dry completely.

Step 6

For step 6, I glazed over the background using Burnt Sienna on the corners and alternating with Ultramarine blue as I painted. Once the background was dry I removed all of the masking fluid. I reinforced my shadow areas with another layer for the warm and cool sides of the full lemon. Her it comes lol I let it dry completely ?

Step 7

I worked on the half lemon mostly creating a watery mix of Indian yellow, Burnt sienna and just a hint of Ultramarine blue creating a dull yellowish tan color. Using this color I shaped the pith and cleaned up the edges left from the masking.  Using this same color I darkened the shadow on the right side of the cut lemon and the shadow under the end of the full lemon. Mixing the Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine blue I created a dark almost black to paint the seed and center of the cut lemon. wetting the outer rim of white pith I dropped a little of the burnt sienna (very light) in some areas. I let the painting dry completely.

Step 8

To finish this study, I went back in with my darker colors adding another layer to the shadow areas always blending towards the center so the edges would not be hard. Once completely dry I removed the tape.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed your time here.

Cheers, Krista

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2 thoughts on “Lemons Study in Watercolor Step by Step Demo”

  1. Kurtis Ladner

    Hi Krista,
    While not a personal fan of painting fruit (although I also love to it it– all varieties), I DO like the step by step painting processes that you illustrate..
    Thanks again– keep up the good work,
    Kurtis Ladner

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