It is now several years since I painted my last pineapple and I have been asked to paint another one. I started the drawing before I went to Norway and today have got back to it having caught up (sort of) with other outstanding tasks that accumulated whilst I was away.
The trouble is, we had to eat the last pineapple before we went away! So what do I do? It was delicious by the way.
When you buy a pineapple, it has been cut and removed from the parent plant. This of course is obvious, but what is less understood is that it will not become riper after it has been cut. As far as I understand the pineapples are cut at their ripest. Some buyers prefer to buy them green and if the golden yellow colour is wanted they are sprayed about a week prior to harvest with a plant growth regulator. If you want to check this up read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple.
The pineapples that I have bought are mainly from Costa Rica and I think are the cultivar “smooth cayenne”.
I normally take pictures of my subject first so that I have an idea of what it originally looked like, so that when it dies or rots too much, I can replace it with a fresher specimen. In this instance my original drawing and placing of segments will be different to any other pineapple I get. But, I can use segments in the new pineapple, making sure that they are in a similar position and lit in a similar way to the original specimen. Thus I can continue to paint from life – which for a botanical artist is far the best thing to do.
My initial work:
Note the tramlines in a Fibonacci spiral. I observe the lines, draw the crossing tramlines and at each intersection place a segment. Once a tracing has been made, I do a very rough shading on the original sketch to indicate the form of the fruit.
I traced over onto a Fabriano Classico HP 640gsm paper in a manner that I have previously described in one of my blogs. This leaves no indentations from the pencil and is easily removed before painting.
I used a watercolour pencil to lightly outline my segments in an area of the pineapple I can manage initially. When I begin to paint, this colour will be absorbed into the painting avoiding lines. I don’t do too many at once in case I really need to change any of the segments in a later pineapple.