How about THAT apple?

Malus pumila Apple branch Watercolor 11.5 x 9. Brandi Malarkey, artist.


Ha! After far more angst than should be strictly necessary for any painting, I finally have an apple to show!

Last fall I asked my friends if anyone had access to fruit still on the tree. A friend of mine hooked me up with her brother’s apple tree, which was so heavy with apples all of the branches touched the ground. Of the entire tree, only two apples told me to take them home.

I started with the first one and, oh! Occasionally a painting will start out with a great deal of optimism, and the trappings to go with it. The initial sketches drawn without mishap, the view into the yard for inspiration, the new plamp holding a lovely apple branch, and the excitement of a new painting that hasn’t yet had an opportunity to be difficult. It was a beautiful three minutes.

THEN, out of the blue, ignorance combined with the inability to read carefully brought my idyllic fantasy to a crashing end.

Occasionally, when working with watercolor, masking fluid is useful for blocking different parts of the painting. In the case of the apple, I used the masking fluid to keep the lighter spots light while I worked with the rest of it. Having had a rather spectacular spillage incident with my previous bottle of masking fluid (showcasing my natural grace and care) I purchased a new bottle. When I went to the store there was only one bottle on the shelf, which I gratefully took home with me. Proceeding with my apple painting, I carefully applied the masking fluid to the light apple spots. The masking fluid did not behave the way it had previously, but this still did not signal an issue to me at the time. It was a brand new bottle, and I am new enough at watercolor–and very new at using masking fluid–that I assumed this was something different on my part, not on the part of the fluid.

After putting in multiple days of painting, I attempted–and failed–to remove the masking fluid.

It didn’t come off.

Apparently, there is removable and permanent masking fluids. And the bottles look exactly the same!

Notice the differences?

There were many experiments with seeing if it could be covered with other mediums (Don’t even bother with colored pencil, by the way) and how it would look if it did before I came to the conclusion that the painting was a goner and let it go.

I needed a break before attempting it a second time, but now that I finally got over my wild urge to collapse in a bout of self-justified crying when looking at the sketches, I finally started again.

So. Take two. My apple branch. Naturally I can see every flaw (and there are many), but it is still the best apple I have ever painted–and suffered no masking fluid catastrophes!  😉

Malus pumila Apple branch Watercolor 11.5 x 9. Brandi Malarkey, artist.
Malus pumila
Apple branch
11.5 x 9


Also, if you are interested in exploring some truly stunning examples of expert botanic apple paintings, check out The Apple Book by Rosie Sanders. It’s phenomenal.


7 Responses

    1. I still have some apples in the freezer waiting to become crisp! We will toast you all when we have it!

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