The idea for this painting came from buying a pint of cooked prawns at a local market. I love eating shell on prawns and once I had taken lots of photographs they were eaten with bread and butter.
I can remember as a child my dad teaching me how to peel prawns and what sticks in my memory is how I used to avoid the ones with eggs as I didn't like the texture and the way they stuck to my fingers.
I used the simple grid method to enlarge the photograph of the prawns and roughly blocked in the main shapes. I wanted to capture the refraction and distortion of the prawns inside the glass.
Prawns are beautiful animals to observe and I was particularly attracted by the segments of their exoskeleton and range of pinks. They have a delicate texture and translucency to their shells that was challenging to capture. I found that lifting out areas with a putty rubber softened some of the tones and then I could draw into them again to add texture.
As I explore using the blotted line technique, my drawings have become more observational, often it is easier to understand a subject once I have drawn it. I also enjoy the change it goes through when printed using the blotted line technique as new textures and colour are added.
The blotted line technique is a very basic mono print that is created by drawing on the reverse of tracing paper with ink and then printed onto a clean sheet of paper.
For this piece I changed from my normal Indian Ink to Acrylic ink. The differences were less ink blobs, that slightly changed the character of the technique and it didn't block the pen nib as much. I think it worked with this image as it needed to be clean and sharp.
The colours of the prawns ranged from warm pinks with a hint of orange to cold pale ones with a touch of grey. Once the washes were mixed I tried to gradually build up the tones across the whole image.
This was my third attempt at this painting, I wasn't happy with the others as the colour was too muddy and I lost the translucent quality of the watercolour. Also I had included too much detail with the printed areas and once I had seen that the prawns looked like fat fingers I had to start again. Glad it worked out in the end.
Giclee prints of Pint of Prawns are available from my Etsy Shop