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Hello, I'm Nancy Kaminsky and today we're going to paint luscious strawberries. I'm going to introduce a little different form, a little more involved, a little more difficult. But I think that it's a very good thing to learn all types of drawing and all types of forms, all sorts of forms. We've been doing round bowls, long bowls, all sorts of things. Now I want to show you how to do an absolute square form looking down into it. Now, of course, the first thing we do, as usual, is stain the canvas like this. Now, if you're painting in your kitchen, which I did for years, you must be very careful that you don't have pocket dot curtains and walls, which has happened to me.
So be very, very careful when you're putting on your wash that you don't flip it this way. I'm trying to give you all these little hints because I'm sure you don't have a gorgeous studio like mine with the North light. And by the way, don't worry about the North light. Electric light will do very nicely. There we are, now let's brush it off. Don't rub too hard because you'll pick up a lot of lint from the paper, just lightly like that. Now, each time that we paint, I will give you all these little simple hints to save you a lot of aggravation, because I've learned in the hard way, but I don't want you to suffer like I did. There we are. Now, let's put in the grids, again, with the brush, the same wash, not too dark, because if you get a too dark and you want to erase with tissue paper, of course, then it doesn't make such a mess.
The same routine like that, that's why, this way, very good. My golly, this is the one thing you will learn to do, like this. See, this is what painting is about. It's freedom based on discipline. And once you learn discipline and learn the rules, you will be free to break the rules, but not before. I think it's that way in life, I imagine. There we are. Now this is the thing that I really, I want you to get, and I'm going to try to explain it as clearly as I can as a teacher. I'm going to create a box first like this, like that. I want to do this a little carefully so that you can get it. Now after you get the box in like that, we're going to do this, put one line slanting this way and one that way.
Now obviously it's going to be a little basket of strawberries. Now I'm sure you've all seen these baskets a hundred times. Now the line below is exactly the same pitch like that, and we put that in right away, the same length, and exactly the same pitch like that. Then we go over and connect this line like this, I'm going to try and draw that very dark so that you can see it, and then we draw a line this way, and of course this way. Now after we put the strawberries in, you won't see this back, but nonetheless I want it there because it's terribly important. So don't fudge and try to do only part of the basket and fit the strawberries in because you will have a distortion. This way that basket is correct. It has a lip like this. We put that in right now like that, you see, and I didn't hurt a bit, did it. Now you have a basket like that.
There you are. You see how simple it is once you know what you're doing and how to do it. Very well, now we've got the basket in, we have a plate below or on the side of the basket like that. It's a little larger, fine, it's a very expensive box of strawberries you see there. This plate, like this, round forms are a little difficult to do. So I'll try to get it right. When you draw a plate like this and when you're seeing it in this perspective, the widest area is in the middle of the plate like that and it tapers on the sides, in other words it's elongated like that and that's how you will see a plate. There you are.
Remember that the sides are narrower and the widest point is in the center. It's rather a flat plate than goodness and we're not going to fuss with too much detail like that and leave it for just a moment. Now let's do the strawberries. Now in drawing the strawberries in the box or on the plate, please don't line them up like those soldiers. I will probably get them that way but this is what you do. Have one going this way, one that way. Now it won't look as though in the drawing that they are going different directions. When you put the little tassel on the top, then you can see like that and of course they're every which way we hope. I'm sure some nice little shopkeeper didn't line them up for you. They do it nicely though. They're marvelous nicely. If you buy cherries and cherry season, some sweet little old lady sat down early in the morning and strung them all up to look like a bouquet. Of course you didn't have a union I guess.
There we are. You can add more if need be, leave them alone. Now let's work in the plate there again. Don't choke them with strawberries. Just have a few because you'll be hysterical if you try to work your plate in around the strawberries. Just put a few lovely ones like this and one here like that, one going this way and one above this way like this. You see without trying to line them up it's terrible. It seems to be a natural thing to be very tidy and line everything up. The lovely thing about painting something like this is that you can eat it afterwards. I've eaten many a still life and there's no excuse for not knowing what to paint. Go into the fridge. I can find many things to paint, vegetables, even eggs, fruit, anything. And the lovely thing is you can eat it afterwards.
I think we'll leave that for the moment if we have to change and we can. There's one by the basket here on the table. That's rather important because first of all tells us that there's a table there. It's lying flat. Please don't have it standing straight up in the air. I almost did. We have one over here, a lovely one. I did get that a little low but that's all right. And then we have one here like this and then one here like that. There we are. Right. And that's all we do, not much, just enough to hang the paint on. Right here. Now, there we are, fine. Now the drawing is finished. The very next thing we worry about always, the next stage, where is the light coming from? I will say it and say it over and over again. We must always do that right off. We're going to shade the right side because the light is coming from the left side. There again, don't have a dripping, especially, don't lose your basket. This is important like that and don't worry too much about the strawberries because I think
you have a problem trying to shade those little strawberries and you'll lose them and just give a little, now and again, a little suggestion there you are. Fine. That's it. Now we're finished with the drawing and the shading. We're ready to paint. As always, this is the most exciting part. And since the light is coming from the left, we start with the dark tone on the right. Like this flat stroke, this is a yummy blue. I noticed that I have been working with a lot of red, white and blue must be the bicentennial year. My American blood came boiling to the surface and I painted red, white and blue berries and this is an interesting composition because it has the blue background, very bright blue
background, which is something I rarely use, but I thought it would be rather an interesting combination with the beautiful yummy red strawberries. Work it very fast like this, incidentally. I don't want you to feel that you have to do a painting in 30 minutes. It took me 30 years to do this painting in 30 minutes and after all, we don't want fast painters, we just want you to paint. So for goodness' sakes, don't get hysterical and call in like a man did in England and briskly call the studio and he said, would you tell Nancy Kaminsky to slow down, I can't keep up with her. And the poor man I had visions of his knife going a mile a minute, there we are. Now let's go to the middle town like this, I took a little extra time with the drawing because it's terribly important and so we may have to rush through the strawberries a little bit, but when you've done one strawberry, I think you've done them all.
Also we're introducing stippling in this case, but we'll get to that in a moment. Don't be afraid to use your knife in different directions on the background that is. It makes it rather interesting. If you lose your strawberries on a table, don't fret. Probably could grow faster than I'm doing them, but in Italy we have everything in season and not before. So it's always lovely in that when we do have strawberry season, everybody goes absolutely wild and with fantastic strawberries and in a way it's nice having things only when you're supposed to.
It makes it much more exciting, we're getting so spoiled I think in our country and that we have everything all the time, nothing to look forward to. There we are. That's awfully nice also when you have to have strawberry shortcake and it's December. The boss, the boss, your husband's boss only likes strawberry shortcake, so it behooves you to go to the supermarket and buy frozen strawberries. There we are. This is the light tone. There again, as you can see, medium or rather dark, medium and light. Watch our plate. I lost it, square box we have, but not a square plate. Fine, now also a little dark tone in the light tone like this and a little of the light tone here like that, just a little bit so you don't have as I've often said, three
flavors. Now leave it for the moment. Let's put our shadows in under our fruit. I'm really marvelous to be able to sling this paint around. We pick up purple and we do this. Creates a marvelous shadow and when we score it, it creates a feeling of reflection. I have lost the strawberry, but don't worry. Go over underneath the basket like this, over the side here, get some purple up into the background like this, just a wee bit now, mostly in the dark area. I'm going to create a little different stroke here, fine, like that.
I think I will make this just a wee bit darker on the strawberries here, and let's score it like that. Just leave it for the moment, it's not complete, actually, but just leave it for the moment. Be sure your basket is correct and very sharply outlined to preserve the form. It's very important in something like this to preserve the form and the perspective of your object. Fine, now let's do the basket. We start with the dark tones, the light is coming from the left, so we start this way. There again, we have a different stroke. I squared off, I start with a dark tone like this, down, over, down, if you make a mistake like I just did by going over your drawing, simply scratch it out, no problem.
We don't have problems, we just have challenges. There we are, like that. Oops, I just had a challenge right there. Now, it goes to the middle tone, and we're going to outline that in purple, so we don't lose it all together, and you will see the form take place before your very eyes. Let's go to a little dark tone here, on the corner, middle tone, like this, and then the light tone, like that. I remember your strokes, we will outline that so that you can see it, and it's straightened out, we've very much distorted right now, so I have to forgive me while I go over it.
It's for a little light tone over here, just a wee bit to sharpen up the corner, because it's fuzzy, and it cannot be fuzzy, it must be sharp. I'm going to take a little purple, and outline it like that. I've taken a great deal of pains with this, because this is the most important thing in the painting, and it's something you must study carefully. I'll get the sun here like this, and I'm going to darken it just a little bit like that. I'm going to add a little purple right in here, like this, and I'm going to the plate, because I didn't want to introduce too many colors, the plate is pretty much the same
as the background, so I'm going to develop it with the background, actually off white plate, like this, and I will put a highlight on the end, so let's do that right now. These plates are little bibles to do when you're in a hurry, I'll tell you, we'll call them an Italian pottery, if it's Italian pottery, it's marvelous, and they can forgive me for all the little bad spots. Fine, let's put a little highlight on that, on the corner, like this, like this. Let's leave it for the moment, let's go to strawberries, which I think are probably very anxious to get to anyway, like I am, let's do that right away. It's very important, we'll go back to the plate, it's a little messy, but we'll go back to it.
When we do the strawberries, it's very important that as we paint them, we outline them in the dark and purple also, because as one of my students said, hers look like strawberry mousse, so be very, very careful. Like with the dark tone, and we go around the edge of the strawberry like that, now in this particular painting with this particular fruit, we have what I call the stippling method or dabbling, and you create it like that. We don't exactly drill them, we stipple the color on, let's start with the dark tone, like this, of course it takes a great deal of color, like that, and the light is coming from the left, so we're going to do it all on the right side, and stipple each one like this, like that. I know that you're turning a little pale, and you think, oh, that's really messy, isn't it? It looks like strawberries, my goodness. They will be, I promise you, over here like this, now this is the thing, I'm very anxious for you to do immediately, is to put purple around the edge right now, so you don't lose
them. You take a little purple, not too much, please, don't load your knife up with paint, and stipple around the edges of your strawberries, so that they remain separate. You'll have one big mass, and you won't know what to do with it, so be sure that you do that, and in between, like that, I get a little dark to get the feeling that they're not all smashed together, and there's a little area between them, in the basket, bring this over like that, and then we're going to do the other tones, which are absolutely beautiful, the reds are lovely to do, fine, now leave that, looks horrible, doesn't it? Don't lose heart, now, vermilion, like that, just stipple it on, I promise you, it looks like strawberries, they don't write the moment, but they will, they must be in the basket,
please have some that are only half showing, like that, I understand, I have little problems with paint, because I like that you will not have, so I want to, it will be much easier for you, besides you can take your time, eat a few, paint a few marbles, now let's leave that for just a moment, and we're going to put our highlights right now, I have lovely orange, we use orange, and I've had a little white in red do it in that way, I think I'll just add straight orange, because it doesn't seem to want to come off my knife, there we are, now I've got it, there's a highlight here, and here, there, I'm going to reaffirm
my basket, because we've lost it just a little bit, which is natural, when you're doing one thing to lose the object around it or behind it, so that's nothing that isn't a normal reaction to what you're trying to accomplish here, or result, fine, now let's leave that for the moment, we have the other strawberries, like this, I have some going this, I'm going this way, even though the strawberries are going the other way, the light is still where it belongs and the shadow, we put the middle tone, like that, this way, they're lying
in the plate, I hope they're lying in the plate, some are marvelous strawberries and some are smaller, which is also, I hope, more natural, and all being absolutely huge, there, I'm going to put purple around those, again, and outline the plate in purple for the shadows of the fruit on the plate, I'm going to outline the plate again, and clean it up, and put another highlight on it, like this, that way, alright, let's go to the strawberries
on the table, I put the middle tone, like that, and the dark tone, like this, and like this, these are the fastest strawberries in town, I'll tell you right now, and I want to put a little highlight, they have little yellow and green dots, but forget it, now I'm going to put the little tops on, there again, this is always a fun thing, they have
little hats, and as you know, that's what really does it, now they are dark, or medium and light, I put some on the other side, so that you can see that the strawberries are going the other way, if you've gotten in trouble, and they look like they're going one way, put some caps on the other side, they'll never know the difference, so don't fight it, just do the best you can, I'm going to put the light tones, like this, I think this is going to look like strawberry pie, not bad anyway, delicious, there, and we have our little tops down here, our little hats, that way, I could really develop them a little
more, but I decided that the thing I want to spend the most time on was the basket, because we would do a lot of things with this type of stippling in form, and you will see that technique again, but we may not do this particular form for a while, and so I was very anxious for you to get this, I know the pitfalls, having been through them all myself, and remember all famous painters, painted what they were exposed to, then you must do the same, oops, that's it for today, yummy strawberries, I hope they look yummy, don't forget to sign
your painting, we will do that each and every time also, there we are, actually I should do one in red, shouldn't I, bye for now. This program was made possible by a grant from Commercial Union Assurance Companies.
Thank you very much.
Paint Along With Nancy Kominsky
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Connecticut Public Television
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Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
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Episode Description
Nancy Kominsky teaches viewers how to paint strawberries.
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Fine Arts
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Host: Kominsky, Nancy
Producing Organization: Connecticut Public Television
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Library of Congress
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Chicago: “Paint Along With Nancy Kominsky; 103; Strawberries,” 1976, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Paint Along With Nancy Kominsky; 103; Strawberries.” 1976. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Paint Along With Nancy Kominsky; 103; Strawberries. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from