What To My Wondering Eyes Should A Pear?

Here is the story of a pear.

Three and a half years ago I started and then abandoned a drawing project. The beginnings sat in my portfolio. I put off work on the pear and drew other things. For three year. This January I resolved to finish the job.

During the growing season of 2014 a red “D’Anjou” pear grew, probably somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps in an orchard in Oregon. By January of 2015 the pear had made its way across the continent to a grocery store in Falmouth, Massachusetts. At the store it made its way into my hands and not long afterwards arrived with me at Julie Child’s natural history drawing class, where for the last ten years my wife and I have been happily making pictures of subjects animal, vegetable, and mineral.

Here is the anjou pear at 9:33AM on Monday, January 19, 2015.

I assembled drawing tools, set up the drawing lamp, balanced the pear in position with the help of a pair of “pink pearl” erasers, and began the first step: placing the pear on tracing paper. At this stage, you block out the basic form of your subject, and seek out the details of your subject. As you work you begin to notice what you have not yet seen. On the tracing paper, errors are easily remedied and you don’t have to ruin a good sheet of Bristol Board drawing paper because your hand and eye didn’t quite limn shapes or proportions properly.

This pear was so luscious-looking that it wanted to be drawn at twice life size. Good idea. Thank you, pear.


Preliminary drawing. I include the date and place where these sketches are made. 

The preliminary drawing is now transferred to the Bristol Board, using home-made graphite paper. The medium is “prismacolor” colored pencils. On scrap pieces of board, colors are tested and chosen. I’ll often experiment with some of the color problems and details that will present themselves during the drawing process.

During this drawing project, I’ve taken photographs every hour or two, to document progress. During the first two hours, details were located and the first indications of shade were placed.

Another two hour session to lay in the first color…

Then more color, and the start of blending and burnishing.

The adding of color and burnishing continued…

IMG_0024 (1)

Refining the colors and details of the highlights were next. Almost done!


What”almost done” meant was that only two more hours were needed to finish the highlights, to adjust the colors and shading, and to pick out the last details of light and dark.

The last steps are to sign it, and to apply fixative.

It’s 11:39AM on Monday, February 26, 2018.


The pear is done.

Anjou glad?

8 responses to “What To My Wondering Eyes Should A Pear?

  1. What a wonderful journey, thank you for all the details and stages, each one instructive as to the marvel of the finished picture, which truly makes me want to pick it from the page and eat it!

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