Small Fruits - first steps of a new work in progress

A Strawberry with an Immature Peony Bud threaded through It

This is my model set-up for my latest painting. Long stemmed strawberries come in a tray lined with bubble wrap and are carefully arranged in a single layer, 3 by 4. I guess to pay for that special treatment, they're almost twice as expensive as strawberries picked without stems that are packed one on top of the other.

To save a little bit of money, I studied the long stemmed strawberries at the fancy grocery store. Then I looked around the garden to see what might make the best strawberry stem approximation. This immature peony bud, no larger than a blueberry, with its stem, seemed to fit the bill. After piercing this no-stem strawberry at an angle, I threaded this tiny peony through it.

You can also see the stabilizing thread that goes from the rice paper ball to a heavy rug on the floor. I actually thread a needle with this stabilizing thread and pass it through the rug with plenty of thread to spare so I can pull it tight as time passes. This thread, with a bit of blue masking tape, keeps the strawberry from spinning as I paint.

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