Farmer’s Market Series: Jimmy Nardello Peppers

Farmer’s Market Series: Jimmy Nardello Peppers

I’ve been wanting to make a series of vegetable paintings with roughly geometric compositions…not the perfect symmetry of say, Ernst Haekel‘s compositions, but something funkier befitting to veggies. The first painting in the series is a round cabbage, so next I wanted something more linear as a contrast. These peppers reminded me of calligraphic strokes…rather wonky calligraphy…so they seemed perfect.

I made a mask, slightly larger than the peppers to protect the paper from any spills or splashes…a technique I learned from hard experience. I painted a watery yellow wash on the sunny side, preserved the white of the paper where direct sunlight hit, and used a light wash of quinacridone violet in the shady areas on the red peppers, and manganese blue hue under the shady areas of the green pepper.
The textures, colors and shapes were really fun to paint, though quite challenging. I found the reflected light in the shady areas the hardest to depict.

Technical information

In my color studies, I determined that the predominant color in the peppers corresponded to a pigment called Scarlet Lake, a fairly transparent red orange made by Winsor and Newton. This was my mid-range color. To create form, I used a technique that I learned from the master painter, Fiona Strickland. In the areas in the brightest light where I wanted the shape of the pepper to come forward, I used the color wheel to find the next pigments on the warm side of my basic color, which was Winsor Orange Red Shade and then Permanent Orange. To make the form recede in the shady areas, I went around the color wheel into the cooler reds, like Winsor Red, Daniel Smith Anthraquinoid Red and then M Graham Quinacridone Violet in the shadiest areas. I used only single pigment colors and did very little mixing.


  1. The peppers are fabulous and just jump off the page. I love all the different pure colours you have used instead of mixing. It makes them look so beautifully shiny

    • Angela, The ‘pure colors’ approach works great for colorful, glossy fruits and flower petals as well. I am glad that you like my painting–thanks for your comment!

  2. Fantastic! Wonderful technique.

  3. alina khasanova says

    Beautiful hots — and thanks so much for passing on the technical info!


  1. […] when you start something, you have no idea where it will take you. I began this painting in 2017 because these beautiful peppers caught my eye at the Farmers’ Market one day. They […]

I would love to hear from you...