There is nothing like painting or drawing from life - you gain such an understanding of the subject. This, I feel gives you a stronger chance of conveying the very essence of the object. You can explore it from all angles; know how it feels, it's weight. it's structure and you can of course be in complete control of the composition until you are completely satisfied.
(NB - I thought I would take a snap of the onions, purely for the purpose of writing about it here. I painted the onions solely from life)
I began with a very light sketch on the unstretched, but heavy paper. I worked some colour straight onto the onions using Manganese Brown, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, A Little sap Green and Cobalt Violet to achieve that slightly pinkish hue to the papery skins. A little cling film helped to get that slightly fragile appearance (see below) -
I then began to paint the brown paper with raw umber (a colour I rarely use actually, but it's earthy tone was perfect for the paper here) and a little Ultramarine Violet for shade. With some Nut Brown Drawing Ink splashed on, I used a little more cling to help achieve the creases. (A word of warning here though - I feel that one should not overdo a single technique, rather to seek a range of mark making to ensure a stronger painting).
The painting then received a little bath to remove any heaviness and I continued to work into the onions with watercolour pencils. I enjoy these as they bring a little detail back to my very loose way of working.
My husband had rather an oniony dinner that night!