The teacher is wrong. He advises painting in the pears, then adding the background. But he's wrong. Also, after I'd done some fine blending in shades of green and yellow, I decided that it was all to tame, so I livened it up with some impasto in reads and blues. Then I worked over that with the yellow again.
The background was a flat grey, so I made it purple, to zing against the green, then worked over in a chilly blue to send it all backwards again.
At some point I stopped looking at the pears and just looked at the painting to see if it was all working as a piece, and I think that's when I made leaps. I am very, very happy with this piece.