Etiqueta: charcoal

Part 2 – Intimacy

Part 2 – Intimacy

Project 2 Still Life – Still life using line

Before starting this drawing I reflected on works that I have found and studied recently – some of these images are shown below:

Raoul Dufy:

David Hockney:

Cy Twomby:

All of the above drawings/prints use line, but with the addition of colour, except the RH monoprint by Cy Twomby – this I thought I could imitate using wax crayons/oil pastels with ink or watercolour.

David Hockney’s prints include some complicated patterns in their backgrounds, whilst Raoul Dufy’s exquisite paintings use predominantly line with colour to assist in recognising certain elements of the picture and enhance compositional elements.

In addition to the above I started by producing a drawing thinking about the feedback from Part 1 and Jenny Saville’s use of charcoal in her Mother and Child series – using an underdrawing or smudged charcoal background under bolder/expressive outlines:


I was pleased with my mark-making and feel that I have captured the roses and lilies well – some of the the marks could be seen as too heavy, however this was also another experiment that I enjoyed – I do have a passion for flowers/plants!

My next experiment was using the idea of the B&W image by Cy Twomby:

DSC_0108 Here I used a white/pale yellow oil pastel first then painted black acrylic ink over the top – then in the LH image enhanced the image with white soft pastel and then scratched/scraped into the paper to make more interesting destructive marks. In the RH I added black and white pastel marks to the initial drawing.  The RH image worked better for me and I captured a couple of the roses better that in the previous one.  I need to practice/study individual flowers if I am to draw loosely but accurately!

I made some more quick sketches continuing to imitate the marks of Cy Twomby – this time in colour:

I tried to work loose but to maintain the detail and form of the individual roses. I was pleased with the result and with my range of mark-making using coloured pencils.

I have always greatly admired the work of David Hockney who never ceases to experiment and inspire.  I was taken by his images above and their complex simplicity. My version of his lilies – but with the same vase of roses as above worked well but lacked the impact of Hockney’s version:


It was also an opportunity to include an example of negative and positive space – this I thought worked well. I was pleased with the crossed hatched background which was a little unusual.

Finally, I had been waiting patiently for an opportunity to use watercolour and ink and the inspirational work of Raoul Dufy was a chance too good to miss.  Using his flower paintings/drawings as my guide, I made the following line drawing by first painting layers of colour to highlight individual flower/leaf colours and use this as the background for my loose/expressive mark-making. As before I need to practice drawing individual flowers more often – perhaps by contour/blind contour drawings – over and over again.

Final drawing – inspired by Raoul Dufy:




Part 1 Form and gesture

Exercise 4 Shadows and reflected light

In this exercise I used a stainless steel coffee pot and a silver morrocan teapot. Whilst both surfaces were reflective they were not that interesting in terms of reflections/reflected light. The forms however were quite different in that the coffee pot was a modern design and the teapot a more traditional ornamental one.

I used a new heavy 250g mixed media A2 sketch pad from Daler Rowney. As per the exercise instructions the drawing was made using charcoal and a putty rubber.

In the first drawing I used compressed charcoal and found the exercise extremely difficult – the forms worked out ok but I feel that I did not represent the reflective surfaces very well…possibly due to the choice of objects or lack of detail in my drawing/mark making.

Tea and coffee pots 1

I did however like my rendering of the teapot: the handle, spout and feet and the introduction of patterning on the surfaces. I believe that the highlights were not successful and used a white charcoal on top of the black which turned out grey! This was possibly because I should have fixed first.

As I was not entirely pleased with this drawing I made a further study – this time with willow and compressed charcoal, a large paper stump and a putty rubber. I also changed the position of the objects to try and improve reflections between the two surfaces.

Tea and coffe pots 2

Tea and coffe pots 2

The use of the paper stump  and the richness of the marks made with the willow charcoal helped this time, and made a significant difference to the rendering of reflections and the range of light and dark in this drawing. I was also much more successful in making highlights with the rubber without resorting to the use of white charcoal. I need to be more aware of my mark making as in this drawing there was less variation compared to my first attempt.

Obviously I need more practice in the rendering of reflective surfaces in charcoal!

Upon reveiwing my work and the rendering of primary/secondary reflected light – I am aware of the meaning and the visual effects created but have not as yet been succesful in demonstrating this adequately enough in my work. The nearest to it is the second drawing above – where in the teapot surface you can see the reflected effects of the coffee pot.

Part 1 Form and Gesture

Project 2 Exercise 2 Observing shadow using blocks of tone.

The two simple shaped objects I chose for this exercise were two yellow – very ripe (and just about to rot!) quinces. I placed then on a white cloth and lit them from the side with a lamp – during the exercise I realised that there was another light source playing on the objects – that of the ceiling (the light I was obviously using to work).

Quinces I worked with large charcoal sticks on a grainy, roughly A2 sized, paper. My first instinct was to draw lines to outline the quinces – in the upper drawing you can see the lines I used quite clearly. I then used a small stick and my finger to manipulate the tones. This quick drawing worked well but I needed to practice more the use of tone only…. in the lower drawing I introduced some background detail to help define the shape rather than draw the shape. I used line only at the end of the sketch – see below:

Quince 02  I then realised that it was entirely possible to work in just tone to make the form believable so made two more sketches on another large sheet. This time I worked carefully with a small piece of charcoal to find the midtones, leaving the whiter lighter areas blank. Then as the exercise required worked up the darker elements using very little rubber to find the highlights. Again in the second (lower) sketch I introduced background elements to emphrasize the form and used very little line.

Quince 01 I noticed the secondary light source shadows and shadow cast from the RH quince on the other. Also in the upper LH quince I managed to show a little of the form of the fruit emerging from the stalk.

After finishing the exercise and reflecting on my work, I felt that there were some basics that I missed.  Firstly I did not have a background to fill the sheet and introduce more shadows/reflections – or at the very least an interesting background to help ouline the form of the objects. Secondly, I could have changed the composition or changed the objects to add variation to the exercise. I did not have time to do this as I had to prepare for a business trip to Europe (next week).

From a very early age I have been awestruct with the still life drawings and watercolours of apples by Cezanne – for that reason I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and will revisit it in the future –  the works of Cezanne are now in my sight as a challenge!

Part 1 Form and gesture

Part 1 Form and gesture

Project 2, Exercise 1

Groups of objects

There were some key details in the requirements of this exercise: to choose a group of three dimensional objects – cylinders, rectangles, cubes etc and the less regular for example a plastic bag, netting etc., firstly work large, be imaginative in the surface types and colours, use just one colour, fill the sheet with the drawing, imagine you can see through the objects and to try to evoke some kind of expression in the marks made and the relationships you create inside and around the edges of the objects/picture plane….a great deal to think about.

I started off very wooden….creating a large charcoal drawing on a white textured surface. The drawing worked well but was in my opinion not very creative.


My second drawing was very loose – using a purple oil pastel on newspaper print – I did not choose the newpaper sheet well and I believe I used a colour that did not suit the background – I actually used two similar colours. Whilst not a good drawing it helped me think differently about the subject.


From the exercise text I thought about how the objects would look transparent – as if I could see each of them without form – just lines – more abstract. I chose a tinted slightly textured background and a soft yellow pastel for the medium. Again I tried to work quickly and with more freedom.


I was extremely pleased with this drawing as it was more imaginative and could easily be developed further as a coloured drawing/painting. If the lines were tighter and more controlled and the textures more detailed/intricate …… maybe later on I will return to this image!

Next I thought I would use my fineline coloured markers deviating from the one colour requirement. After finishing the drawing – I did not like all the white open space so painted over the whole drawing with a pale yellow acrylic drawing ink which smudged the fineliner marks (better to paint background first in future!) Then I tried to recover the highlights with soft white pastel, then the darks and mid range colour with more fineline marks…..not very succesful overall and I was very displeased with the drawing. This is a selection of the stages of this experiment:

Finally I decided to loosen up again and return to the newspaper print – this time being more selective in the page/background used and the medium colour.

These are the two final images for this exercise:

In the green image – I tried to use a page with just print but this was the only page suitable – and the colo colo badge/dark square below destract the eye a little.

I used several shades of green (not strictly one colour?) and was pleased with the effect created and the change of format to portrait worked well.

In the final black and white image the darkish grey background worked well – using a light grey charcoal – very fast and loose and without leaving the surface when mark making….at last I was trying to give the image some expression. I then worked over the image with white and black to bring the drawing to life. The background worked well this time, the portrait format also worked and my main criticism is that in trying to work loose I think I lost control of the drawing and my initial grey structure.

I found the subject easy to draw, but struggled with the balance of working loose/creative to achieve a more satisfactory result. I need to work on this in future exercises and in my sketchbook.