Project 2 Exercise 2 – Still life in tone using colour
During my research and practice work for this part I completed two sketches of fruit using first just pencil – this helped visualise the tones within the still life – and then using coloured pencils:
In these studies I concentrated on the form and use of colour – also cross hatching and building up layer upon layer of colour of various shades to achieve the final result.
I tried hard to produce tone without line/heavy outlines – I believe I achieved my objective and produced a satifactory range of tones from light to heavy dark tones in between the fruits. The LH shadow from the bowl and fruit could have been darker – especially in the colour version – to balance the offset orange.
My final study for this exercise was completed in soft pastels on black A4 pastel paper (A4 because I did not have any other size black pastel paper!)
I spent some time setting up the still life and the lighting. I wanted the vases to dominate the picture and chose three very distinct coloured vases each with a different texture, colour and pattern. I also wanted to concentrate on representing the forms of the flowers in an accurate but loose manner.
I was extremely pleased with the final result – the drawing took about 2-3 hours. Although I was totally immersed in the work, I did step back on several occasions and assess the progress (as called for in the exercise). The exercise was an exercise in tone so I concentrated on tone not line. I believe I achieved a good range of tone using colour and represented the flowers in the best way possible with the medium/format size.
I felt that this picture marked a big step in my learning process and has given me more confidence to experiment and push myself more. I effectively simplified the forms of the vases and flowers using several layers of pastel to achieve the final result without using line. Another issue was composition where I used the small yellow vase to draw the viewer back from the two busy but orderly/dominant vases placed further back. There was also a sort of grounding with this vase as it was rendered in similar colours/tones to the background.
The coloured pencil study used line and colour to achieve form – also a step forward for me in producing a piece that was like a stepping stone to more technical processes in other mediums.
Reflection on the last two exercises:
What aspects of each drawing were successful, and what did you have problems with?
Flowers/leaves can be challenging and I had difficulties working loosely but accurately rendering their forms/patterns. Fruit is less difficult to render loosely. I successfully experimented with many different styles during these two exercises demonstrating a versatility within my work that needs to be exploited further.
Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawing and still life groupings helped to create that sense?
Only in the smaller studies of flowers did I achieve a sense of depth using line and perhaps to a certain extent in the watercolour drawing. The greatest sense of depth was achieved in the last still life above where I used the placement of the vases to help with this. The use of lighter tones at the forefront of the images – for instance in the fruit grouping and the vases – also increased the sense of depth. Also see my comments above regarding the small yellow vase and its effect on the composition.
What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone?
Being restricted to just line or tone did not produce restrictions for me personally – on the contrary – it allowed me to look for other solutions and avenues to explore.
How did using colour affect your working method?
There is a lot more to think about when using colour – as it can alter the depth of the composition, change the focal point and even the mood of a drawing/painting. It has pushed me further … to think deeper during the execution of my work.