Etiqueta: Monochrome

Part 1 Form and gesture

Project 2 Research point – Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon (1840-1916) initially worked in black and white using a variety of charcoal, oiled charcoal, black and white chalk, and black pastel in which he was able to produce very atmostpheric, mystical, symbolist drawings on both white and prepared tinted papers. This selection of media enabled him to produce a full range of tones using the atmostpheric contrast of deep darks and very light areas to create tension and mood.

Two of his works that struck me most were both entitled The Apparition:

The Apparition (Charcoal on paper) – Bridgeman Image no. CH1768085. Small amount of line, mostly tone on prepared/coloured paper.

Apparition (Pencil on paper) Bridgeman Image no. CH825768. Beautifully drawn with large variety of crosshatching and line to produce the ghostly figure.

Another drawing that I liked very much was:

The Reader (Charcoal drawing on paper) – Bridgeman Image no. TAD1748114. Deep blacks brilliant whites, lines drawn, scratched, crosshatched – large range of tone to add atmostpheric mood to image.

I believe that he also used coloured papers to further enhance the atmostpherics /mood of his dark images – such as the image in the course notes:

Two Trees (Charcoal on paper) c. 1875

After completing Exercise 4 – Shadows and reflected light, I experimented with two rapidly drawn sketches using a prepared background of acrylic paint in my A2 sketchpad – one in Ultramarine dark, the other in yellow ocre (a similar colour to Redon’s Two Trees). I found that the yellow ocre was more effective in changing the mood to a more nostalgic/antique feel:

Morrocan teapot

The power of Redon`s images were not because of his strange and macabre subject matter because much was considered to be old fashioned and unoriginal, but they depended on his great range of visual effects of which he was a master. Even when limited to a monochrome palette, he exploited to the full the effects of line, texture, and tone to impart resonance, mystery and atmostpherics to his subjects. It was in this technical mastery that he was ahead of his time.


Bridgeman Education Library

The Great Artists. Their lives, works and inspiration.  Marshall Cavendish P.2593-2624