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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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!