Part 2, Project 4 ex 2 Still life in tone using colour

You’ll work very differently in this second still life exercise. Set up another still life group. Before you begin, screw up your eyes and identify the darkest areas. (You may need to adjust the light using a lamp or strong sunlight.) Use a coloured pencil or pastel to sketch them in roughly, using the side of the medium to create broad strokes. Then, use a different colour to sketch in the mid tones, and yet another colour to sketch in the light tones. Work your way around the composition, adding layers of colour on colour, varying the type and pressure of mark, building up tone, shadow and contrasts.


1st attempt, using graphite pencil on A3 cartridge paper.


colour pencil on A3 paper








There was strong low wintry sunlight from the window plus ceiling lights in the dinner room.  I find the shadows interesting.

I use graphite pencil first do that I don’t need to worry about colour.  I need to put something on paper to help me see.

I then moved on to colour pencil.  No sunlight today so I lost some of the shadows.  I don’t particular like colour pencil.  It lacks intensity particular working at pace.

pastel on A2 cartridge paper

pastel on A2 cartridge paper

I think the frost glass vase and the round grey metallic vase work well.  But overall, I am not pleased with it.

I have only played with pastel once or twice recently.  Luckily I attended a demo with an artist using pastel a couple of days ago.  I am happy to try this medium again.




What aspects of each drawing were successful, and what did you have problems with?

I am more confident in drawing lines.  It may be because I used to practise Chinese calligraphy in my youth.  I found tone using colour problematic.

 Did you manage to get a sense of depth in your drawings? What elements of the drawings and still life groupings helped to create that sense?

Yes, I manage to get a sense of depth in my drawings.  Placing an objects in front of another; and the relative positions of objects.  For example, in my previous line drawing, the tape holder is placed in front of the bamboo pen holder.  The bamboo pen holder is lower than the flower pot.  It gave the sense that the bamboo pen holder is closer to the viewer.  I could say there is a sense of depth even in my poinsettia line drawing.

 What difficulties were created by being restricted to line or tone?

Line drawings cannot depict curved edged well.  Also there are not hard lines around things in real life.  Therefore, line drawings cannot be photo realistic.  I found using restricted colours for tonal study difficult.  I need to learn more about tonal values of individual colours.  I am reading the Artist’s Colour Manual, the complete guide to working with colour by Simon Jennings.  I just hope that it will improved my colour blindness.

How did using colour affect your working method?

With colour is more complicated.  That is why I need to just use graphite pencil to work out the shape and tone first.


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