Tag Archives: chiaroscuro

Mamelles

11 Jan

mumbles

Out and about this morning, I had an ice cream in Joe’s ice cream parlour and then nipped down to the beach for a quick scribble in my A4 brown paper sketchbook, with conté crayons in black, white and sanguine. The light was quite dramatic, full of chiaroscuro.

That’s Mumbles in the background. The name is supposed to have originated with French sailors who, many years ago, upon sailing around the headland and seeing the twin islands for the first time, exclaimed ,”Mamelles, Mamelles” which translates as “Breasts, Breasts”. Trust the French, eh?

 

Then this evening, onto a lovely exhibition by local artist Jeffrey Phillips at Swansea’s Environment Centre.

jeff phillips

Jeffrey’s exhibition of humanist and environmental artworks, Desire and Despair, runs from January 11th to February 15th Tuesday to Friday 10 – 4 and Saturday 10 – 2.

Out Of The Gloom

29 Dec

window 2

I’m ploughing on with atmospheric sketches based on digital photos from the old church in Swansea that I visited a few weeks ago. I’m trying to keep it as minimal as possible, with more black than white, emphasising the chiaroscuro. I’m using conte crayon into an A4 ‘Ebony’ sketchbook by Daler Rowney. I took the photos on my Samsung phone and downloaded them into Adobe Photoshop where I did a bit of tweaking to bring up the black balance, then I drew from the adjusted photos.

Chiaroscuro In A Doorway

28 Dec

door

After a bit of a break for Xmas and too much good food and gallivanting, it’s head down for a bit more serious work. I’m carrying on with my series of small drawings from photos taken in the old church recently, using the simplest of materials, white conte crayon into an A4 Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook. I’m trying to explore atmospheric mark making and get out of my comfort zone, which is a fine pen into a little sketchbook. These drawings emphasise chiaroscuro and I hope they’ll eventually lead to some more finished work in manier noir style drawings or even some mezzotints. These interiors remind me a bit of German Expressionist film sets, one of my favourite periods of art and printmaking.

Nothing Fancy

22 Dec

stripped back

Another vista from the old church, a spooky corridor beyond a heavy door. It was a dark and rainy day when I took the photos, no artificial light and precious little natural light which added to the atmospherics of the place. I decided not to use a flash because I wanted the deep shadows and high contrast, the effect of chiaroscuro. I used the simplest materials – a small white conte crayon into a Daler Rowney spiral bound A4 Ebony sketchbook. Nothing fancy.

Darkly Drawing

24 Apr

Day 1 WP

Spent a happy day at the Creative Bubble artspace in Swansea with the 15 Hundred Lives collective on our monthly public art event. I’m continuing with a series of manier noir drawings inspired by a visit to Berlin a couple of winters back. I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a couple of feet of snow and it was even more powerful and awe-inspiring than normal, throwing stark shadows between the dark stelae like a German Expressionist film set.

I learned the manier noir drawing technique from Irish printmaker Aoife Layton. I started by stretching a large piece of Fabriano Accademica paper on my wall and giving it two coats of acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I scribbled over it with blocks of compressed charcoal and then rubbed it in with my hands to get a fairly even, black surface. I draw with wire wool (steel wool) and fine grade aluminium oxide paper, or sand paper, rubbing away the black to reveal tones of grey and white highlights. It gives a dramatic, sculptural, chiaroscuro effect. The phrase manier noir means ‘in the dark manner’ and is often used to refer to mezzotint prints.

These are three separate drawings; I’m working on one piece of paper because it’s easier to prepare one larger rather then lots of smaller pieces. Eventually I’ll separate them and frame them up, probably in very plain boxy frames, for an exhibition coming later this year.

Drawing Darkly

25 Feb

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I spent some time in my studio today, starting a ‘manier noir’ style drawing. It’s a type of reductive drawing, working from black to white, rubbing away areas of charcoal to reveal the highlights. It’s the very first of a substantial body of drawings and original prints I have planned.

I prepared Fabriano Accademica paper with gesso and when it dried, I rubbed it evenly all over with compressed charcoal, using my hand to get a smooth black surface. I ‘draw’ into the charcoal with steel wool and very fine sandpaper. This technique results in a subtle but dramatic chiaroscuro.

Manier noir is an alternative name for the printmaking technique mezzotint, where an engraved metal plate has the highlights smoothed away with a steel burnisher.

Head In Chiaroscuro

14 Aug

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Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop and I continued practicing portraits using my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8 with the free Markers app.

I created a dark background and worked up the head in greys and white, emphasising the chiaroscuro effect from the ceiling spotlight.

Indulging Myself

6 Feb

06 Ben

Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I really like this model because he’s as thin as Egon Schiele’s models and I came all over German Expressionist. We had one of the spotlights on so I was able to indulge myself with some chiaroscuro. I also love extreme foreshortening like this. Great evening 🙂

I drew onto an A3 size canvas sheet that I’d prepared with an acrylic yellow ochre wash. I’d used it previously for drawing but I didn’t like it so I drew this on top. I worked with black and white conte crayons, white oil pastel and a stick of carbon.

Man On Floor

8 Aug

08 floor

Does what it says on the tin. A man. On the floor. Just got back from life drawing group this evening, at Swansea Print Workshop, and had a terrific pose to draw, with difficult angles, perspective and foreshortening. Lovely. I’m a bit of a masochistic scribbler. The workshop has strong spotlights that give good chiaroscuro effects. I used a dip pen, Indian ink, a variety of sable brushes with ink wash into an A3 cartridge pad.

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