Project 2 Research Point Odilon Redon Atmosphere

Odilon Redon (1840- 1916) was a French painter who worked in charcoal and lithography (Until 1890) to create what he called his “Visionary works- Noirs”. In various shades of black the work depicts tone and atmosphere.

(Notes from Wikipedia)

Two trees, 1875 - Odilon Redon

Two Trees 1875 (charcoal on paper)

I believe Odilon Redon uses the negative space that surrounds his subject matter to create the atmosphere. I believe he has captured the aura of objects, people, places and scenes. He has done this by using deep dark tones, small marks and the changes in size and harshness of the marks. He depicts the energy of the light and how the energy is absorbed onto the trees. I believe to create the atmosphere is looks past just the black and white tones of the shadows and concentrates on the marks. Odilon Redon’s intricate detail in “Two Trees” really intrigues me and the techniques created with charcoal.

Cauldron of the Sorceress - Odilon Redon

Cauldron of the Sorceress 1879

In Cauldron of the Sorceress 1879 the atmosphere and the artists use of symbolism is more obvious and uses swirling darkness representing the subject matter.

Project 2 Exercise 4 Shadows and reflected light

Again I loved this exercise particularly  playing with reflections, light and shadows: how the different objects/ reflective surfaces  work together to provide an interesting shadows and using a large torch to change the light that reflects on the objects.I have experimented with the use of marks and lines previously studied in this course.

I used charcoal and an eraser on A2 paper. The paper didn’t have as much of a tooth as the paper I used for the previous exercise but I do not think I have lost any effects.

I used a stainless steal kettle to shadow a mug and tried very hard to leave any negative space by filling the sheet. I followed the exercise well; drew the basic pattern of shadow first with sweeps of charcoal and used the white of the paper to represent the lightest tones. Finally lifting out the smallest lightest tones with the point of a putty rubber and using harder marks, sharp edges to create details.

I think I have captured the light and reflected light well and made some very interesting marks. I personally prefer the first Image 1 as like the simplicity (this was taken half way through creating the final image). Again I need more practice with working on a larger scale (A2 paper) as photographing the work shows the discrepancies with the correctness of the form and shape of the Kettle.

Image 1 Building shadow, simpler, less marks
Final Image
Sketches black ink and charcoal experimenting for final assignment 

Project 2 Exercise 3 Creating shadow using lines and marks

I had a barrier to overcome with this exercise, I do not like cross hatching or stripling for the sake of creating an image in my work unless its natural. I like to draw what I see and if a shadow is smooth then tend to leave it that way or if there is natural texture then I add it in. I like other peoples drawings with it in especially if the drawing naturally has a lot of expression in it as a whole. Anyhow I followed the exercise and the results are OK. I need more inspiration in this area. I like stippling in the work of the impressionists/ pointillism and use for more abstract work.

George Seurat A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte 1884-86, Oil on Canvas.

Project 2 Exercise 2 Observing shadow using blocks of tone.

I loved this exercise; I could have spent hours on it. I started by playing with objects and light using a torch (photograph). I created two A2 charcoal drawings. The first I drawing I mapped the composition first and tried a more realistic approach and added texture, I used the putty eraser afterwards to create light (Image 1). I enjoyed the curves I made in the darker shadows.

The second composition (Image 2) I covered the paper in charcoal first and just worked with shapes, gradient tones and shadows as I let go of perspective, correctness or realism of the composition and purely made marks (reminded me of Project 1, Exercise 1, Expressive lines and marks). I rotated between the eraser, strength and motions of the marks of the charcoal to create bold strokes and texture. I finally added an outline to ensure the Mug wasn’t completely abstract.  My arms and hands were covered in charcoal and used varying lengths of charcoal to create both pieces; I had a lot of fun making the compositions and particularly noticed how my body moved when drawing. Overall I prefer Image 1.

I’m hoping I have captured mood in my drawings: the darker shadows representing anger with light shown as smooth and gentle. I had to use watercolor paper as it was the only paper with ‘tooth’ that hobby craft had in stock in A2 however the texture is beautiful.

If I was redoing this exercise I would correct the mug in Image 1 as it is slightly wonky and add more detail to the tea towel. I am trying not to be too self critical and focus on the developmental aspect of the course rather than making each drawing a perfect masterpiece ( I have a bad habit of procrastinating on perfection).

Project 2 Basic Shape and Fundamental form. Exercise 1 Groups of objects.

The main challenge for me during this exercise was the requirement to use of A2 paper. I am used to doing smaller sketches on A4 or smaller. If I was redoing this exercise I would focus on correcting the outlines of some of the objects as they are leaning/ wonky. Although I have got the size of the objects in comparison to each other correct and created interesting arrangements of shape. But its just loose sketching.

I started this exercise using charcoal on Newspaper which didn’t work very well on the heavily printed areas of the newspaper. I then went over the drawings with a Biro pen to make the lines clearer. Then on A2 paper I did some very loose quick sketches using pencil and then black ink with an old cartridge pen that I used dipping the the nib in the ink (assuming it would be a similar techniques to a dip pen). I have never used a dip pen before or black ink in this way, however I like how the amount of ink on the nib determines the thickness of the lines and the looseness this creates. Finally using a ruler I created a more linear sketch. I have also included a loose sketch of starting to groups objects for ideas for assignment 1- Pills.

Unfortunately there is a lack of art supply shops in my area, limiting my local shopping to a badly stocked hobby craft, who were out of dip pens.

Here are some drawings of grouped objects from my sketch book. I have started thinking of objects to draw from my final assignment. I was looking as objects as personal representation. Musician- guitar, Painter- brush, I met a person a few months ago who seamed to talk about about cleaning a lot, especially regarding only using 50p bottled bleach from supermarkets. I am exploring and trying to look for a narratives in my drawings.



Exercise 2 Experimenting with Texture

Sketch book drawings of fabric and basket weave
Sketch book close up of Huguette Despault May- Umbilicals 2009
Sketch of Huguette Despault May’s – Umbilicals 2009

I enjoyed the experimenting  with frottage and drawing different textures it was a good reminder to add more texture in my drawings and how enjoyable the different textures can be visually.

I focused on creating the rubbings in my garden and home and the effect of the media used on the paper. I started using A4 sheets and charcoal sticks, which I then switched to pencil. I wanted to create really detailed rubbings so used baking paper to get really close to the objects.

I am realizing how hard it is to photograph my drawings without a shadow of my arm and iPhone.

I have included sketches  I made from artist Huguette Despault May’s Hawser series in 2009, I really admire her techniques, realistic drawings that still capture atmosphere especially that the vine charcoal drawings are of simpler objects.


Exercise 1 Experimenting with expressive lines and marks.

I have struggled with this exercise by finding the time to do the exercise whilst in the right emotion to create the marks. I didn’t want to force the emotion. I also struggled with finding the negative emotions to make marks and lines with. I love using expression in my art, I find it tends to create more abstract work but  I like putting emotion in the smallest of details especially figure drawing. I started the exercise (with permission from my tutor to use A4 paper to save time) using only black/ pencil marks, but couldn’t help wanting to use colour when expressing happiness/ joy. My daughter had her massive coloring set open so picked up the felt tips, crayons along with oil pastels. I also found it hard to not want to put symbols in the marks (sun for happiness). I will keep this exercise in the back of my mind for when the situation arises to capture a genuine emotion. I did notice the pressure of how I was making the marks changed, it was gentle for calm and very heavy for anger. Happiness and joy just flowed, i noticed lots of curves and felt free… very similar to the exercise with the washing up liquid. I noticed more angles in the marks using the emotion anger.

Calm, Charcoal, crayon, pencil, oil pastels
Anger, Charcoal  and Crayon