Project Four – Exercise 4: Monochrome

For this exercise I was wondering which objects to use. They should be contrasting enough and a combination of natural and man-made objects. I didn’t want to got for ordinary fruits and vegetables. Looking back at my ‘bathroom’ concepts/studies I was looking for a natural object to combine. I was searching for a narrative to tell. I found in our bathroom a small plastic duck, and I was thinking that there should be water alongside it. I took a waterglass and while playing with some found stones in my studio I was looking at a plastic net for oranges (I like the surface texture and patterns of it). I came up with my narrative about the duck at the sea, fisher nets around etc. I made some quick compositional studies to capture the best set up for my idea: duck on a stone looking at the water glass and the net around them. I chose a viewpoint from below, actually I had to sit on the ground to look up for a more majestic appeal. Also I decided to cut off the objects at the left (stone) and bottom edge (net) in order to focus more on the duck and the water.

Stefan513593  - project 4 - exercise 4 - still life in monochrome

Stefan513593 – project 4 – exercise 4 – still life in monochrome

I went for coloured pencil as here I could find the wider tonal range for a chosen color (reds, blues, ochres). I did not want to go for the blues (too cold) and after checking the reds they seemed to me too artificial. Therefore I went for the ochre range (light to dark ochres and umbra).

For the foreground I wanted to do a frottage (wall texture) as this seemed to me quite right for a kind of beach impression. I checked it first on my sketchbook paper and it turned out ok. Unfortunately, it did not work so well on my chosen paper (too thick). Further, I experimented to get the texture and the patterns of the net right, till I found a good way of doing it: frisket pen line drawing, ink washes, peeling off and line drawing on top of the white marks with coloured pencil.

Stefan513593 - project 4 - exercise 4 - sketchbook studies

Stefan513593 – project 4 – exercise 4 – sketchbook studies

My sequence of work was:
– Frottage for the foreground – 🙁
– Frisket pen drawing for net and highlights
– Ink washes in the foreground and lower half of the glass
– Line drawing in coloured pencil of the duck, net, and water glass
– Line drawing in chalk for the stone (to make it rougher in texture and contrasting with the duck)
– Background marks and light washes

Stefan513593 - project 4 - exercise 4 - work in progress

Stefan513593 – project 4 – exercise 4 – work in progress

I kept strong contrasts to make the duck appear bolder:
– Stone vs. duck: broad dark strokes vs finer and lighter detailed marks
– Duck vs background: light vs very light
– Glass vs background: light/mid tone vs. dark

Reflection & Learning

What did of well:
– Texture and pattern of the net well depicted
– Believable perception of water glass
– Contrasts with eye focus on duck and variety of contrast in the overall drawing for differentiation
– Differentiation of marks for patterns and texture

What did not go so well:
– The net infant of the glass is darker than in reality. At this space I could have done it brighter.
– Cast shadow of the stone a bit too weak. I could have make a darker ink wash before peeling off the frisket.

I really enjoyed this exercise. Although it took some time to find my objects and concept for the drawing. I am pleased about the final results and the narrative that is getting across. Again, I find that my pre studies on concept and composition as well as some more detailed studies for mark making helped me to get to the point.

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