Project Six – Exercise 4: Line and wash

I was really looking forward to this exercise as it would hopefully give me some further ideas (see my reflection on project 5).This is another exercise that I am doing while traveling and staying in a hotel. And unfortunately I am doing this exercise as my father in law just passed away. Will see how my emotions and feelings get mixed with the studies.

I worked from my sketchbook studies from exercise 2. As I studied a few hallway works from contemporary artist in my research, I was wondering how I can get this theme with loose line and wash ahead. To warm up and feel the touch of different materials I did on A2 format blind quick sketches of the hallway with charcoal, pastel and brush pen with intention to keep larger areas blank. The latter one just running out of ink.

Stefan513593 - project 6 - exercise 4 - warm-up

Stefan513593 – project 6 – exercise 4 – warm-up

To experiment freely I did some sketchbook studies (A4) with combination of ‘ line’ materials as dip pen, brush pen, pencil, charcoal, and oil pastels. As ‘wash’ materials I used watercolor, ink, and gouache. I experimented here with the suggested wax resist technique, that gave new interesting patterns.

Stefan513593 - project 6 - exercise 4 - sketchbook

Stefan513593 – project 6 – exercise 4 – sketchbook


  1. Oil pastel -> water color wash: too overworked
  2. Brush pen -> two watercolor tones: blending on the paper, with expressive somewhat ‘dry’ marks of the pen
  3. Pencil line drawing -> ink washes -> ink line marks: pencil drawing is quite weak against the washes, ink marks on still wet surface makes nice blended tones
  4. Oil pastel line -> ink wash -> oil pastel marks: wax resist effect, I like the created patterns on the floor
  5. Charcoal marks -> gouache wash: gouache blends with charcoal giving an ‘eerie’ visual effect, where the wash gets dry it leaves sharp edges behind.
  6. Oil pastel broad markes with the side -> ink wash -> dry tissue to create textures -> final oil pastel marks: Using the side of pastel on rougher surface gives texture, good for wall.
  7. Charcoal toning -> gouache wash -> ink line marks: This was done on the opposite side of #6 and quite ‘wobbly’ surface, giving new structures. Final ink line marks makes the composition more into a narrative.
  8. Oriental brush pen -> ink wash: the dryness of the pen marks makes it rather indicative and less accurate.

I continued than working on some ideas I got from the sketchbook studies on A3 smooth paper and looking at the visual effects of different colors. As the paper doesn’t have tooth the ink washes and charcoal do not really stick and are more ‘flowing’ on the surface.

Stefan513593 - project 6 - exercise 4 - studies #1-2

Stefan513593 – project 6 – exercise 4 – studies #1-2

I felt very attracted to the floor and its visual impact on the overall composition. I tried to find new ways of exploring it. I was quite amazed by how a few colours can change rapidly the atmosphere and mood of the picture (#1-3).  I than focused more on the door opening in the middle and the floor as I felt that these two elements are the most interesting in the composition. This resulted in:
– #4: Black/dark door opening: rather close view, encapsulated
– #5: White/light door opening: rather surrealistic effect, raising question what is behind.
This reminds me back to some questions on interiors and doors from my research.

Oil pastels are quite thick and opaque, too much makes the composition flat with less depth perception. A combination of oil pastels and washes give for me the most interesting pattern (e.g. shininess of the floor).

Stefan513593 - project 6 - exercise 4 - studies #3-5

Stefan513593 – project 6 – exercise 4 – studies #3-5


I really enjoyed this exercise, as it gave me some way to express my current emotions. Also it brought me closer to my painting experience. I like the patterns created with a combination of oil pastels a and washes with further additional marks. Here I could apply multiple layers for different visual effects. Something I could not have achieved otherwise. Contrasting elements of rather empty areas and layered areas give a unique atmosphere and feeling. I find it an interesting approach to apply ink line marks above a wash and oil pastel marks. Ink and oil pastels do not match very well, rather competing and leaving some unique marks behind. Tapping with a dry tissue on still wet washes gives nice textures, very good for wall structures.

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