Project 2: Exercise 4: Shadows and Reflected Light

I struggled somewhat with this exercise, purely because I could not find many objects which were reflective and located in the same area (none of which I was able to carry around with me either)!

I finally settled on three stainless steel cylindrical vases which were resting on a shelf and placed one next to the other, from smallest to largest.  Again, I worked rather freely to create this piece with the charcoal, using large, bold strokes of the charcoal to show the darker tones / shadows of the piece and used a putty rubber to lift out the lightest tones / reflected light / light from the overhead spotlight and, once again, not focussing on the overall shapes of the objects.

Three stainless steel vases

I found this exercise very similar to my previous exercise and at times became confused with trying to separate the two!  I enjoyed being expressive and unrestricted and maintaining a lack of self-control of my movements, as opposed to working intricately to create a ‘masterpiece’.  I really enjoy the freedom of expressive mark-making and will definitely use it in my future works.  I found myself allowing some emotions to flow whilst creating this piece too; I worked vigorously, relieving stress in the darkest areas, but moved delicately and gently for the lightest.

Completed three stainless steel vases

Upon closer inspection, I do not think the lines really connect with each other well, but I was shocked to find that if I looked from further away, I could clearly see the objects they were meant to be and how the tones – whilst contrasting – seem to come together and work in harmony to show the finished objects.  This really fascinated me! 

Whilst I was happy with the outcome of this piece, there were parts I thought could do with improvement; the shape of the tallest vase is quite wide compared to the actual object, the shadows on the ground are not wide enough, the reflected light on the vases is not well placed, as aren’t the darker tones on the vases, though I wonder how much of this is due to the difference in my positioning and viewpoint.  I was, however, slightly disappointed in my lack of control with the charcoal and can only marvel as to how artists such as Odilon Redon are able to imbue such skill and control over the medium.  I think I need to work more on the formation of the objects and my control over the charcoal – perhaps using fixative and building the piece up in layers?

I then moved on and created a piece using just one vase which had circular indentations.  I found the light reflected beautifully on this object, but I wanted to experiment by using pencil.  For this, I decided to focus mostly on the shaded areas, laying out only the basics for placement of the shapes and indentations etc.  When I had finished this piece, I was absolutely thrilled with the result.  Whilst I think I lost some of the shaping to the vase on the bottom right hand corner, I really like how, again, up close the markings just look very harsh and quickly done, yet from afar the vase appears very fluid.  I think I could have also added to the depth of the object more by using more curved cross-hatching with emphasis on the horizontal lines as opposed to the vertical to help show the curvature of the vase.

Reflective vase with circular indentations

Going forward, I really want to learn how to manipulate charcoal in such a way as to resemble the clarity and sharpness of the pencil as artists such as Redon are capable of achieving in their work.

Completed vase with circular indentations
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