Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Simple Joys of Black & White

Griswold Point in Black & White, charcoal, Jan Blencowe copyright 2010


Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. The goal for this drawing was to capture, texture, atmosphere, distance and light in a way that wasn't tight, fussy or filled with minute details. It was the texture of the wide variety of grasses, shrubs, trees, leaves, flowers, stalks and branches that made this scene so fascinating to me. When I was at this location taking pictures in October the vast array of textures was as magnificent as the autumn color and the sensation of walking through all those textures is what stayed with me and what I remember most clearly.

In an effort to eliminate the temptation to get lost in the deliciously warm autumn colors I decided to work in black and white to focus on texture. Having the right materials and tools goes a long way to achieving your goals when creating a work of art.

I have a stack of absolutely to die for, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous handmade paper my friend and fellow artist Claudia Post gave me a few days ago.  As I leafed through it this morning I found the perfect piece for this drawing, a heavy, warm gray sheet with lots of hefty texture. Because of the texture I chose to use vine charcoal. Vine charcoal allows me to push the charcoal into the papers rough surface with my finger to create an area of tone plus it allows me to skim the surface for a gentle scumble of tone or draw delicate, sensitive lines on top of it all. The addition of a white conte pastel gave me the value range I needed for a convincing depiction of space and atmosphere.

The other essential tool for painterly drawings such as these is a kneaded eraser which I employ almost as much as the stick of charcoal when working.

So a beautiful handmade paper, a stick of vine charcoal, a white conte pastel and a kneaded eraser were all that I needed to recreate those beautiful textures I found so fascinating. Simple, effective and direct this is a lovely way to interpret a subject. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Joan Cole said...

With color or without, the paintings you create are so beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to share your process.