For the last 2 weeks, students (and myself!) have enjoyed exploring the versatility and magic of using charcoal as the underpainting builder. In my preamble to creating the piece, I asked students to relax, not only their minds but the way they hold the charcoal. Tipping the charcoal/conté up like a pencil can make us too fussy in our approach, too imposing. I encouraged students to hold the charcoal parallel to the canvas - yes - you lose a little control but gain some very lovely marks in your piece. This was especially important in the trees paintings, and the results were lovely. After creating the initial drawing, the canvas was sprayed with workable fixative to preserve the drawing. More charcoal was added, unsprayed, to add tone. Then gesso was sparingly applied to lighten areas of the painting - mostly scumbled, or applied deftly with a lift to the hand at the end of each stroke to better integrate the application with the underpainting. Students were asked to consider the rhythm of their piece, using darks and lights to move the eye. Finally, the paintings were glazed with one unifying colour, more white applied to bring forward specific light areas, and then a snow effect was sprayed on.
In week 2, we used images of barns to create a lovely rustic scene, using the same process. The only difference was that we did take more time and care drawing the structures in conté/charcoal first, but tried to take the looser approach for the trees and other marks. The results were pretty stunning, as you can see.
Welcome to my blog, about my classes and activities at Cedar Lane Studio. Feel free to comment (but don't be mean :(