For this exercise I had to make a colour study using only a narrow range of colours. I had to choose just 2 hues, one colour and its complimentary, and white to lighten the tone. I decided to try and keep the painting more monochrome. Simple I thought, I like graphite and work monochrome drawings so thought it would be easy. How wrong was I, to begin with I ran a tonal swatch in my sketchbook to see the various shades and then decided on my area of use. I had drawn several large quick positional sketches at the start of the two exercises so felt I didnt need to do any further studies before starting this picture.
I decided as with the previous painting there isnt enough time to blend as well as I felt should be done it would of taken a lot more hours to get the transitions better. Parts of the painting to me were a little painting by numbers. I find Acrylic is hard to work when blending and needs to be done in a small area. This allows a blend before the drying process. I didn’t try anything other than a straight forward painting either, as I wanted to concentrate on getting the shading correct.
I chose Violet, Cadmium Yellow, and Titanium White, because of time pressures there wasn’t enough hours to accurately look at the tonal differences and I am pretty sure to do the exercise properly it will take far greater time than we have on the course, so I will have to go back and really look at the shade, tone and light.
I think with the palette so limited, the darks and lights were without the depth, the picture lacks the punch it would have gained with darker darks. However I actually like this picture better than the first. It subtleness gives it a charm all of its own and I may have totally fallen for the limited pallet. There was a lot to be learned from this exercise so I am glad I chose it. Not only can you get multiple shades and tones using just two colours, the exercise mentally enforced the range you could get from using such a limited palette. I really enjoyed doing this painting and the knowledge I gained from it. Most certainly I would like to go on and try something similar with other colours.
For this exercise, I had to find a few simple objects to hand which are plain and un-patterned. A jug vase and some fruit would be ideal. Place them so that they are lit from the side, either by natural alight from a window or by lamplight.
A soft tonal drawing medium was to be used to do some simple studies of my objects in my sketchbook, to ascertain the best viewpoint and angle to use for a tonal painting.
I then had to use a board or sheet and using my drawing to help work on a simple tonal study. Work directly or lightly sketch in outlines with charcoal. I had to only use two colours and white – at least I think that is what was meant, I didn’t find that clear.
I did start with a charcoal sketch but I am not keen on this approach and may try the blue pencil or a plain carbon or graphite pencil. The Charcoal even when brushed off does show through light applications and can mix and taint the paint. The sketches were useful when deciding on the tone and grouping of the objects as I have found in the past what looks good in a photograph doesn’t always look good on paper.
The colours I chose were Burnt Sienna and Ivory Black as I didn’t have Payne’s Grey as suggested. Black was never used on its own always mixed with Burnt Sienna to create the shade wanted mixing with white when necessary and mixing was done by eye as I put down various layers in slightly different tones. I started with a dilute wash of Burnt sienna on the walls and base, the walls were my sketchbook, base a table cloth, there was a little artistic licence removing the pattern to keep it simple. I then laid down thin layers of dry brushstrokes and wash, to keep the background and base simple but interesting. I decided to do this to give the negative area some interest. I love Georgio Morandi since my tutor told me to take a look at his pots, his use of pastel colours I find very soothing. The remind me of the pastel painted houses in Greece so bring back happy memories. The day I painted the picture my objects were illuminated by both natural light and a table lamp, the shadow very deep so I felt the group of objects were balanced more if I used the shadow as balance and set the objects to one side. I enjoyed doing this tonal painting though I need to get some extender for blending in future. I think I managed the tone well, better than I handled the paint, which I found patchy and temperamental. Maybe I should put more colour down next time. the picture in various layers, a hang up from watercolour painting. I have never used Acrylic paint before starting this course and find it a great learning curve. I usually use pencil or watercolour.
Colour tone is still difficult I forget that acrylic paint dry’s darker and forget to compensate and need to keep that in mind when painting. Overall for a quick painting though I was surprised how well it came out and although the photograph below shows the tone of the teapot to be lighter, this is due to the light. I painted the picture from real life and not a photo, the photograph being taken the day after in different lighting conditions, for some reason the teapot looks much lighter possibly as the daylight was poor and the pots were illuminated mainly by lamp.