Category Archives: Project 3: Working on different coloured grounds

Tonal study on dark background

I was really excited about doing this exercise after researching artists such as Rembrandt who practice’s painting on to dark backgrounds.
I used a different colour compared to the study on the white background, as well as a different set of subjects. I replaced the apple with some grapes. After experimenting with positions and composition, what I wanted to achieve from this exercise seemed more fitting to grapes in comparison to the apple.
I used ultramarine for the background then simply used white for highlighted areas and a mixture of the two paints to range the tones. Now having completed this painting, I have to say that I preferred the colour from my previous study, however, I am happy that I took the opportunity to experiment.

Whilst spending some time in Galleries recently, I have become hypnotised by dark backgrounds. The way the subject seems to come out of the paper is incredible. This is a technique that I definitely want to spend some more time experimenting with. I can’t wait to explore different layers of colour, especially since my findings from previous exercises with regards to the vibrancy of paint from doing this.

I really want to perfect the smoking effect that Rembrandt achieves to enhance the shapes of the subject. I particularly chose to both angle the lamp and my point of view, to enhance the subject melting in to the darkness.
I plan on purchasing a thinner brush for finer details. Or twist it even finer once my paint is applied.

I really want to explore portraits using this technique and In fact several subjects. I really enjoy the dramatic/ extreme contrast that it brings to a painting. It creates a real sense of battle to a painting. Battling of emotions, the fight between light and dark. As well as colour in to the nothing and the subject being swallowed up by the darkness.

Finally, I positioned the subject to the right of the composition (off centre), because I wanted to include the shadow effect using this technique. I was unsure about doing this at first, however, I feel it adds to what I wanted to achieve during this exercise. I also wanted the paint to blend a little above the handle between the light and dark area of the shadow, however, this is a learning experience of using this technique.

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Exercise 1: Tonal study on white ground

Working on this exercise has proved to be challenging. I started with a candle and two small vases. I really wanted to explore the tones of the glass. However, after many sketches, the aesthetics really didn’t feel right so I decided to explore another set of objects.
I really love the combination of the apple and my favourite coffee cup. This is a comfortable and familiar view for me. I lit the composition from the side using a lamp. I originally used the window, however the tones were magnified immensely through artificial light which I am really happy with.
I began by exploring the placement options, etc. Until I brought them to a pleasing positioning.
Once I was happy, I sketched a basic image on to A4 treated paper using charcoal then gently brushed it away before starting to paint.
Using a white background is a situation that I am accustom to. I was able to achieve the range of tones comfortably. I used a mixture of cadmium red and ultramarine blue to achieve a deep dark purple tone. I then added white to achieve the several tones required.
I found the advice to squint really helpful to stop me from focussing too much on anything but the tonal range. I was really surprised that it actually works.

T.P.O.P p2 e1 001

I’m really happy with the results. I am surprised that I chose to use white paint instead of leaving it blank for areas reflecting light (I preferred the texture of the paint as well as being able to blend in colours of paint to white areas as and wen required).
The skills that I have practice’s here are very useful. This exercise has taught me to be less obsessed with the smallest detail. Also how important tone variation is and how effective a white back ground can be.
I am also find it a real positive to draw the same subject several times to perfect it.
As challenging as I may have made it by searching for the most pleasing collection of objects, etc, I am so happy that I spent that extra amount of time putting in the effort to do so and then being happy with the results,instead of rushing. I’m learning to take my time and enjoy the process much more.