Study of an Umbrella

Organised a still life setup in my studio space and got some people together to do a sort of observational drawing practice session, and this was my favourite piece from it by far. It’s a mixed media approach and completely freehand, straight on to the paper with charcoal and pastel. The approach of going dark to light appeals to me much more than starting from a light colour or white; it makes a lot more sense in my mind.

Colour registers in my mind as different levels of light, so to me a white page or canvas looks full, not empty. A black canvas is empty because it holds no light, and because the process of painting is an additive process, it makes more sense to me to add the light to the image, not the dark.

I tend to follow that up by starting off with the lightest areas of the subject, then working back through the into the darker colours, until I rejoin with the background colour. This was a simple study though so it didn’t entirely hold up.

It sounds like I’m attempting to make something sound more complex than it is, because this is essentially the way children do it… but I do actually enjoy working from outline, filling it in, and then letting the colour eradicate part of that outline, as if the light is swallowing up the harsh corners. There’s something about the folds of the umbrella which remind me of Da Vinci’s style, or it could be the relationship between the two pinks, but once I noticed that connection, I ran with it and tried to emulate that kind of aesthetic.

The unfinished corner bit was resulting from a bottle of latex being in the way (it was a huge jumble of objects okay), and for some reason I didn’t like the idea of using artistic license on this one.

Shock horror.

I wanted to isolate it from the pile, in my perspective, and to do that whilst preserving the sense of presence I thought I needed to draw what I could see and nothing else, isolating it but maintaining a very subtle connection to it’s surroundings.

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