Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Charcoal Portrait

At the beginning of my annual leave, I decided I would do some sketching as well as painting. This is the first sketch, a warm-up so to speak, and even though there are many things I would like to correct, I am quite pleased with it, especially the likeness to the 'model' which surprised me as I wasn't too concerned with that at first. It was sketched from a rather dramatic photograph taken in artificial light. I just loved the way the folds of the scarf emerged from the pitch black background and this was a delight to represent in the sketch. I had forgotten the range of options available with charcoal, and I unfortunately started this out on paper that was slightly too rough for the effect I was trying to achieve. I thought I had finished it last night with only a few minor corrections to make this morning, but when I got close to it in the cold light of day, I saw there was so much more I could do to bring it closer to the actual photograph. The first layer of charcoal on the background wasn't intense enough to convey the stark chiaroscuro of the photograph, so I was glad I had sprayed fixative over the whole sketch last night. This gave the surface a 'tooth' this morning and I was able to darken the work quite considerably. This was a good learning excercise for me and I had forgotten how quickly one can finish a drawing compared to an oil painting, with the added benefit of it being suitable for night time work when it's easier to work with black and white knowing there will be no colour mistakes in the morning.


Charcoal on Cartridge Paper - 11.5" x 11.5"


AutumnLeaves said...

A fabulous drawing, Anne! The charcoal medium works well for highlighting the expression on her face. I find myself wondering about this model, what is going on in her life...

Anne Campbell said...

Thanks so much Sherrie. Yes, I loved the charcoal after not playing with it for ages.