Christine FisherArtworks and Crafts in Progress

Smoosh and Erase and Bzzzzzzzz!

Precious few art mediums give me as much joy as smooshing charcoal around on a page.

Like painting with soft pastels or even pastel pencils, this is definitely a “wear the grungy art apron over PJs” process that involves running the Roomba around my office floor afterwards. Keeping the white of the paper clean is a challenge. This piece was no exception. Powdery art supply molecules rapidly migrate over all surrounding surfaces while I blink, I’m pretty sure!

That said, charcoal is so capable of delicate details and subtleties, at least when it’s wielded by proficient hands. I’m fascinated by the work of charcoal specialists. This is the first charcoal piece I’ve done that I think achieved a reasonable level of detail and subtlety. It was one of the projects in a Domestika course by Sarah Stokes, and the explanations and demonstrations of the techniques were very helpful. No more only trying to capture the forms of fruit for charcoal! Now everything is fair game. (Just imagine me doing the evil genius cackle and manic plotting gestures.)

Between photography and learning to draw, I really appreciate the richness of really dark shadow colors and contrast. Getting the lightness and darkness right is what makes things look realistic, after all, but most folks enjoy the colors of things almost exclusively. “Value does all the work; color gets all the credit” is a maxim for a reason. I’ve been thinking about how color and charcoal could be made to work together, maybe on really heavy rough watercolor paper with a very very light pre-drawing? Hrmmm…

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