Assignment 1

Final Version of Still Life in graphite, charcoal pencils and compressed charcoal on cartridge paper

This has taken far too long to complete as I had surgery on my finger in December but I figured it was good practice to work on my first assignment. I spent an inordinate amount of time sweating over what objects to choose so finally picked ones whose shapes I most appreciated. The vase on the left is a special memento bought on a recent holiday to Canada, where we used to live and my son was born, so this piece does have a special meaning to me. I chose charcoal because it is my favourite medium although in choosing the pencils my work is not a loose as it would be so a lesson learned there!

Although I hope I have created believable shapes through tone, light and shadow, I would ultimately say this does not convey much feeling. This is clearly an area I need to work on, but I am not a hugely demonstrative personality either so we shall see how that works out!

Looking through my work I have noticed some objects have a tendency to lean to the right so that is something I have been working on, I’m not quite there yet either. You may observe that the right side of my objects are not quite the same as the left, again, a topic for consideration and further practice going forward.

Going back to the beginning of this process, my first attempt was in chalk pastels and a few different objects. As an experiment, to do the opposite of what I had bee doing, I used chalk pastels in unrealistic colours, I wanted to see if I could create a realistic depiction, which I found to be very challenging, perhaps something to be explored again. I deliberately lined them up in a very static composition, I have been looking at Giorgio Morandii’s work and wondered how to get the perfect balance and again tried something that I imagined to be wrong and I was right about that!

Version One, chalk pastels
Version 2, willow charcoal








My next quicker version was in willow charcoal which I quite like, even though the bowl didn’t work well, I liked the grouping of the other objects and decided to keep those in.





I also enjoyed the next quick sketch, also in charcoal, you can see a theme developing here, but I did try a new object.

Version 3, charcoal

Time for a change, I decided to go big, and change the composition, not bad but not loving it, more practice though to get the finger working again.

Version 4, charcoal

When I mentioned my tendency to lean to the left, and my struggles to get the proportions right, it was suggested to me to draw in chalk on black, I cannot recommend this exercise enough. For some reason it seemed to work quite well. I will definitely be using this method again and was pleased with how it looks.

Version 5, white chalk

Another exercise I worked on was bold contour lines, again as a warm up to my final version, mainly in an attempt to get proportions right:

Sketch 6, chalk pastels

This penultimate sketch was intended to be my final version but I couldn’t get proportions right.

Sketch 7, charcoal pencils

Ultimately I learned from this not to over labour things, I still need to practice basic shapes and I need to work faster, freer and show more emotion. I’m now about to parcel this up and send it off so will update this with the feedback from my tutor.


5 thoughts on “Assignment 1

  1. Faye Medler says:

    I hope you don’t mind me checking out your website but I absolutely love your staircase Louise and I disagree I think assignment one has a lot of feeling!

    Can I ask what materials you used for still life using line??


    1. Louise says:

      wow! thank you for your kind comments, you do wonder sometimes on this course if you are making progress, well I do at least! Under the images I have written what materials I used but I think I used pastels and charcoal. Am working with pastels for assignment two so hopefully there will be some improvement


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