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. 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. 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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