This exercise followed on from the monochrome studies and developed the idea of the effect of using different coloured backgrounds. Initially it involved doing line drawings and tonal studies. Doing this in pencil without using colour did make it easier to analyse the tonal values. In creating a still life I kept it very simple with a vase, pepper grinder and a lemon.
Tonal study on white ground
For this study I used a palette of burnt sienna, yellow ochre and titanium white. For the background I used a mix of white with a little burnt sienna and then blocked in the main elements. I then worked on the tonal values working between the still life and checking against my tonal study. I did have trouble with the shadows and spent a lot of time trying to highlight them without overdoing it.
Tonal study on coloured ground
For the tonal study on a coloured ground the background was a mix of Prussian blue and burnt sienna. For the objects I used phthalocyanine blue, ultramarine and titanium white. It was easier to create a sense of form with this approach and this study took less time to work up than the one on the light ground. I liked the graphic effect and, as the shadows picked up on the background, had an easier time with this.
- Don’t jump in too quick. I set up a still life initially which was over-complicated and didn’t work. At this point I did some reading on what to think about when creating a still life and decided to keep it very simple at this stage.
- I would do more sketches from different angles and viewpoints. Having taken so long over the initial composition I felt I was losing time. In future I definitely need to leave time for the earlier stages of the picture.