Exercise Study of light reflected from one object to another

I wasn’t sure what to use at first for this exercise, which I completed on 10/06/12. At least one of the objects needed to have a shiny reflective surface so I went hunting for something that fitted the bill. I chose two objects, a brass and copper jug and a shiny metal garden twine container. I arranged them side by side with a small gap between them as instructed and placed a light source to one side (please see figure 1, the camera position is a little different to my drawing position).

Figure 1
Set up for Exercise Study of light reflected from one object to another

The next exercise in the course requires the drawing to be done in charcoal so I thought that I would get some practise with using charcoal for this exercise. I chose to use my A3 sketch book for the drawing.

We were to draw the main shadow pattern created by the light source and then add the reflected light and shadow patterns to the drawing. Because for the next exercise we have to draw on an A1 or A2 piece of paper I tried to draw the objects larger on my A3 paper for practise. I was not very successful at enlarging the objects by much and to get them to the right proportions to each other I had to make quite a lot of adjustment to my initial drawing. The bottom of the brass and copper jug had multiple adjustments made to it. I really struggled to get the proportions right for that. I will need to work at becoming more accurate when I try to enlarge what I am drawing.

I found the charcoal hard to use today and I seemed to make some very clumsy marks with it and found it difficult to make nice smooth movements with it. I started with the garden twine container and then realised as I progressed more with the drawing that I should have started on the left hand side, then I would not have had to be so careful not to smudge the work I had just done, or had to hold my hand in weird positions to try and avoid smudging the twine container while working on the jug. I found the charcoal difficult to control the strength of the marks that I was making, and though they could easily be knocked back, I did find, throughout the drawing, I often only seemed to be achieving one tone, and a rather heavy one at that, with my strokes of charcoal. I also seemed to be very hesistent and tight with my mark making today. I think that this was due to a mix of being unsure of the best way to use the charcoal in this instance, finding it difficult to find hand positions that I wouldn’t smudge what I had previously done and being very unsure about how best to tackle the multiple reflections that I was seeing.

The range of reflections that were on the jug and container I found really quite intimidating when it came to trying to show them. There were so many of them! I went back to the instructions for the exercise and realised, that once again, I was concentrating so hard on one aspect because of worrying about that, that I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to be drawing the main shadow patterns created by the light source. So, it was a case of back to the plan.

I spent a while observing where the main shadow patterns were and then marked those in. The instructions were to then add the reflected light and shadow patterns to the drawing. It was fascinating seeing how the two objects reflected into each other and how they also picked up reflections from items in the room and from reflected light from the table surface and then threw these onto each other as well. I tried to draw the patterns that I could see and very slowly I started to complete the image. I was not very successful at showing the reflected light on the ellipses on the jug as I found it very difficult to control the charcoal enough to show the very fine bright light areas required. I had also made such a pigs ear of drawing the ellipses and had to correct them several times that I had lost the bright white of the paper after making multiple corrections. I need to establish a better underdrawing next time before getting carried away trying to record the reflected light and shadow patterns.

The final stage was drawing the surface of the table and shadow and reflection patterns in that.

I was pleased to complete the drawing A3 sketch book p.13 (please see figure 2).

Figure 2
Drawing in charcoal for exercise Study of light reflected from one object to another

When I had been adjusting my drawing in the early stages so much after the unsuccessful attempt at enlarging the image, I had very nearly given up on it and started a new one as it was beginning to look very messy. I am pleased though that I stuck with it as it was good practise to try and understand where I was going wrong and then try and find ways to correct that. I don’t think that I have done a very good job of this drawing and on looking at the drawing again I think that some of my tones should have been darker, I did find it quite hard to judge the depth of tone in some of the reflected areas. I also do not think that I have got the ellipses on the jug quite right, . Another lesson learnt from today is that there is no point worrying about an exercise to come, it is better to concentrate on the job in hand. I also think that charcoal may not have been a good choice to do this drawing in as the drawing is quite small and perhaps charcoal is better suited to less fiddly and bigger drawings, or perhaps I just need to get better at using it. I could keep adjusting and adjusting the drawing but I think that I will leave it now and move on.

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