Thursday’s Drawing – Classic #4

I had a lot of fun drawing today as work on the drapery and folds continue.  I only draw 1/2 hour on Thursdays, but I really enjoyed today and the clock ran for an hour.  I know you’re probably thinking “and that’s as far as you got?”

My process is three-fold:  put the charcoal on, blend it, take it off and repeat this process until I could see the gentle folds evolve.  I was careful in making sure that the darks and highlights were muted which is the main reason for building each fold with this process.  A cotton ball was used to blend the drapes because I wanted a smooth appearance, then a kneaded eraser was used to remove (barely touching the paper) and develop the lighter part of the drape.  Finally a 3B charcoal pencil was used to add the darkness between the folds, this darkness was blended using a rolled piece of felt because of its softness (tried q-tips, but they removed too much of the charcoal).

Charcoal is an interesting medium, messy, especially as I sanded down the willow sticks to draw with the dust and let me just say, it was everywhere.  But I love it and the more I work with charcoal the more I appreciate its qualities and use.  In this drawing I wanted the background dark, but didn’t want it to come forward and overshadow the ballerina.  And that is the number one reason charcoal is being used for the draperies, its flat qualities will keep it in the background.  This way when the ballerina is drawn in graphite (with its reflective qualities) she will be brought forward.

Next week I’ll work on the draperies one last time darkening them overall and cleaning up the folds – one reason why I like taking photographs while during these Thursday projects, you can see all kinds of things that say “fix me!”  After the drapes are completed the stage floor will be started (the area is covered with Frisket now to keep it clean), using graphite because it will reflect the lights and ballerina.

Hope you enjoy this stage of Classic.

Classic #4

Classic #4


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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21 Responses to Thursday’s Drawing – Classic #4

  1. Bellissima ballerina, lovely! Anf thanks for sharing you process, much to learn and…practice 🙂

  2. restlessjo says:

    What a lovely piece of work, Mary 🙂

  3. Interesting + you described the process clearly – so clearly I could actually envision the mess of the charcoal. It is a beautiful medium but I try to stay away because of the mess even though I am attracted to the effect. I love your piece so far. I don’t have this patience – I’d be working on it for hours without stop – wearing myself out. Perhaps you will make me think about that.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Jacqueline for your comments, really appreciate it. I really like the interaction of both mediums (charcoal and graphite), it makes for a fun project, but I’m not done playing around with new techniques yet on this drawing – a few more tricks up my sleeve! Stay tuned ~

  4. M-R says:

    When she’s brought forward, what’ll happen about the frisket on her fingertips and nose ? [grin]

  5. mamie says:

    Such a cool effect!

  6. The draperies looking really nice Mary and I hardly can wait to see the ballerina getting developed, as usual is always great to read your process being described so detailed!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, I’ve got another round to go on the draperies first and the floor – then I can settle in and work on her. I’m excited to get started, but I’m reining it in and working in stages so that I don’t get ahead of myself – gosh whatever happened to her legs, oh so funny the frisket got torn off!

  7. Painting for Joy says:

    She looks so ethereal at this stage. You could stop at this point and call it abstract! Very cool.

  8. i admire you for your patience with charcoal and pastel; i have a a bit of an allergy problem, so the dust usually makes me sneeze before i am finished. it’s been a long time since i’ve worked in either – perhaps i should try.. but no.. i have a tiny rattle in my chest right now, and i’m not a young gal any more… i’ll enjoy watching you, which is always a pleasure!z

    • Mary says:

      Hi Z! Thanks very much – oh yes, the dust is not a good thing. One of the reasons why I switched to oil pastels, the soft pastels were a dusty mess and I can imagine if you have allergies what both these mediums would do to you. Take care of that rattle, I’ll bet the wet season didn’t help.

  9. Terrific draperies! I feel the same about charcoal. It seeps into one’s pours;)

  10. cmartzloff says:

    Hi Mary, this is beautiful! I also appreciate how you share your process. I look forward to seeing this evolve. I also love charcoal because you can smudge it and get a great range of values! It is messy!!! I never thought to sand the willow sticks. I will have to give that a try next time I’m working with charcoal.

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