Sunlight in a Bottle, graphite drawing

Continuing to work in graphite, but I’m starting to miss both charcoal and color.  This may be the last drawing with graphite for a while as I turn my attention to another medium ~

Sunlight in a Bottle, a graphite drawing (12×9) was done on Stonehedge watercolor paper w/a slight texture.  This exercise was great practice for managing values and contrasts in a still life that is about reflections. Pencils used ranged from 4H straight through 8B, including a tortilum, kneaded eraser and a Staedtler Mars plastic eraser.

Some of what I learned during this drawing, for bottle-smooth reflections and contrasting lines it is best to use smooth paper (what I had was slightly textured that gave a sort of grainy look) and very sharp pencils.  And oh wouldn’t you know it, I’m usually very careful about having a piece of paper under my hands to protect from any finger prints.  Well look at the top of the image, a set of real nice fingerprints have shown up – the oil in my fingers have permanently stained the drawing!  That’s a lesson learned.

Thanks for checking in.  Hope you are having a great weekend ~ click onto the image for a larger view.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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86 Responses to Sunlight in a Bottle, graphite drawing

  1. thefeatheredsleep says:

    You capture the sun

  2. Wow Mary, you are really unstoppable with these graphite drawings! Glass, light shadows…. no easy task and you nailed it!! Great work! ~Rita

    • Mary says:

      Thanks very much Rita – it’s been an enjoyable experience to use only B&W to express a scene. Glass is a fun connection to capture of light and reflections – graphite is a perfect medium for this. Glad you enjoyed the drawing.

  3. Wow Mary, the graphite drawings that you’ve been doing are fantastic!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Tim for your generous comment and compliment. I felt I had to go back to some basics and nothing better than to draw – your work sets the bar my friend! Nice to see you – best of weekends to you and Mary!

  4. jvandervlugt says:

    Actually Mary I wouldn’t have clued in that those were fingerprints. I really like the shine and smoothness of the glass. This reminds me of my mother’s many perfume bottles she used to have on her dresser. 😊

    • Mary says:

      Hi Joanna, thanks very much – I guess the fingerprints were a personal touch, lol! Thanks very much and appreciate the compliment – nothing better than having a piece of work connect with someone. Very cool – I remember those perfume bottles too!

  5. Brilliant work Mary, glass is a super hard subject to work with, the transparency is key to it and you accomplished that superbly. Glass reflections can be distorting and hard to make it right, but the bottom of your glasses are all perfectly done, the shine is an other edition on top of all that complication and yours is perfect, I mean I’m so very impressed by how you worked the glass bottles ( I hated it in school, and never was good to make them looking real, hehe). Lovely contrasting as well it really gives a great 3D effect. Love that you got all different shapes and sizes it makes up for a good composition. Over all is most impressive and I’m most impressed as well with this piece!
    BTW, love the finger prints, it’s a cool feature, maybe you should use it as a sort of a “watermark” signature!
    Wishing you a wonderful week and a happy February!

    • Gallivanta says:

      I agree; the fingerprints would make a great watermark.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Eva, thank you so much for looking at this drawing – I always enjoying seeing my work through your eyes. Glass forces me to have more clear and contrasting lines, the reflections are usually either high-value or low value with little in between. I’ve not tried cut glass, and I know why, too much heavy concentration and precision on every nuance – I like drawing freehand and I can see how the drawing could fall apart very quickly. Because the glass was wavy and with a lot of light hitting the bottles it presented challenges and became a lot of fun to work out. Thank you for being so generous and taking your time to analyze the art. Oh yes, I like your idea of a fingerprint signature as the new “watermark” signature!!

  6. I wouldn’t have been noticing the fingerprints unless said. This is exceptionally wonderful, especially the reflections and the play of light and shades…. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      So funny right? Nothing like signing my work with non-erasable oils!! Thanks Maniparna – the light was very cool to develop with these bottles. Thank you again ~

  7. ladyfi says:

    This is so lovely.

  8. exiledprospero says:

    Excellent. Entering your Salvador Dalí phase?
    I’m thinking of those melting clocks for some reason.

    • Mary says:

      Dali, how interesting and I can totally understand why you would refer to him – thank you Prospero and for your generous comment! Glad you enjoyed this piece ~

  9. OH, VEry nice! Glass is challenging, but you have the secret, Mary!

    • Mary says:

      You are so right Elena, I like to draw/paint glass (nothing too elaborate) but reflections are a lot of fun. In this drawing it gave me an opportunity to play with light reflections on wavy glass – very cool.

  10. Jet Eliot says:

    Your repertoire is impressive, Mary. The bottles are lovely– really like the lines in this drawing, and the glass reflection is brilliant.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Jet, thanks very much for your generous assessment and comments on the drawing. It was challenging for several reasons, one just to keep my focus but also to manage the lines and contrasting values properly. Really appreciate it!

  11. Beautiful drawing Mary – you are so brave taking on symmetrical objects! But you have really made it work. Wonderful transparency.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Anna – the whole thing was a challenge. Oh you are so right, capturing the symmetrical aspects of the bottles is what had me a little timid about attempting this still life, but the wavy glass made it interesting enough to attempt it.

  12. Leyla says:

    very nice work 🙂

  13. I like how you have the light reflecting off the bottles. Especially the tall thin bottle. So much talent!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Elizabeth – it was the light hitting the bottles that captured my attention to attempt to draw this still life and then the second aspect of the light continuing its path hitting the back wall (kind of a dancing light). Enjoyed your response!

  14. Maremma Gee says:

    Those bottles are amazing!

  15. I love how squeaky-clean you’ve made the class look. Impressive!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Silver, loved your words “squeaky-clean” – because when I was half-way through I was thinking man I’m not getting it as crisp as it should be. Your comment made my day!! Thanks so much and have a wonderful week.

  16. Surely just a bit of chiaoroscuro Rembrandt would have appreciated. Great result

  17. Sabiscuit says:

    That is too awesome for words. I love everything about this drawing. I am totally crushing on your talent right now.

  18. I had to chuckle about the fingerprints. It brought back memories of when I used to do a lot of calligraphy and sometimes forgot to put a paper under my hand when writing. That usually affected the sizing on the paper and the crispness of the ink strokes.

    i think if it’s possible to capture sunlight in a bottle, you did it here. it’s a very masterful exercise in capturing clear glass, the reflections and the distortions of light as it dances around and into these objects. Good going, my friend.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cynthia, I could only imagine how important the sizing and crispness was to your calligraphy – yes I could hear you now on finding a finger print on your beautiful work! I didn’t see the fingerprint until the last set of photographs – then I thought “are you kidding?” Ah no problem, letting it be a lesson learned. I also found some imperfections in the paper – I don’t usually use this brand and there were like indented lines that showed themselves when I began working on the bottom right-side of the piece.
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback and encouragement on this drawing. It was a purposeful exercise that totally had my attention (as a Gemini, that’s not easy to do) but important in developing my thought process in working high contrasts. The glass was wavy which added another whole dimension ~ looking forward to my next project. Have a beautiful and maybe warmer week!! Our temps yesterday and today are in the 70’s – no complaints here.

  19. Goodness, Mary, this is so real, I can almost pluck the glass! Amazing work and a difficult subject. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Laura, thank you – really appreciate your response to the glass work! It was a fun project, here is probably what I won’t do though and that is to draw cut-glass, the detail and intense focus would be unreal. Best wishes for a creative week ahead!

  20. lulu says:

    I have bottle love so I like this a lot.

  21. Technically expert

    Miss Mary

    but with fine composition and genuine atmosphere, too

    Big Hugs

    uncle john

    • Mary says:

      Hi Uncle John, thank you so much for generous thoughts and feedback on this drawing – it was a great exercise for me to get absorbed in. Learned a lot and enjoyed watching the bottles develop. Best wishes in your writings ~

  22. tomsimard says:

    Love what you’re doing.

  23. Resa says:

    It looks like glass, and you are amazing! As always, I enlarged the pic. I couldn’t find your fingers. Gorgeous! Been hiding in my Art Gowns blog, where I’m commenting from. I’ve done a goddess, and she will be posted in 1-3 days. I am very excited!

  24. Ha ha…I see your little fingerprints, Mary. It still looks great!

    • Mary says:

      Awesome Jill – imperfections is what makes a piece a work of art, lol! Thank you so much and for always being present. Have a wonderful “writing” week ahead.

  25. Ah, excellent work, Mary – but that is no surprise! 😉
    Happy weekend, my friend! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Marina, you are always so encouraging and gracious – so great to see you. I hope you are well and perhaps you will treat us to some new designs soon. Have a great week ahead ~

  26. Alok Singhal says:

    This is a pretty good one. I couldn’t even capture the fingerprints, until you mentioned them ☺️

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Alok, appreciate it! Actually I didn’t notice the fingerprints until the very end – so I’m not even sure when I touched the paper as I worked on this piece over the last several days.

  27. Wow! You really did capture the sunlight, Mary. Love the graceful shapes of the bottles. Great work. 🙂

  28. debiriley says:

    love these bottles you’ve chosen! the curves are so graceful and you’ve conveyed it perfectly; wonderful drawing and the composition set up is great too!! amazing Mary 🙂

  29. You had better add corks to all the bottles or the sunlight will escape and the whole effort will be ruined.

  30. prewitt1970 says:

    Stunning work as always.

  31. restlessjo says:

    Difficult subject, but you make it work! Happy weekend, Mary 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Jo – actually this glass was a bit wavy so it gave a few more additional challenges. Hope you are enjoying your weekend too – thanks so much!!

  32. Jess says:

    Shading is great! The bottles look 3D. Really good work.

    • Mary says:

      Great to see you Jess, thank you so much – I really appreciate your stopping by and leaving such wonderful feedback. I hope you’ve been creating these days, I’ve not seen anything in my Reader for you.

      • Jess says:

        Nice to hear from you Mary! I’ve been very busy the past few months, and unfortunately had very little time to do art. But I hope to fix that soon 🙂 The glass bottles are truly fantastic though! Have a good one Mary!

  33. Another beautifully observed image…I love it. Maybe you have something with the finger print…it could be your special signature:) Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend. Janet.

    • Mary says:

      So funny Janet – ah yes, a unique signature, thank you so much. This piece was a really great exercise for working through the high contrasts found in glass reflections – not exactly a loose drawing, but a subject that forced me to think through every step. Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and best wishes for the week ahead. How did your speech go last Monday?

      • Glass and reflective surfaces are wonderful for honing ones observational skills…and you do it oh so well. The talk in Bristol went very well indeed….a very enjoyable pre-talk dinner and then a large audience for the talk…it seemed to go down very well. I stayed with a lovely woman who had a beautiful dog and cat, which always makes any day a special one:) Thank you for asking. Janet.

  34. fabulous light and shadows and shapes xo

  35. Arts & Rhymes says:

    It looks really great, Mary! 🙂

  36. Fabio says:

    Great great reflections! You always excel, no matter the medium, dear Mary! Have a wonderful Sunday, my friend! 😉 X

  37. Nicodemas says:

    This is wonderful! I love how you made the glass.

  38. Heartafire says:

    this is really amazing, the lighting, the reflection, remarkable! Good job!

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