Meadow Light, charcoal and carbon drawing

Time to get my hands a little dirty, so I decided to pick up some charcoal and oh yeah, did I make a mess or what – but it was a lot of fun drawing with this medium again!

Meadow Light (8×10), was drawn with charcoal and carbon on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper.  For this drawing I wanted to keep the meadow and background trees/shrubs soft, muted and non-reflective of the light, so both soft and hard charcoal were used for these two areas (and a lot of smudging).  The foreground tree’s bark is quite rugged with deep ruts so a variety of carbon pencils were used allowing for the deepest darks to carry this massive structure.  Other tools used were tortilums and a kneaded eraser.

The values were really important in this drawing, especially distinguishing both the foreground tree from the others.  I can’t tell you how many times I stepped back to examine the progress, or how many pictures were taken – both helped me to analyze the work for perspective, values and other technical elements.   I learned a lot from piece.

The light in this scene is what attracted me to draw it – perfect for getting a feel for charcoal again ~ click onto the image for a larger view.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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97 Responses to Meadow Light, charcoal and carbon drawing

  1. kutukamus says:

    Love the deep and dense feel of it.. 🙂

  2. art ana pj says:

    love this painting! Perspective, depth, the relation of lightness and darkness are fascinating!

  3. I really like the bark on the tree. Nice work! ~Rita

  4. You are so good at capturing texture and shades, Mary. Congrats.

  5. art ana pj says:

    beautiful painting, Mary! great ratio of light and dark… love it!

  6. You’ve really captured the light Mary. Nice piece

  7. nutsfortreasure says:

    Loving all that detail on tree bark!

  8. nutsfortreasure says:

    Wow who knew you could get so messy making something so beautiful. My charcoal work was not like this when I ten 🙂

  9. Leyla says:

    Perfect work ❤

  10. I love the movement in this piece, Mary. I’m feeling a breeze through the grasses there. Love the detail work and the tremendous range of values. So much light in this piece. Really beautiful job, my friend.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Laura for your thoughtful words for this scene. The contrasts of the lights and darks, harsh and soft edges is what caught my attention to try this drawing in charcoal.

  11. Beyond beautiful, Mary! Gorgeous piece!

  12. Alok Singhal says:

    I can’t tell you how much i liked this one…the best way to learn is to try and you are doing that well 🙂

  13. Amy says:

    I love this drawing, Mary! The lighting is beautiful and you can feel the shrubs are gently moving by the soft wind. Thank you for continuing educating us to appreciate your beautiful drawings. 🙂 ❤

  14. Lovely mixtures of textures, Mary, particularly on the tree.

  15. restlessjo says:

    Mess I can do very easily, Mary, but no way in the world I could make something this beautiful! 🙂

  16. This is beautiful. I almost expect a Jane Austen heroine to wander around the tree, book in hand, dreaming of Mr Darcy…

    • Mary says:

      How much fun is that Silver! Loved your description, can you image Miss Jane being outlined with the back lighting hitting her form – yes, Mr. Darcy would be “awe-struck!”

  17. Jet Eliot says:

    Such a moving nature view, Mary, on so many levels. 🙂

  18. Leya says:

    I agree with the others – and I am also a tree lover…so this is perfect.

  19. You always play with the light and shade perfectly! Beautiful work… 🙂

  20. aFrankAngle says:

    I like the contrast between the whispyness and the detail on the tree truck. 🙂

  21. exiledprospero says:

    I like the way the messy meadow balances the tree. Very satisfying.

  22. Such inspirational works and here again…lovely.

  23. ladyfi says:

    This is so lovely!

  24. Mary, this is so beautifully done! There’s so much happening in there… Bravo, my friend! 🙂 xx

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Marina – it was the best of scenes to work on and I loved each of the challenges that were presented. I missed charcoal, will stay with the medium for a while I think. Thank you again and I hope you have a wonderful Thursday evening my friend.

  25. Gallivanta says:

    Mary, you never cease to amaze me with the challenges you set for yourself. And it seems to me you meet, indeed more than meet, all of them.

  26. Superb rendering of light

  27. Beautiful drawing Mary – fabulous textures and such a sense of depth. Charcoal is indeed a wonderful medium!

  28. This is in a way a “very rich” work of art Mary, value wise, detail wise absolutely magnificent, fabulous, splendid. It makes me happy when I look at it, you put so much soul into it, it totally reflects back your disposition! Love the light sweep, it’s inviting and you brought it into not only your work but into our souls as well. Perfectly executed, glad you got down and dirty, I kinda missed this medium from you so this is a happy occasion to celebrate your “light”.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Eva – loved reading your thoughts on this scene. The charcoal handled the soft atmosphere I was looking for with morning light as it glanced over the tall grasses. I could feel what was happening, the energy of this scene the whole way through – you are really perspective on that one. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn with charcoal and it’s been a happy return.

  29. Ogee says:

    The ability to capture light…you amaze me! Beautifully expressed, Mary.

  30. Mary, Isn’t it fun to get charcoal all over you. 🙂 It was certainly worth it, your drawing is great.

  31. This is splendid work, Miss Mary
    truly of your very best

    Big hugs

    In Admiration

    uncle john

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Uncle John for your most kind and thoughtful comment, you know I always appreciate your encouragement and support of my work – means a lot.

  32. Nicodemas says:

    Wonderful work Mary!

  33. Worth getting your hands a little dirty!

  34. Sabiscuit says:

    Your charcoal/carbon work is amazing. Have been enjoying everything you’ve done in this medium. ❤ ❤

  35. I agree with Cynthia – yes, lovely range of values. Expertly done!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Cynthia for your thoughtful comment. I love finding ways to work the charcoal to get the most out of the values – the carbon was very unforgiving in any hopes to make changes. Thanks again!

  36. You may have made a “mess,” Mary, but the end result is fantastic! Great job, my friend!

  37. I really like the full range of values, from blackest black to whitest white….especially sensitive are the tiny wisps of white on dark and dark on white in what seems to be grasses and bushes….a lovely piece, Mary.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Cynthia. Loved reading your reaction to the values, because it was like discovering the range of values all over again working with the charcoal. Carbon is so interesting to work with, while I have B, 2B, 4B and 6B – the pencils are all so dark it didn’t take much to develop the darks on the foreground tree. Thank you again – I really appreciate it!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Really fine piece of work.

  39. Resa says:

    I love the way the light sweeps through the center before landing definitively within the grasses.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Resa, thank you – the light rays were the best aspect of the scene to create. Glad you enjoyed the drawing. I’m late catching up with everyone’s blog and looking forward to seeing the latest murals you’ve been finding – we’ve been working outside the last five days or so, time to see what everyone has been up to. Thanks again!

  40. Painting for Joy says:

    Fabulous Fabulous Fabulous!!!!! I love how you handled the medium and the way you portrayed the light behind the tree. I’m sure you had a wonderful time creating this piece Mary!

    • Mary says:

      So cool Rhonda, thanks very much. It was great getting back to charcoal and this scene offered some really great elements to it – the light was interesting to develop, it seemed to take form all during the process and then at the end I took a good healthy swipe with the kneaded eraser for the rays blast. Thanks for always being encouraging and supportive!!

  41. This is beautifully rendered…..Charcoal is a wonderful medium, however few people use it successfully…..You most definitely have. Bravo. Janet:)

    • Mary says:

      Hi Janet, thank you for your generous comment. I agree with you charcoal is an awesome medium to draw with – great loose strokes, lots of value range possibilities within a scene and you can nearly draw anything. Thanks again, I really appreciate your compliment.

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