Monochrome which I’ve discovered at this late stage in life, doesn’t mean black and white, it means mono [one] chrome [colour]. I’ve tackled a jug and an onion on a plain white surface with a white background. I’ve been watching Platon (Antoniou) [Abstract: the art of design; Netflix] whose photography is stark and through that, more revealing than it might otherwise be, and found myself nudged in that direction. It didn’t extend to my treatment of the image unfortunately so I’ll need to go a few more rounds with this idea.
First the sketch which mapped out the shadows but squashed the jug down to something you’d put sauce in. Still, prep.
Ditto the addition of blue Inktense which, although it lifts the image out of the paper, does nothing for the proportions. What is did offer was a trial run with the medium so I could be better prepared when I took another shot at it.
In this drawing the jug is much better proportioned but I’ve allowed for way less light in the forms than I had in my imagination. I really really need to exercise a light touch with the medium to get the sparing look I’m after. Ideally, I’d have it much more like the object on the far right (a clutch of tiny lights wrapped into a star-shaped structure), really faint and almost vanished. I do like the shadows though. I wonder if I can pull any of the medium back without ripping through the paper.
Starting again, this time with a re-arranged onion, and trying to isolate the light on the jug by outlining it. This led to quite a different kind of image, I think, and helped reduce my tendency to over-work the objects. I’d aiming for sparse, and it’s a challenge!
I’ve gone for a red/brown Inktense crayon in reflection of the actual colour of the restored onion. I’ve definitely tinkered less with it but I’m a bit less satisfied with the whole which looks cluttered.
To deal with the cluttering, I tried giving the array some distance but then immediately positioned the jug in the centre, leaving no real space on the right! There’s also a new onion and I quite like that strung out look. Ideally, though, the lot would be shifted to the left to leave an abundance of white space (negative space?) over on the right. Learning point: it’s no good setting up a composition to do a particular thing then expecting that thing to happen if you don’t pay attention to where your hand is putting things on the paper.
Time now to move on and let these discoveries settle. I call it cognitive composting – a process that breaks down the superficial structure of information into principles that have wider and more flexible application.