Working on my Still Life

I like the way in which “vertical” and “horizontal” lines interact with each other in my candle drawings. The alternations between light and shadow are quite striking, I find. I wanted to work more with that, this time not as line drawings, but with ink and brush.

I chose one of the earlier sketches from my sketchbook and drew that onto a sheet of drawing paper, slightly larger than A2 (58 x 74cm). I simplyfied the candles somewhat and decided to use 4 tones with white as a fifth: lightest for the shadow side of the candles, a bit darker for the cast shadows on the white ground, a lighter dark for the black to the right where the light falls, and darkest for the black behind the candles and the cast shadows on the black, and for the used wicks.

Indian ink can make a wonderfully dark and deep black and can easily be diluted to any shade of grey. I was aiming for clear white against dark black with soft greys in between in even washes. However, I noticed, the paper did not allow that. It was too thin and made the areas blotchy. Apart from that I am satisfied with the outcome.

Indian ink on drawing paper, 58 x 74 cm

Early on I had bound together the lighted side of the candles and the white background where they “touch”. This, I realised, is a kind of play with boundaries, is it not? Being my own idea it might work better than my attempts at Morandi still lifes.  So for my next version I simplified the drawing further by choosing only one tone for light shadow instead of two. This allowed me to bind together candle and background on the lighted side as well as on the shadow side.

This time I chose better paper and two colours, yellow and indigo:

Stage I, watercolour on watercolour paper, A3
Yellow and indigo watercolour on watercolour paper, A3

The watercolour paper worked much better for the washes. I now almost achieved the print like look I was after. The candles are still recognisable despite the simplification and I think the light/shadow aspect has now become the main theme. Which I wanted.

I also like the warm against the cold.



Although I like what I have done with this I feel more and more strongly that I now need to shake off the restrictions I have put on myself. These are drawings from my head and I enjoyed following up on thoughts and making connections with the exhibition I have been to. But this is not what I want to develop primarily. I want to put my head in the rear and see what happens. More on the lines with what I did with unit 3.


3 thoughts on “Working on my Still Life

  1. I agree that concious decisions and choices are important. But intuition and spontaneity are, too. I am not sure if there is a chronology to them. More like a weave


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