This is a guest post by Rob Wellings, artist and teaching assistant with The Landscape Atelier. Rob and I will be teach a new online class – Drawing the Landscape in Charcoal -in June, and I want to introduce readers of Field Notes to his work.
Charcoal is a great medium for exploring artistic possibilities. I particularly like charcoal to work from imagination and memory. In my work, I find that the potential in the different papers and kinds of charcoal gives my imagination a wide field to roam and see what happens. Charcoal can be applied with the long flat edge of a stick of vine or willow, the sharpened tip of a Nitram, a sock, or a brush. It can be scraped into with a knitting needle or a bottle cap, lifted in naturalistic dabbs with a kneaded eraser, or carefully shaped with a Tombow. The list goes on. Many of these techniques will be introduced and explored in the upcoming online class Drawing the Landscape in Charcoal.
In the drawings below, I used compressed charcoal to achieve a solid, rich black and abstract quality.
For the next drawing, a depiction of a harbor at night, a sturdy 300lb watercolor paper allowed me to scrape the paper to create the glow of city lights:
In the seascape below, waves were scraped in with a bottle cap that gave both a roughness and an unpredictability that felt right for the subject:
In the next two drawings of scenes at dusk, I used a sock filled with charcoal powder to give me the loose gestural quality of an atmospheric sky and a kneaded eraser to lift out the lights:
Finally, in the drawing below I used the fragment-like shape of torn paper to explore a mood both mysterious and foreboding: