Tonal study on a dark ground

For the dark ground I used the same 2 colours mixed as before (raw sienna and dark ultramarine)to create a dark blue/green. I was thinking of the chiaroscuro works I had been researching and decided to lower the light and light a candle, actually a tea light, inside the alabaster goblet. This threw warm lights through the alabaster and up the wall.  I also positioned a torch to the left, creating some shadow and tones I could work with.This threw a whiter light. I blocked other light out. It is not easy to work without much light though, but it looked good! I wonder how the artists managed in ‘pools of candlelight or firelight’…. The grapes have been eaten so I added a marble ball to add interest at the front. I did some very fast sketches to see if this worked and decided to try it.

I sketched out the basic shapes with the full lights on in a white  stick. Then turned off the lights and tried to work. I had to switch them on and off to check the colours. I added a little black in the mix to create some tones deeper than the dark ground, I think this worked well particularly on the goblet and it was also needed for some shadow areas.

dark ground

I think it is harder to work on a dark ground, but the effects are more interesting. Looking at the 2 together, I think the white ground worked better for me, but that is just my inexperience. I like the atmosphere created with the dark ground. I think maybe I exaggerated the white highlights too much and could have left the whole thing darker. With practice, I think I will prefer working with a darker ground but the lighting has to be right, it would not work without the bright areas.

I am glad the exercise was not about the shapes as clearly I have made the goblet slightly different each time and the pineapple looked better first time!  🙂


Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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