Thursday, October 20, 2016

Introduction To Reduction

Reductive or subtractive techniques in art will be our technical blog today. This process can be applied to painting, charcoal, pastel even sculpture.  I apply this technique to charcoal and pastel works. I have used this process in oil paintings and plan to do more of these next year.

When I teach pastel workshops I start with a charcoal study. Starting with the mid-tone, subtracting to create lights and adding the dark's. This helps with composition, seeing lights and shadows.

I work in a traditional style, dating back to the Renaissance, possibly older. My paper of choice is Rives BFK cotton rag. Start with finding the right side of the paper, the watermark is in a corner. Hold the paper to light, if you can read the letters correctly it is the right side. Use charcoal powder or vine charcoal to tone the paper. You can apply invisible gloves on your hands, wear rubber and white cloth gloves to protect your, use a soft brush or chamois cloth to blend a smooth background on the paper.

Use vine charcoal or charcoal pencil to loosely sketch in your subject. The kneaded eraser is used as a drawing tool. Remove gently charcoal from the lightest areas from the paper. Once you are happy with the lights, step back and look at the form that has been shaped by the light. The mid-tones and the lights are blocked in and ready to start working adding the dark's or colors.

This technique can be used in color. To see this live come by the Matrix Gallery Friday, Oct. 21st from 3:00 - 6:00 and see me do a demonstration. The finished feather is hanging at The Artful Lawyer.
Matrix Gallery 115 N. Main St., Blacksburg, VA
The Artful Lawyer 138 N. Main St., Blacksburg, VA

Toned paper, eraser and charcoal pencil 
Removing charcoal to expose the lights

Finished work, adding white and black charcoal pencils and a touch of pastel

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