charcoal and coloured pencil beach, evening light
This is the charcoal drawing on grey paper that I showed you unfinished here: http://vivienb.blogspot.com/2008/02/seascapes-update-february.html (scan down past the painting to it)
I said that I was mulling over whether to simply use white pastel for highlights and keep it monochrome or add colour - and if colour what medium???
I decided to try coloured pencils over the charcoal and see how they worked - they worked! I wanted to keep the colours very muted, this kind of evening light softens and dulls colours and the cliff was deeply shadowed and backlit.
I worked in multiple glazes of colours to softly build white, blues, mauve, umber, sienna, peach, orange, ochres and a little green on the cliff top which doesn't show much onscreen as it's only a little. The peachy colours are a little less orangey and more peach than they appear here. The clouds have blues and browns in them. The light blues in the sea and pools are a pale electric sort of blue. The icy blues contrast with the warm peachy sunset which warms some of the sand.
The softness of the charcoal is still there and it shines through the loose glazes of colour.
It was pure experiment. I had no idea whether it would work successfully or not but my lovely rich polychromos and Lyra skin tones coped fine. The paper had a tooth which held them well and helped create texture.
It's rather like using grisaille in oil painting.
Today Katherine has done an excellent post on tonal values in work http://makingamark.blogspot.com/2008/02/composition-why-tonal-values-and.html
I absolutely agree that tonal values are usually what is missing in my beginner students work - they've done what could be a good painting but without pushing those values it's simply an OK one. Paintings are about light on the subject and those tonal values are the key to showing the light you want and to sculpting those 3D forms. The soft diffused light of a Gwen John to the chiarascuro of Caravaggio - each so different and so interesting and one key reason is because of how well the light is seen.