STILL LIFE CHALLENGE and Pentel brush pen with charcoal, still life

Still Life in willow charcoal, compressed charcoal and Pentel Brush Pen, 8x10 ins, Vivien Blackburn

In discussions with friends recently I was reminded how nice the Pentel Brush Pens are to use - so I treated myself to a new one. The old one has long since been mislaid.

It arrived this morning and so before doing all the stuff I should be doing, I had to have a play with it :>)

I used to really like combining the brush pen with charcoal for all the lovely tonal variations and marks possible. The nearest thing to grab to work on was the work in the recent still life series - so here is a monochrome version done in willow charcoal, compressed charcoal and the brush pen. What do you think?

The pen has a lovely fine point so it's possible to get a lot of line width/weight variation - finer than I remember. I bought the pocket sketching one - maybe that has a finer point than the regular one?

I have to say that much as I love colour, I also really enjoy working purely tonally in monochrome.

What do you think?



Do you fancy joining a challenge to look at still life objects in a slightly different way? Not necessarily the way I have, just not the usual arrangement of objects, done as-is.

If you look at this link to past still life posts you'll find links to contemporary artists who look at stil life in interesting and different ways. Feel free to add interesting artists you know in comments.

If you blog your work I'll add links in a summing up post at the end of the project - say the end of April? to give you time to experiment? Add the links in the comments section here and I'll round them all up at the end.

Anyone want to take part?

It's not a competetion or about being 'the best' - but about exploring, pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone and doing something different - experimenting and sharing work, thoughts, ideas, methods.

It's a purely experimental exercise for me as it isn't at all what I normally do - it's part of a challenge that I'm doing with a group of friends. All of us working alone but at our monthly meeting we'll show each other progress and discuss ideas. I'm actually really enjoying it though I want to get back to landscape/seascape to run parallel to this work.


Hi Vivien, combining brush pen and charcoal is a fantastic idea. The tonal and positive/negative patterns in this version work really well and I like the movement of it.

If I may, please can I join the challenge? I'm still working with ideas from the piece I did a couple of weeks ago.
vivien said…
please do join :>)

I've been watching your experiments and they look lovely.
kim denise said…
this challenge will definitely be challenging for me--count me in!
dinahmow said…! Home a week already and I'm still sorting myself out!
The travelling sketchbooks were waiting for me and I've got a post up on Http://
So maybe I can do a little still life with a difference...
vivien said…
Kim and Dinah - that's great - 3 interesting people working in very different ways :>)
Lindsay said…
Maybe me too Vivien.
Beautiful vivien!
vivien said…
That would be great Lindsay

Hi Ronelle :>)
Lindsay said…

this link will take you to a link to view a book by Carlo Rossi who has some nice still life work toward the back of the book
vivien said…
thanks for the link Lindsay

an interesting mix of influences showing in those aren't there?
Sketching Girl said…
Hi Vivien, I stumbled across your blog today. I'd love to have a go at your Still Life challenge! I've been wanting to do more Still Life and improve my drawing skills, so this sounds a great idea!

Sketching Girl :)
vivien said…
You are welcome :>) just leave a link to the work you do as you do it (here in the comments) and I'll do a summing up post at the end of April with links to everyone.
vivien said…
You are welcome :>) just leave a link to the work you do as you do it (here in the comments) and I'll do a summing up post at the end of April with links to everyone.
Sketching Girl said…
Thanks Vivien, I'll do that! :)

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