This was the first drawing on Fabriano pastel paper. It’s light, at 90 gsm, and whilst it has a grain, it has less of a key than the Windsor and Newton “shades” paper I used for the apple and peach. This paper is better quality, and stands up to more rubbing before it starts to fluff up. I much prefer it.
This is one of the smaller drawings of this series of 100 still life value studies, about 2.5 by 3 inches. On my monitor the jpeg is about life size, but I have my resolution at 1280 by 1024.
This drawing was done in the last hour of day-light, and the pear was sitting on a grey cloth. Because of those two things, I didn’t have any values I couldn’t easily match with my charcoal and white conte, (apart from the darkest shadow). If I’m drawing something sitting on a white cloth in daylight, my white conte doesn’t go as light as the cloth, it just doesn’t reflect as much light, even with full daylight on it. That means I either have to work within a narrower tonal range than I see, accepting a kind of glass ceiling on my light tones, or I have to darken all the other tonal values in the drawing to preserve the relationships between them.
In this case, the low light meant that I wasn’t really presented with any tones I couldn’t get. Even the highlight on the pear is subdued. I have a feeling that may be why this one came out, to my eye anyway, better than some of the others.
I’ve also found that willow charcoal only gives me dark grey as it’s darkest tone. For this drawing, I used a black pastel for the deepest part of the shadow immediately beneath the pear. Pastel gives a dark, velvety black which willow charcoal can’t quite match.
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