Exercise 2.2 Using collage to be specific about tone

Thoughts, feelings, ideas whilst making:

  • feeling more confident in how to approach this exercise
  • I should have tested out some compositions I have just put it in the middle of the page with thinking. Something to remember!!!
  • As I was selecting shades of green, I was noticing the tonal qualities of each colour and started to connect with placing that shade into the subject, and how this would create the gradient in my drawing. – however I’m finding that the various shades are almost block and whiteout a drawing tool like a pencil or oil pastel there is no blending, which would create more subtle gradients in tone.
  • I’m actually starting to enjoy the process. My own ideas and thoughts are coming into the design as I work with the white going into the green and what I am doing with the paint to slowly piece the two colour together, acting as the shading going into one colour to the next. It is sparking some ideas.
  • So i’ve finished it and I don’t like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHY don’t I like it? What don’t you like?

  • the highlights on the fruit aren’t strong enough
  • The large shadow area on the let doesn’t sit right on the composition.

I think in regards to tone this piece demonstrates it much clearer than in exercise 2.1. I carefully selected various tones of greens to create a monochrome piece to show the effect of light on the still life subject. I don’t think I successfully created a piece that has more depth. I think the collage still looks quite 2 dimensional. I cant get my head around why this has happened as I think I used tone as best I could in this image, manipulating the various shades of green for shadows and highlights. I wonder if the black pieces are too black and dominate over the piece, which makes them look like shapes of their own and not part of the object. But then I also wonder if this shape and tone relationship is something that was meant to be noticed?!

However looking at the collage from a distance I think the block tonal contrasts start to talk to each other and create a more striking piece because of the black and white that has been used. I found it very frustrating that the tonal variations were unable to blend together, and I think this was something I consistently wanted to overcome which made the process frustrating.

I think exercise 2.1 had more of a 3 Dimensional essence to it and I think this was because of the perspective within the piece. This is harder to get in a still life as the objects are so close together there is no foreground, mid ground and back ground. On reflection maybe to respond to my preference with landscape I should have played around with composition for this piece and created something unusual and perhaps surrealist. The tonal contrasts may have then added to this idea of perspective and depth.


I’m put off by the fact that it is block tone and the shades aren’t blended together. I completed a rough tonal sketch (the form is awful) with pen and water which wasn’t very successful. A friend recommended I look at the still life in black and white so it is easier to visualise the tonal contrasts. I photographed the still life and edited the image to black and white. This also showed how little contrast I had in regards to tone. (also something to remember and improve on). From this, I created a tonal sketch with pencils and a graphite pencil. I took a look at the course material to make sure I was on the right track and it said, ‘consider making some drawings in your sketchbook which adopt this method of accurately transcribing shapes of tone, rather than shapes of objects.’


This got me thinking that maybe they don’t want the shading and would like to see more of a focus on shapes of tones rather than a more subtle tonal graduation that you would achieve with blending.

I gave this a go by thinking about my subject in regards to shapes and to simplify the subject. I think I finally achieved this with my simple, black and white collage below. I started to see that by using the simple block shapes for achieving tone, it was almost like simplifying the image each time I approached it. The top image is completed with oil pastel, again focusing on shape but I worked directly onto the paper. For the bottom drawing, I painted blank pieces of paper in a simple variation of tones and then collaged the image together. I think this was more successful to highlight the shapes of tone.




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