Posted in Assignment 2, Assignments, Coursework, Notes, Part 2

Assignment 2: Lichen revisited

Note: Reworked following Part 2 feedback, including merging together the parts of the thread.

I’ve had a few ideas for Assignment 2, but since my earlier lichen drawing it’s a subject I’ve wanted to revisit. This time, however, I’m planning to take a different approach. I thought through composition. The subject is definitely the Lichen and the context is the branches it sits on. I don’t necessarily need the leaves and ground for context, and so I’m going for a ‘negative space’ style of composition:


Last time I recognised the the background I set the lichen against needed to be dark. In that case I darkened the background using the media. This time my intention is to use black paper or mount board. To test if this would work I cut an A4 sheet of black mountboard. Clearly the mark making needs to be fairly opaque, so I tried…


The coloured pencil doesn’t really work, as the pencil isn’t sufficiently opaque. The hard pastel and pastel pencil could work (mind the smudge), as with a bit of effort the colour can overcome the black card. I decided that the oil pastel could work, though I’m definitely had trouble getting it to do what I want.

My intention was to play a balancing act with this piece between ‘accuracy’ and ‘expression’ and thought the oil pastel might help in this. It just doesn’t do fiddly detail, and given my recent reflection I thought I needed to avoid excess detail. In order to get the right feel, however, I felt I need to go an A2 drawing.

Before that, however, I needed to experiment more with mountboard and oil pastels. I’ve already did a bit of research on the use of oil pastels (which I’ll try to write up separately), I now needed to experiment with that – especially with the mountboard. The challenge is that it has little to no tooth, which limits pastel deposit. If it doesn’t work I’ll fall back to black pastel paper – but I only have that in A3.

The preparatory drawing when I stopped:

Lichen experimental drawing – A4 mountboard, oil pastel, coloured pencil and hard pastel/pastel pencil

I was reasonably happy with this approach, and so decided to start out on a full drawing. Here I decided to go with an A2 sized mountboard. My intention was that making the drawing quite large would allow me to get good use of the oil pastels, and provide a stronger trade between detail and impression.

Assignment 2: Lichen revisited; Oil Pastel on A2 mountboard

A2 mountboard and oil pastels I struggled to get the oil pastels to give the look I wanted, but I’m reasonably happy with the end result. A lot to improve on in further attempts, but mostly the idea worked. I took a risk and sprayed with a Matt varnish, because the picture has to travel. I was a little concerned that the non-setting properties of the oil pastels would be a problem.

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