In these first few weeks, our art assignments have been basic studies of tone using graphite, charcoal and white pencil. For example, we were tasked with creating a circular gradient, beginning in the center with the darkest dark and fading to white along the edges. Then, we were tasked with creating the inverse of that, beginning again with the darkest dark but lightening to white in the center. We are exploring the tools, understanding their usage, what is the black and what is white.
My initial reaction to these tasks has been varied: wow, look what this tool can do. I thought it would behave one way, but then it behaved this way. This is somewhat tedious. I need to be careful where I place my finger while using charcoal. Wait, how did that person achieve so many variations of gray?
Our most recent assignment was to sketch a tree or landscape of trees in our handmade sketchbooks. We should use only graphite addressing on tone and form. The trees should be the darkest tone on the page. Then, we were asked to inverse the task by allowing the trees to be the lightest tone on the page.
They are interesting side-by-side, aren’t they? Though the subject matter within the image, the foreground trees and their tree friends on the horizon, are totally opposite, the rest of the image, tendency for high-contrast surround by more gradient, almost looks the same. The second image has the feeling of being a carbon copy sans the inverted foreground tree and sky. So many shades of gray… some of them actually meeting right there in the middle at 50%.
Is it possible that the inverse is the same? A kind of completion? The missing parts? More on this later…