Tabletop, the Charcoal Drawing, Jeffrey Smith

Vessels | Work in Progrss

Because the one thing I get asked the most by anyone who knows I paint is, ” What are you working on?” And because I always love to talk about what I’m working on. And because hey, it is Wednesday…

This is the charcoal drawing for my newest still life, a collection of objects–all with different visual textures and reflective qualities:

  • a footed silver bowl
  • a footed glass container with a stopper
  • handmade pottery: one piece with a glossy finish, the other matte
  • an opalescent glazed vase
  • a shiny white plate

I’m working on a piece of tan Canson pastel paper turned over to the smooth side. ( Canson paper has 2 sides, 1 rough and 1 smooth.  I find the pattern on the rough side to be a bit too repetitive and distracting, so I typically use the smooth.)

The plan is to transfer the drawing over to a 22×28″ oil-primed linen canvas that I’ve had in the studio waiting for the right project.

Why do a drawing, why not just paint?

There is very little commitment with charcoal.  If things don’t work, I’m not out much.

Doing a drawing like this gives me a chance to play with the composition before I lay it out in paint on my canvas. ( I find charcoal very easy to push and pull across a sheet of Canson paper, creating a feeling of play and encouraging experimentation.)

I’m looking for things in the set-up that I’ll want to alter.  Things that would make the composition better if they were different in my painting  from what was actually in front of me.

Tabletop, CharcoalWith this set up, the glass vase with the stopper and the large vase are almost the exact same height.  I really want one to be taller than the other to give me a dynamic shape, a triangle vs. a square.  A bit of erasing and some more drawing later, and the glass vase is now taller than the others.

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