Category Archives: Research Part 1

Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964)

I was interested to look at Giorgio Morandi’s drawings/ etchings, having completed the section on using marks to create shade and tone in part one (p24).  I am fascinated by the range of tone he creates using just lines/ hatching/ cross-hatching and how he effectively creates the illusion of form through careful depiction of shadow.

morandi still life five objects

 ‘A bottle that is not part of the secret society cranes its neck to hear’  The Guardian 

Still Life with Five Objects, 1956 by Giorgio Morandi  – Etching  

Up close, the entire image is composed of detailed cross-hatchings  at complex angles building up in meshes and weaves.  Tone and light is suggested through infinitely small variations in the direction and spacing of the crosshatchings.


Giorgio Morandi -1934: Still Life with Coffee Pot

In Still Life with Coffee Pot, Morandi’s still life is composed entirely of black lines on white paper; yet, no single line is used to define the contour of any of the depicted objects. Instead, using lines to create areas of tone, the play of light over the ceramic, glass, and metal surfaces of the containers on the table is captured.

Using Contour Lines to Create Tone- Bracelet Hatching- Albrecht Durer

Whilst researching methods for making marks to suggest tone and shading I came across the term Bracelet Hatching.  I looked it up online, but struggled to find a good explanation of it.  I finally came across an article (—bracelet-shading.html) which referred to the technique as bracelet shading- using contour hatching

as if each [3D object] has a wire bent around it to reveal its three dimensional shape or form,”

using a drawing by Durer as an example.  I have just bought a book about Durer from the National Gallery and realised he was referring to a method I had already observed and admired, for example in the drawing below:


In this drawing, Durer: Six Nude Figures (1515),, depth and form are added to the shapes of the bottom of the tree and musculature by parallel contour lines.  Increasing depth of shadow is intimated by increasing the frequency of lines and making each line darker.

Peter Howson- Feeling and Expression

I was excited, when I looked at a selection of contemporary works, by how many pictures I found where the artist’s feeling could be intuited from the way an image was drawn.

These drawings are by Peter Howson, a Scottish contemporary artist.  (He was the British official war artist in the 1993 Bosnian civil war.)

Artwork by Peter Howson, Christ Seen From The Foot Of The Cross, Made of graphite

 In Christ Seen from the Foot of the Cross (2008) the graphite lines are more soulful, less intense, more curved, more sensitive and less angular.  It has a sense of movement and energy -particularly in the central flourishes- but also denotes a sense of calmness, deep spirituality and depth of feeling.

Artwork by Peter Howson, Dear Child, Made of Graphite

 Dear Child (2008) is drawn in graphite with loose, light lines.  It is very faint- almost implied- although notably the most definite points are the faces and eyes of the man and child.  There is a lot of space and no shading.  It imbues a sense of openness, tranquility and wistfulness.
The last two images are drawn in graphite, and as well as the subject matter being very different, they both project very different emotional messages to the viewer.  This might imply that the expression in a drawing is as much a function of the act of creating the artwork as the subject and the medium used.  The first image is much harsher and angrier than the other two with its dense black angular lines which implies to me that the act of drawing it was a more impassioned experience for the artist.

Juan Munoz- Back Drawing

Back Drawing 1990 by Juan Muñoz 1953-2001

Back Drawing 1990 Juan Muñoz (1953-2001)  White chalk on a black background. Presented by Marian Goodman Gallery, New York 2008

I found this drawing, by Juan Munoz, as a great example of the use of tone to create shadow and ambience.  The subject is a back, sharply highlighted to create contour, shadow and texture.  The deep shading creates a sense of three dimensionality.  Although only the top of the back and hand are in detail, your minds eye fills in the gaps and ‘sees’ a complete figure.  The use of white on black creates a monochromatic, almost photographic affect, with a suggestion of “harsh” lighting to create starkly contrasting highlights and shadow.  The densely dark background creates a mood of pain/sadness(?); the stance of the figure is slightly awkward as if bending forwards; the texture is smooth, suggesting young unblemished skin.

Odilon Redon

Drawing entitled Pegasus and Bellerophon (1880) by Odilon REDON (1840-1916) in charcoal, charcoal with water wash, white chalk and highlighting by eraser.  Conte crayon accounts for the darkest blacks in the drawing.

As suggested in the course notes I looked for work by Odilon Redon that harnesses the atmospheric potential of tone.  This beautiful drawing uses a range of tone from dense black through to white highlights.  There are parts of the horse which are so dark they are purely implied and the areas that do contain detail encourage your mind’s eye to fill in the gaps.  The light areas lift the picture all the more for the rest being quite dark and the generally deep tones suggest a feeling of solemnity, moodiness and tension between man and horse.

The image of Pegasus suggests a contained energy and movement- implied by the faint after images at his rear.  Similarly the shape of the man is in places only implied, his right leg almost disappears into shadow and apart from a sketched outline in places he almost disappears into the side of the horse.

As in the drawing of Two Trees in the course notes, this  drawing contains blocks of dark charcoal in sharp contrast to small light areas, with smaller details pulling the story/image together.

Jan Hardisty

I was interested to look at some more work by jan Hardisty having seen his picture in the course notes.  I was interested in his fascination with light and shadow as a photographer.  I was struck by a comment he made during a YouTube clip I found titled Jan Hardisty: “An Introduction” artist or photographer.  ( in which he says that he is often asked whether a picture is a photograph or a sketch, and that he “tries to create a tension between both the pull of the art and the pull of the recording of the camera”. 

He also commented that he spends a lot of time setting up a picture and that the viewer of the final image sees what he saw.  He does not manipulate the images afterwards and uses only natural daylight for effect- although he may mask out the light if required.

In his images of folded paper he has a self-imposed rule to only fold paper once to give the impression of 3D without actually building a model.  I was struck how, just as in the drawing exercises in part one, project 2, the sense of the 3D image in his photographs is constructed through areas of shadow and gradation in tone.


Jan Hardisty Shadowplay (2012)


Jan Hardisty (2013) Folded Paper Series