Research point – Odilon Redon, Two Trees, c1875

“Look carefully at the image below. Note the artist’s expressive use of tone – blocks of dark charcoal in sharp contrast to expanses of light, and then the smaller details, lines and spots that pull the image together as an ambient scene. Try to find further work by the artist and discuss the atmospheric potential of tone in your blog.”

Two trees, 1875 - Odilon Redon
Odilon Redon, Two Trees, c. 1875. Charcoal on paper. (public domain)

Odilon Redon, Caliban, c. 1881 . charcoal. (public domain)

File:Redon spirit-waters.jpg
Odilon Redon, Guardian Spirit of the Waters, 1878, “Various charcoals, with touches of black chalk, stumping, erasing, incising, and subtractive sponge work, heightened with traces of white chalk, on cream wove paper altered to a golden tone.” (Art Institute, Chicago.)

Redon’s early career was characterised by works in shades of black he called his “noirs”. He uses very dark tones and vigorous techniques, scratching into the charcoal and rubbing it away to create images which have a feeling of drama. He was a symbolist and his uncanny images are complemented by his dramatic use of tone. You can find more on Redon here.

In Two Trees. 1875. the artist creates a relationship between the two tree trunks. The negative space between them creates a tension as they lean towards each other and nearly touch. I am interested in how Redon worked into his images to create a wide range of tones and effects. This gives his work great energy. I will try to incorporate more of this into my work with charcoal and also look at the negative spaces between objects to see what effect I am creating.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s