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