Sculpting with fimo clay

I  created a fimo clay creation of Maharal the rabbi who made Golem.

I started with egg that was blown empty and dried, covered it with kitchen foil then started adding the fimo clay layer after layer. I baked the creation in oven, painted it with acrylics and made a little hat from black crafts paper.

This clay figure will help me draw more quickly and from tricky angles, I will also be able to play with shadows.

. I wish I thought of this earlier because using clay helps to design a character from a scratch.

and (lol) the hair is my own strip which I cut from behind a thicket bundle (it has grown samsonian big again) – anything for art


Basic shapes, forms, shadows and reflections

What are the difficulties in separating cast shadow from reflected light and shade ?

If there are more than one light sources the clear shadow of the object may be obscured and/or altered, also lighter or darker without no set rules you must rely on your pure perception when painting or drawing in daylight. I did my studies in the night using only one light source except for the last image of stable composition which was done in natural day light. However even then the dominating light source was the window behind the objects. In the following image difference between cast shadow and reflected shadow has been illustrated clearly.

What is the difference between shade and shadow ?

shadow: I. Comparative darkness. 1. a. Comparative darkness, esp. that caused by interception of light; a tract of partial darkness produced by a body intercepting the direct rays of the sun or other luminary.

shade: I. Comparative darkness. 1 a. Partial or comparative darkness; absence of complete illumination; esp. the comparative darkness caused by a more or less opaque object intercepting the direct rays of the sun or other luminary.

Used in the sense of “comparative darkness,” the words are sometimes, but not always interchangeable.

Shade is what one seeks on a hot sunny day. We sit or walk in the shade. Plants that do well in the shade are called shade-loving plants.

Shadow usually refers to a shape cast by an object that blocks the sun. A person casts a shadow in the shape of the human body.


The reflected shadow and light follows the contours of the objects. How have you shown this in your drawing ?

IN stable composition the reflected lights and shadows were difficult to perceive as the dominating light was coming from behind the objects. Theory of the reflected shadow, which is in above apple picture the shadow of the apple on the ground reflected back into the apple as the round dark area shows in the apple, it is combined with the reflection of the white ground and thus is lighter in shade than the shadow itself.  Darkest area of the shadow called “terminator” is further away from the object where there is no reflections of the ground bouncing back to the ground. Note also how the reflected light on the right side of apple creates a halo around reflected shadow. The upper side of apple on the right is in shade and its value is the same as the reflected shadow, I dont know if its stable rule of thumb in theory. The black box with number 4 is how dark the terminator shadows is at furthers point in comparison.


Excercise: Line and other marks

Excercise Line and other marks

How did holding your pen or pencil in a different way affect your drawing ?

The more secure hold closer to the tip of the pen seems to restrict my drawing style limited to my own knowledge but when holding pencil in another way, the other end forinstance inside my palm I have less control in the mark making and my entire arm comes into use. The controlled hold or the liberal hold seem to also effect my mood from precautious to liberal. This is also valid with the medium, felt tips makes me cautious and careful while charcoal more liberal and couragious and experimental.

Which drawing tools suited the different mark-making techniques you used ?

When I used charcoal I started to think like a painter instead of blocks of paints I had blocks of tonal values  I also hoped for the image to have lot of bold lines and shapes and lots of dark areas. Graphite pencil made me think of texture and patterns and black pen decorative striking expressive lines.

Did you find that any marks or tools you used matched particular emotions or feelings ?

There is time for everything, sometimes you are in a mood for quite contemplative time doing accurate controlled little drawings with lots of details, sometimes you feel like blowing off some steam with charcoal I quess.

Did one convey calm and another frenzy for example ?

Oil pastels and pointillism was making me feel quite frenzy, I felt much more cool and collected when I used hot iron to melt down those irrational oilpastels.

How did the introduction of colour affect your mark making ?

There was no space for being careful as the tip of oilpastels are not for detailed work, rather you consentrate on the colour side of things, which is good I suppose, I would say oilpastels are good for large bold works and colorstudies.

Which of these experiments have you found most interesting and rewarding ?

I think I l really enjoyed studying how to draw inventive lines with black pen and love the things that I discovered pushing myself to new dimentions.

Some notes I made about nature of lines.

-It would make sense to create oneself a shorthand coding system for studying landscape outside. It would help in creating ones personal style when you dont photocopy everything but partly from impression based on the unique coding systems.

-You create tonal variation, shadow and light areas of objects by increasing or decreasing density of the mark you used.

-If   you have large area of similar pattern few spots of texture in continued are explains the entire area without having to fill it up to brim – economical- more visually beautiful and easy on the eye

-Repetitious, symmetrical monotonious lines indicates man made objects

-Repetitious but slightly broken lines indicate man made object of natural material (hessian, clay, bamboo, wood)

– Organic lively natural lines can be described by adjectives: Irregular, scattared, imaginative, dispersed, moving, nervous, complex, 3 dimensional, posy, curvy, elegant, lively, confident, textured…

-It is a good idea to use complimentary lines next to each other and plan the drawing in such way to achieve complelling results. Monotonious man made next to organic and random, thick next to thin, dense next to airy, large next to small, dotty next to wavy, varied next to regular, horizontal next to vertical, defined next to scattared, liquid next to solid, compartmented next to open, busy next to calm,open next to closed, geometrical next to curly, soft next to pointy, erected next to trooping, bold next to restricted tight next to loosed.

-Eyes are sensitive censory tools connected to imaginative factory that is our brain, dont over do the lines, sometimes suggestion is better than doing it all the way. This goes also with the drawing of line, be more attentive to the line as drawing it, stop to think a lot whilst drawing.

-Use unconnected things as inspiration, I searched for ideas for drawing lines from scubadiving underwater photos, looked at the cealing in my room for random interesting patterns, a closer look at the fine needling of the duvet, the texture of the skin in my hand…

-Drawing mere neutral patterns from reference can lead you into great ideas, its like meditation and its uncontrolled so open for imaginations and surprising (rewarding)

Like wine

Im like fine wine, I get better as I age and there is no shortcuts to the development of my sophistication

Project: Making marks / Excercise : Mark making techniques # Charcoal

As I already concluded in previous post, charcoal due to its quick unhesitant nature is perfect for use in doing preliminary tonal, composition, breadth studies for oilpainting. Charcoal makes you look at the big picture and strip off any uncessary details, through tonal valuations you can also study the mood and creating breadth and transitional edges.

Since charcoal is very dark black it is swift and economical way of making preliminary studies for chiaroscuro type paintings after Rembrandt and Caravaggio which presents near zero middle values and have the figures jump into existance from dark shadows to bright light.

Charcoal could also be used (as I have done here in my charcoal gallery below) to study works of ancient masters, excercising the stripping down of details by making threshold renditions of them with mere black and white.

Artists to study in above mentioned instances, who use stark contrasts, breadths and chiaroscuro styles : Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell, Odilon Redon, Charles Hawthorne, Dean Cornwell, Roy Crane (comic artist) and Simon Bisley (comic artist)

In most of these charcoal studies I used BBQ charcoal which I hammered into smaller pieces and sandpapered down, often I used my greasy finger as putty rubber.


I like the BBQ charcoal because it is more solid and translucent and appears slightly off-black, needless to say its also very economical.

And 2 new quotations:


~Life is not a clinical hospital event~

~To see the trees from the forest~



Project: Making marks / Excercise : Mark making techniques # Contemplating the experiences

Project: Making marks / Excercise : Mark making techniques # Contemplating the experiences



Felt tips

Once I started the course I went to shop and purchased variety of colored felt tip pens. Purchasing from different manufacturers gave me wider range of colors without blowing my minimalistic budget. I wouldnt normally consider using felt tips for making art but hence I was told to I decided to look at the entire medium with new curious eyes.

You are pretty limited to sticking with various lines as overly painting will burn through hole in a paper soon, this made me to experiment various different Van Goghian lines, I also discovered inventive use of bleach that miraculously erases the non permanent ink from paper, making it look very light and impressionistic when applied as dots all over the painted area.

Also since felt tips are very bright in color you could use it as underpainting for watercolor or on top of it use colored pencils or oil pastels or any other media to create rustic two dimentional look. I feel like there are so many varieties you could try that I could spend in mark making part of the course alone for ages.

Here couple of sample pages where felt tip was used:

Felt tips as drawing medium

Felt tips used to color entire areas also overlapping and bleach on top

Simple outdoor sketch done with brown felt tip


Graphite pencils


Graphite pencil is made from lead and differs from pencil for not having wooden outer shell but rather has a thin shell around it. This allows you to use it almost like a charcoal when holding it flat, the mark is also softer in appearance than pencil has.

In this image I have drawn on top of watercolor blob which creates a tiny tooth to grasp the mark better.


Cat people graphite on top of watercolor


This image was a monotype made with red cabbage and black oil color then drawn with graphite pencil


Van Goghian lines with graphite pencil


This was a view of River Great Ouse in the city, you can see the charcoal quality on the surface of the water on the right side


Great River Ouse with graphite pencil


Lots of drawings were done at the Mill using graphite pencils


Close up of zoomed in Mill landscape


Oil pastels

Oil pastels seems as untameable as charcoals but I braved this medium with intent of victory. I found this medium much easier to use in addition to some other, I also didnt like the way it looks as is so started experimenting with ironing on a piece of paper and voila, I was getting close to something that I would like.


Oil pastels with other media but no ironing

In this image I used a lot of oil pastels and then melted it with iron thus it looks like paint in parts, the color palette is burnt orange that I came accross in interior decorating article


Burnt orange palette with oil pastels melted with hot iron




I was very hesitant with charcoal as I had a memory of it being very disobedient and difficult to handle, I didn’t remember wrong.

However I then realised maybe it was my own attitude towards the charcoal that was wrong, I needed to understand its purpose and what its really made for or what it could be used for, that is when the secrets of charcoal started to reveal itself to me. I had a burning desire to create my thanks giving image and I instantenously used charcoal on A2 sized image and I wouldnt have used any other media  for it. Charcoal is quick, the black is intense when pressed strong enough, more darker black than any other media could so easily and swiftly render. I turned the limits of charcoal to exponential use, if I can make only big forms with ease then that is what I should do and in fact that is what it is made for. It is made for the big picture, large shapes, quick vigorous expression, boldness, daring to experiment.


In fact its perfect for making preliminary studies for a final painting, tonal values, composition, searching for geometrical shapes in same tonal values, bringing extreme tonal values together for creating “the breadth” learning to subtract and minimise forinstance when planning a landscape painting, charcoal helps you to see the big picture behind thousand of little details of leaves and grass and patterns. One where charcoal will be indispensible is making preliminaries for chiaroscuro type paintings.



Learning to make preliminary layout based on a dream


Copper kettle still life made with charcoal


Close up of charcoal study based on Helene Schjerfbeck’s painting “Forest in Pont Aven” (1884)






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