Chiaroscuro by Antonia


Antonia is a British student who completed this project aged 16 as part of her AS Level qualification.  She was given the theme of ‘Chiaroscuro‘ as a starting point.

She started by looking at the work of South African artist Solly Smook.

She created an artist analysis of one of his paintings so that she could learn from the artist’s process.

Wanting more than one artist influence, she went on to look at the king of chiaroscuro, Caravaggio.

Again Antonia completed an artists analysis to begin learning the artist’s technique.

Next, she photographed her friends using exaggerated lighting and coloured lights.  Having really successful photographs that showed Chiaroscuro really helped with the success of this project.  The artwork on the left (below) is coloured pencil on black paper.

More photographs below.

This page shows an acrylic painting (top), coloured pencil and pencil.  Throughout her sketchbook Antonia uses annotation to record her thought process, ideas and plans.

Using Pinterest she finds more images to inspire her.

She continues to work from her own photographs in coloured pencil on white paper, and in monochromatic blue acrylic.

She experiments with white on blue.

She continues to push further her success with coloured pencil crayon, capturing the dramatic lighting of her photos.

Antonia works on a small canvas in acrylic below.

As well as working from her photographs she explores direct observation.

It’s time to plan different ideas for a final piece.  She is interested in the large, dramatic areas of black found in Carravagios paintings and also the painting style of Solly Smook.  She sketches out possible compositions.

Large brush strokes make links to Solly Smook.  She experiments with where to add them to her final piece.

I love this contact sheet (below) in her sketchbook and how it visually shows the selection process she has been through, even linking photographs to the artists she has studied.

She continues to analyse the colours found in Solly Smooks work, using Photoshop to ‘match’ the colours.

Not wanting to flatten her work with black, Antonia experiments with artists black, and decides to use ultramarine black on the left-hand side of her final piece, moving to crimson black on the right-hand side.

She photographs her work as it progresses, annotating the decisions she makes.

The final painting is below.

A detail.

Areas below which incorporate large brush strokes.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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