Pasta Preparation Still Life in Charcoal

Title: Pasta Preparation Still Life in Charcoal
Medium: Charcoal, charcoal pencil, & willow vine charcoal.
Size: 18″ x 24″
Year: 2010
Notes: This is a study of a still life arrangement of pasta in preparation with glossy tomato, pasta, cardboard, a shiny metallic knife, soft textured garlic, and textured wooden cutting board.  This composition combined several textures and values into one cohesive piece.

Notice that the perspective lines lead the eye into the landscape captured on the pasta box, lending depth to the piece.  The picture suggests the origin of the wheat which was sowed to produce the pasta.

The project began with sketching the still life from various angles with willow vine charcoal and then selecting the one I wanted to illustrate in more detail with stick and pencil charcoal of varying softness.

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I chose sketch 3 to detail.  To do so, I superimposed a grid over the sketch in order to maintain the same proportions in the final work.  First I transfered that grid onto the drawing paper (you can still see hints of the grid in the draft below, they were covered by charcoal or erased out as the image evolved). Then I outlined the composition based on Sketch 3 and my view of the live still life arrangement. Following this, I shaded the darker regions and gave it some preliminary values. Below on the left is the sketch with the grid superimposed. On the right is a rough work with minimal detail.

Pasta Preparation Still Life Draft

Sketch 3 of Pasta Preparation Selected for Final Detail

Below is the final rendering in detail.  I’m particularly happy with the shine and reflection of the tomatoes on the cutting knife, the depth of the pasta, and the texture of the wood grain:

Pasta Preparation Still Life Final