March 7th, 2020

Eye Study in Graphite

ARTIST: Cilla Ellis, Australia

ARTIST STATEMENT: Although I use charcoal for many of my sketches, I was keen to push the level of detail and realism further in this study and so used graphite. My son was sitting quietly by the window and I was inspired by his “reflection”. I began by sketching and then shading lightly with a HB pencil before blending softly with a dry brush and blending stumps. Working primarily as a painter, the use of blending tools feels more natural and painterly to me when sketching to achieve the smooth transitions required. I believe that strong rendering skills are crucial to any painter.

The depth of shading was built up in layers using progressively darker graphite up to a 9B. The detail was added using Rotring mechanical pencils and a mono zero eraser gave me good control to pull back out some of the lighter patterns in the iris. The challenge with graphite is to push the darks as far as possible for contrast without damaging the drawing surface and a good quality paper goes a long way toward achieving this. The surface used for this sketch was robust enough to support the blending and layers of graphite without disrupting the paper whilst smooth enough to allow for fine detail.

MEDIA: Graphite, erasers
SURFACE: Delta Series – Extra Heavyweight – 270 gsm – Ivory – Cold Press Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Cilla Ellis is a realist artist living in Australia. Having trained and worked as a graphic artist she has always had a keen interest in composition and the effect of chequering dark against light within that composition. Cilla works in oils on Belgium linen and applies her process across genres including portraits, figures in the landscape and still life in its many facets. A member of the Australian Guild of Realist Artists, a high level of detail and commitment to the traditional approach and techniques of oil painting remain her focus. Cilla uses a very limited palette and believes this is the key to staying true to the values within a painting. Find her work on Instagram or the website listed below.

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/cilla_ellis_artist/
Website:
https://www.cillaellis.com/

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