Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Black and White and Shades of Gray

I am now working on a new online class (thanks for your suggestions and enthusiasm!) in which we will work in black and white, and shades of gray.  I've shown you some of my black and white work, here and here, which involves a lot of line and mark-making.  Recently I'm interested in finding my way with black and white in collage.  See posts here and here. It turns out to be surprisingly challenging to make a strong statement in black and white, though it is freeing not to consider color.  When color is out of the picture, I find I pay a lot more attention to value, scale, quality of line, edge, and so forth.

In the online class we'll be working with collage, with washes of paint (getting varying values from just black paint and water), mark making, and pattern.  I hope we will all become more articulate in our visual languages, even once we get back to working in color.  Here are a couple of samples in cut-paper collage:

In these 8"x8" studies, I am simply exploring black on white, with very simple shapes.

In the top two, I'm using only black and one shade of gray on the white ground.  In the bottom two I'm using multiple shades of gray in addition to the black. 
In all of the above, I'm using painted papers that are meant to be flat color.  No brush strokes, no shading, no nuance.  Interesting exercise. 

I'll have the new class open for registration within a few weeks, and it will be scheduled for 2016. 


  1. Sounds great and I'll definitely sign up!

  2. great idea for a class Jane. flat shades of grey, black, no nuance… scary!

  3. Hi will it be a self-paced class that you can buy and do on your own? Thanks

    1. No, I will do this one as an interactive class.

  4. Hi Jane, I just added color in the 100 Drawings continued class. But this looks like more fun. I would sign up also.

  5. Simple shapes...but relatively complex designs. Lov'em.

  6. Hi Jane, the contrasts and shapes in your black and white are so compelling...and I love the idea of using cut-paper collage. I would be very interested in signing up for your black and white course!

  7. Black and white has such an impact. Grey is just a distraction. I love the first four.

  8. How exciting! I'd love to do this; let me know when registration is open. Thank You, tina

  9. Hello!
    I am very interested in your Black and White class.
    Can't wait! Anne

  10. Sounds great! I'll be signing up as soon as I get your announcement that registration is open. Happy New Year!


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