Year 7 learn the grisaille technique to create still life paintings

Year 7 learn the grisaille technique to create still life paintings

7 March 2024

Miss Eilise Lancaster, Artist in Residence

On Tuesday 5 March, Miss Fitzherbert and I ran workshops for all students in Year 7 focusing on how to paint a grisaille - a technique where a limited palette of shades of grey is used - for a still life painting.

Using apples, vases and cups lit by torches within dark boxes, students learnt to observe how the shapes of light and shadow give form to objects we see around us. They used oil paint on a canvas panel to better understand how to work on the surfaces typically used for an oil painting.

We explained the history and purpose of using a grisaille underpainting before giving the students two demonstrations. The first showed them how to accurately draw an object from life in proportion, while the second taught them how to render the lights and shadows, teaching them about value and tone and how light works upon an object, including the difference between cast and form shadows. For many students, this was their first time using oil paints. They all showed a keen desire to learn, and made some truly wonderful pieces, which they were eager to finish after the workshop had ended.  We received lots of lovely feedback from them, including:

Lilia - ‘I loved the experience because we were given the opportunity to learn new techniques and use oil paints. We were taught how to draw and paint the objects in front of us and accurately depict them. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the workshop.’

Alex - ‘The workshop was fun and educational. I love doing art, so this was great!’

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