Odilon Redon

( Sourced ‘Artsy.com’ Website )

I’ve chosen four of his black and white drawings to discuss the contrasting feel he has managed to give / sense of drama just by his differing tones, use of light and shading.

Le Printemps

Has for me a sense of expectation, it conveys a ‘fairy like’ woman I imagine in the depths of a forest, watching, waiting. Either for someone to enter ( whilst she watches from the sidelines hidden in a thicket ) or she is infact waiting for spring itself. The dark tones aren’t ominous, but make you feel very close to the subject matter, almost as if you were hidden in the thicket with her. There is just a spot of sunlight seeping through the undergrowth from where she hides.

La Jour

In contrast, in La Jour you are the watcher, looking through the window. A cool dark room with the sunlight striking the window ledge. I imagine him looking out of the window of the cool dark house which belonged to his uncle, wishing he was out there. Its a very simple drawing which by the very nature of it draws you to the central focus of the window view.

In my sketch of the bedroom window I have tried to capture the light as it hits my own room.. tho made it more complicated by detailing more of the inside of the room.

Odilon on the other hand made a far more compelling drawing by not cluttering the drawing with those unnecessarily details.

A La Vieillesse 1886

Such a gentle drawing, hardly any definitive lines just shading to give shape to the soft ageing face. It looks like it is bathed in a gentle light and the atomosphere is endearing, like he drew it with fondness or wished you to feel fondness towards the subject. Its so contrasting to the other two in its feel and design, a gentle pressure of the pen making much of the difference, alongside the omission to complete the exterior lines of his beard and head. Again it draws you to the facial expression – where the detail is.

La Centaur Visant Les Nues

I love the way the shading gives the impression of bright light bathing the back of the Centaur on the top of the mountain. Its a striking contrast to the soft light of ‘A La Vieillesse’, the brighter light in this instance depicted by the sharper contrast of shading, the denser application of the drawing implement on the underside of the horse – its a very strong and bold image.