Rodney Swansborough is a tonal artist who captures the subtleties and nuances of light and shade in his work . He has a unique teaching method using brown paper and composite board as the basis of mid tones to create a subtle relationship between reflected light and contrasting shadows. The primary mediums used are white chalk and charcoal.

Rodney has been training and teaching his students in this “Chiaroscuro method” where brown paper or mdf board are used with only two mediums – white chalk and black charcoal – you will not see any white paper on the art works being displayed.

The students start with very simple exercises to familiarise themselves with the method and the mediums. They then progress to the creation of tones as represented on the human body and face.

The “Chiaroscuro method” recognizes that the mid tone (brown) is the foundational colour. This enables true white (chalk) to be used to create reflections, highlights and light areas which contrast with the mid tone and the shadows. The shadows and dark areas are done in charcoal – and both mediums are then subtlely  blended and toned to bring about the soft nuances of  the composition

Leonardo da Vinci went beyond his teaching by making a scientific study of light and shadow in nature.  It dawned on him that objects were not comprised of outlines,  but were actually three-dimensional bodies defined by light and shadow.

Leonardo wrote:

Shadows and lights are the most certain means by which the shape of any body comes to be known, because a colour of equal lightness and darkness will not display any relief, but gives the effect of a flat surface, with all parts of equal distance from the brightness that illuminates it.”



Address: 71 Mayne Street (New England Highway)
Murrurundi - New South Wales 2338

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