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The Old Courtyard Using Tinted Charcoal Paint by Tony Hogan

  • Oct 29, 2021
  • Written by: Tony Hogan

With a range of twelve muted colours to work with, this Tinted Charcoal Paint Pan Set has a flexibility never before achievable with charcoal. Because they are in pan form (like watercolours), the first advantage I noted was the total lack of dust – a possible problem for anybody with respiratory difficulties. Add to this the advantage of no more dirty hands and clothes and you have an easy, usable, product. It can be used with either one of the Derwent Push Button Waterbrushes or any other paintbrush and water, such as the Derwent Technique Brushes.

The ‘Old Cobbled Courtyard’ I chose as my subject was taken from a recent photograph I took while tutoring at Westcott Barton, in North Devon.

Painting colour swatches and starting the steps1

IMPORTANT: before starting your work do make your own colour chart for reference. There is one provided but of course the colours will appear differently dependent on your choice of paper. I elected to work on Derwent Lightfast Paper. This took the charcoal well while still allowing for lifting with the waterbrush or cutting back with a hard eraser.

‘MOUNTAIN BLUE’ heavily diluted was used for the initial drawing of the stone steps. ‘NATURAL’ was then used to obtain deeper tones and shadows. The depth of tonality was achieved by overlaying as each layer dried. I introduced ‘DARK MOSS’ to paint the foliage growing against the wall above the steps.

Adding in the steps2

Using ‘DARK’ and the Derwent chisel shaped waterbrush, the painting of the door is achieved by leaving some areas light and building up darker areas by gradual overlaying. ‘MOUNTAIN BLUE’ is used for the door wall and the windows; these are then developed with ‘NATURAL’ and ‘OCEAN DEEP’. The foliage at the bottom right hand corner of the door is painted with ‘DARK MOSS’ and ‘FOREST PINE’, then using the same colours, I further develop the step wall foliage. The long grasses on the left under the window are painted with ‘FOREST PINE’ and ‘DARK MOSS’ which I then undercut with ‘THISTLE’ to create shadow and a solid base.

Adding in the door3

At this stage, I paint in the edge of the step wall which at some stage had been painted white by the owner.  So, first start by using ‘WHITE’ and then adding ‘MOUNTAIN BLUE’ dashes until the desired effect is achieved. Add additional working on the main buildings stone walls with ‘MOUNTAIN BLUE’ and ‘NATURAL’.

Adding in the wall4

With the age-old quartered steps being such a strong visual part of this composition, I spend a great deal of time observing their intricate structure shapes and tonal variations. Along with my palette of ’MOUNTAIN BLUE’, ‘NATURAL’ and ‘DARK’, I introduce some of the ‘THISTLE’ colour, particularly on the lower steps in the foreground. A subtle warmth and emphasis of depth to the painting is thus achieved.

Adding detail to the steps5

The final part of this work is the painting of the cobbles in the courtyard. I used the fine, medium and chisel shaped waterbrushes throughout, but then I discovered that by using the flat side of the chisel brush with the paint fairly dry, I can dab the paper at different angles to achieve a most satisfactory result. The tints used for this effect were ‘MOUNTAIN BLUE’ followed by ‘NATURAL’ and ‘THISTLE’. The marks on the back wall and round the window were created using the same brush but twisting it on to its edge and with further dilution of the paint.

Adding in the final details6

Using the Tinted Charcoal Paint Pan Set proved an easy and clean product to work with while providing greater tonal control than other standard Charcoal products.

The Old Cobbled Courtyard Final Artwork


Thank you to Tony Hogan for providing this blog for us. You can discover more of Tony’s work on his InstagramFacebook and website.