As you may have noticed on the calendar, I’ve been teaching a drawing class at the local Middle School after school. I was inspired by the snowy landscape here in rural central New York state. Sometimes the skies are much darker than the earth all covered in snow. The bright white of snowy ground is emitting more light than the sky itself! Perfect to draw in charcoal. I love how charcoal smudges. It can be intensely dark or sublimely faint and subtle. Charcoal is as old as fire, and is a completely non-toxic art material. Our first class together I had students make gradations from the lightest marks they could make to the deepest dark they could muster with many smoothly blended steps in between. They then cut these up and made the value matching tool you see in the pictures. They observed the landscape outside their school and made these sketches.