Notan : ‘La Maison Peyarade, Bergerac’

‘La Maison Payarade, Bergerac’ Encre Chine. Tous Droits Reservés

I’ve been following some the talk about ‘Notan’ over on Katherine Tyrell’s blog, so I thought I’d post this three-tone drawing. Not quite a Notan I know, as it’s not flat enough. Has perspective & depth rather than flat pattern. I decided to try however to use flat blocks rather than lots of separate brushmarks or ‘accents’. This, in my opinion, is one of the secrets of good ‘notan’. I did it by floodlight one dark & mysterious night.

A painting needs good tonality to work well. Especially watercolour.

Quarter tone & half tone drawings

Quarter tone & half tone drawings are great practise at this. Helps students work out in what order to construct a painting. Once you get into them, you see black & white everywhere. I teach tonality at my Painting Holidays au Chateau de Lanquais, as the chateau does have some wonderful light/dark painting opportunities.

Even Turner was seduced to paint the occassional interior, albeit Petworth Castle. The important thing is that the learning helps – & don’t worry, students do get out in the sunglight as well.
Later on , the students ‘did their own thing’ in black & white.

lanquais alumni – ink pen

Lanquais alumni – oil on gesso


5 Comments on “Notan : ‘La Maison Peyarade, Bergerac’

  1.  by  Robyn

    Adam – terrific to find your blog through Katherine’s. I look forward to exploring it. I love your ‘notan’ nocturnal painting. Your painting holidays sound like a treat too.

  2.  by  Adam

    tally hoo katherine

    what a beautiful drawing!

    i particularly like the way you’ve dealt with the ‘fringing’ on the petals. The little white line that illuminates each petal. Is the white of the page? Thinking about notan is a great way of also thinking about how you deploy the white of the page.

    Wonder what this would give if it were done in monochrome, say using only four pencils?

    thanks for all your research. especially interesting to watch how you are integrating it into your own drawing style.


    ‘leaving the unmarked paper’ – yes.

    not surprising when you think that notan partly comes from ukiyo-e woodcuts…woodcuts are what we used to call ‘ a suicide technique’ in the bristol printmakers workshop UK. when you cut the wood away you can’t replace it (make a mistake & you ‘suicide’ or wreck the piece). it is a substractive technique in the sense you take elements away, which normally means the white of the paper showing in the next stage of the print (or the next colour separation).