Monday, January 22, 2007

Silverpoint

I've started doing a few drawings in silverpoint as a way of working on my skills. Silverpoint is in some ways a delightful medium because of the soft gray tones you can achieve but it's also demanding because it isn't erasable. The tool is a rod of annealed silver that lays down a line that eventually tarnishes (just as real silverware does), turning a lovely gray-brown when exposed to air for varying periods of time. Early Renaissance painters who used tempera often made careful underdrawings in silverpoint since it doesn't smear and remains intact. Like those artists, I did the drawing at right on a small panel prepared with traditional gesso (hide glue and whiting) because I like the smoothness of the toothy surface and the sturdiness of the board. This one is "The Dying Woman," and measures 7"x5".
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