Tuesday, November 2, 2010


oddly enough this comes just after Halloween... although this was not my intention. Happenstance.
In my piece titled "Mimesis" its a large panel with a rhino-horned self portrait which hinges apart in the center to reveal the dark inner section of the door panels and these small unsettling images of insects and skulls. A reference to the 17thC "vanitas" concept. I like the idea of having creepy scurrying things lurking in the crack, unseen whilst the main image is dominant.
I have drawn some of the images in silverpoint. Its an interesting change of feeling to graphite, the metal point has a different feeling...less creamy and slick than pencil, but it has a directness which is refreshing. It either seems to make a mark or not, unlike the wide range of tonal value graphite gives. I also thought the notion of drawing insects in silver was an interesting notion.
I have prepared some more small panels for silverpoint by applying a ground which accepts the metal. Most other surfaces dont make marks when using silver, although some house paints seem to have whichever the ingredient is that makes the silver leave marks.
Once drawn, the silver tarnishes a bit and loses its dark intensity and becomes a warm gray tone. I prefer to keep the darker tonality and use an acrylic varnish to prevent the tarnishing, by painting it on right after I finish. This seals it but also precludes any further work as the silver does not take on the varnish.
The silverpoint itself is an annealed silver wire, slightly softer than regular silver and clamped in a clutch pen. It wears fairly slowly.
I have sent Hoarknockle off to collect various different pieces from our collection of sterling silver flatware and I shall be trying these out to see what kind of effect they give. I shall have to try and see if they make marks on a starched table cloth...

1 comment:

  1. Silverpoint is an interesting medium that you've described well.
    I've done drawings with it years ago, but though I liked the fine line effects, they always seemed too washed out for my taste. It's strange too that the lines lighten with tarnish instead of darken as does silver flatware. Maybe that's why I like working in ballpoint pen. It doesn't have the harshness of penpoint in india ink, nor does it seem ghostly like silverpoint. As for your tablecloth, I would think you could certainly apply gesso before you draw on it. BTW, have you ever drawn with the tine of a fork?