Perhaps because I haven’t posted in awhile, a number of friends have asked recently if I am still working on my silverpoint drawings. The answer is emphatically: “Yes!”. Since I’ve had a few other projects on my plate, I just haven’t done a post. So here is batch #4.
Actually, I am coming down the home stretch of these sixty four (underdrawing) panels (there are still twelve left to do). Each is a jewel in its own right, though clearly some are more interesting compositionally than others. I had about thirty panels to sort through in order to select these five to showcase here.
As you’ll see, the panels that contain body parts with differing textures and conditions of light make for the most interesting compositions. It’s important to recognise that the silverpoint can never create a really dark line. The best that’s achievable is a 50% warm grey (which is drawn on a panel already tinted with a terra verte toned ground). So after transposing the basic form-describing lines, I fill in the dark values with silver cross-hatching. Through this process, the three quarter tone, deep shadow information inevitably gets lost however the composition does come to life when I introduce tints of (acrylic) titanium white.
Ultimately a built-in level of serendipity will occur in this overall assembled piece since the silver will tarnish over time. However, because these really are intended to function as underdrawings, the overlaying level of abstraction that is to come will determine which aspects of the composition will be exposed to (tarnishing) light – and which will not. I don’t have a preconceived plan for that as it is another aspect of intended serendipity. Still, whatever and however these underdrawings may end up playing their role, I imagine, their daguerrotype-like subtlety will always remain.