Underdrawings in silverpoint, batch #3

October 8, 2021

Pieces of Me #36, silverpoint underdrawing on toned ground tightened with acrylic

Pieces of Me #36, silverpoint underdrawing on toned ground tightened with acrylic

After a long hiatus (at least from posting here) I’ve got another batch of silverpoint underdrawings to publish. These were created during our recent trip to California – in my new studio there. The new studio is in our garage, so besides the new working-space, I envision that I will have more room to create larger pieces there (who needs cars anyway?). My current working-space here in Belgium exists in a long rear hallway to the house. It measures about 4 x 10 feet but since Euro-compression-design rules the day I have been able to pack many useful features into it. Still. it’s cramped.

Pieces of Me #58, silverpoint underdrawing over toned ground tightened with acrylic

Pieces of Me #58, silverpoint underdrawing over toned ground tightened with acrylic

When I began this project I knew of course that the silverpoint pencil nib is quite restrictive, so the challenge in these panels was how to render various highly textured, amorphous and abstract shapes with a very fine, low in value line. Mostly impossible. For many of these compositions then, if I were to use just silverpoint, I’d have only very flat uninteresting underdrawings to offer. But since they are executed on a toned ground, the addition of the while highlights (using tubes of titanium white acrylic) allows for greater manipulations. Washes quickly establish the tonality, texture and gesture – things which are otherwise very difficult to achieve in silverpoint alone.

Pieces of Me #38, silverpoint underdrawing over toned ground hightened with white

Pieces of Me #38, silverpoint underdrawing over toned ground hightened with white

The silverpoint then establishes the basics of the design and hints toward the darker values, while the white moves the image forward. I enlisted the help not only of brushes but also sponges, hands and fingers. And since each panel is about the size of a standard book, I could rotate the panel to get my washes to drip in whatever direction I needed. Nice. That’s really hard to do with a big panel or canvas. 😉

Pieces of Me #57, silverpoint underdrawing on toned ground tightened with white

Pieces of Me #57, silverpoint underdrawing on toned ground tightened with white

All in all I created fourteen panels during this recent time. They are still resting in their little beds in California, however I was able to take some photographs of them before leaving. I’m hoping to put the whole series together there during our next trip, where I will have enough space in that garage to throw some paint at the final assemblage. As ever, we’ll see.

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