Thursday, July 8, 2010

I don't like to give up on things, and I rarely do. But add silverpoint to that short list. I'm done with it - at least for the forseeable future.

I'd been interested in some old techniques - egg tempera, silverpoint, early styles of calligraphy - and found a website with lots of information on silverpoint. And Golden has a Silverpoint drawing medium. I happily ordered a few silverpoint styluses and the medium and, after the usual hesitation surrounding beginning something new, I prepped my paper, transferred my design (graphite erases without disturbing the silverpoint - at least that was the theory), and began drawing. I liked the feel of both the points and the treated paper.

But I was frustrated by my inability to get any decent value contrast. I had read that silverpoint produces a "delicate" drawing so was prepared to some extent. But I just didn't like the look I was getting. I know that the silver will tarnish and darken with age and maybe more value contrast would emerge over time. I worked on the drawing for two sessions, then quit. The areas I wanted the darkest appear to be fully saturated with silver, but even those areas are maybe 20% on the value scale. So I'm going to put it away and check it out in a year or so just out of curiosity.

By the way, erasing the graphite worked quite well - erased completely without disturbing either the ground or any of the silverpoint.

On the plus side, I did really like the drawing medium. It's easy to use. You shake the bottle vigorously then let it sit for about 5 minutes for the bubbles to dissipate. Then you pour a little out into a shallow container and apply to your paper with a sponge brush. Supposedly you can tint it (with watercolor, I think). It gives a really nice tooth. So I'm going to try tinting some paper and then work with pencil over it. Will let you know how it works!

This evening I made a small polymer clay bear's head for a bead embroidery bracelet I want to make. I included part of the chest, ending in a rounded point, and plan to have the bear piece be the center of a beaded embroidery butterfly with turquoise and other cabochons included as well. It should be a fun project. I was happy with the way the bear head came out.

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