I’ve never attempted metal point work before, but really enjoyed my experiment with copper point. It has all the aesthetic benefits of using a hard pencil lead, but makes the user more aware of their marks because it isn’t easily erasable. If you’ve ever enjoyed the challenge of working with pen and ink or love the look of pencil, but are wary of the possibility of smudging your work- I would give it a try.
Prime a board or paper with gesso, skin glue and bone dust, or zinc white pigment and matte medium and get to work. There are, of course commercial silver point grounds, but at $30 a bottle???! Make it.
For the points, I chose copper because I happened to have some lying about. You can also use silver, gold, lead, and I’ve heard even steel or iron wire to create your ‘leads’.
I also have read that the lines will develop a ‘patina’ over time, giving the work a beautiful and ethereal quality that isn’t really typical of pencil work. I would assume the type of patina will vary depending on the metal used for your point.
I’ve always been fascinated by traditional tools. Painting, woodworking, anything- there is something about seeing what creations and solutions people have come up with using these basic tools. I also love the accessibility of the original form, making it easier for me to customize tools or create my own. I started using the lumps of Italian red chalk for drawing and quickly realized that while it was fun to draw with a ‘rock’, it wasn’t the most practical way to create a drawing. After some research, and stumbling upon Matthew James Collins’ blog, I decided to try forming powdered red chalk into sticks. I was happy with the results, but noticed that they were fairly brittle without adding any gum tragacanth to the mixture. I decided to use some iron oxide pigment combined with kaolin clay and powdered chalk to see if I could create a sturdier stick. Instead of rolling, I put them into a small plunger syringe, and extruded the mixture through a hole cut open to roughly the size of a large pencil lead. I was happy with the result. They held a point longer, weren’t prone to snapping as easily, and fit handily into the clutches I made from bamboo. As a last test, I used a small coping saw to cut the natural clay into squarish sticks that fit well into the clutches. Despite a non-homogeneous texture, I actually preferred the variation of line the chiseled square points provided. I think I might try to find more lump sanguine in the art supply stores in Paris next month when I visit. Hopefully the quality will be as good as the Cennini Studio Products brand I bought over 15 years ago…
Here’s my representation of Huginn and Muninn. Huginn represents the careful and intricate weaving of our thoughts. Muninn, on the other hand, is a more deceitful raven. Memory can be a foggy place, making the past less vivid in substance- yet more colorful and direct in retrospect. Anyways- here ya go! Oil on canvas.
So- To get back into easel painting, I decided to revamp my work space by creating a custom easel from an old mahogany ramp. I’ve decided to add to the limited reference available on the webs so that others might have an easeler time researching a build of their own. Any suggestions or comments also welcomed!
I had to rip the boards through my crap table saw, and being 12 foot mahogany boards it was not fun. I decided to frame it at 7 1/2 feet. That should accommodate any size surface I’d ever need. The raise/lower mechanisms are just blocks with mower adjuster knobs and carriage bolts. They use friction and pressure to hold the shelves In place.
I wanted to add some useful accessories. Palette tray coming soon!
It’s not perfect, but very sturdy!