Thursday, December 3, 2009

Metalpoint/Silverpoint Tools and Work In Progress, Another Silverpoint/Metalpoint Continued...

Above are the tools that I use to create my metalpoint drawings. At the top left you can see the copper wire, purchased from the hardware store to make my copper points. Under them are two pens for the two different sizes of points. Next to the copperwire pens are the two silverpoint pens purchased from the *silverpoint.com website. I placed my order online and they arrived quickly. The putty and the click type eraser I use for all my drawings including graphite and colored pencil. Metalpoint, however, is difficult to erase. If the mark is light enough, sometimes it can be lifted. Try not to rub the surface too hard or it will become too smooth and the marks won't adhere to it. When you do go back over the surface with the pen, do so lightly and allow the marks to build up slowly. I always keep a hake brush handy to brush away any lint or specks. The sandpaper is used to shape the metal into a point or smooth the point. What I have here is Gator Grit, 180-C Waterproof sandpaper. Be careful that the point is not too sharp, or it will cut into the ground. The ground I use is Golden, Silverpoint Drawing Ground, you can buy at most art supply stores. There are recipes on the silverpoint website if you want to make your own ground. I really like the look and feel of the Golden ground. It can be used on many surfaces, anything you want to draw on. I am now working on a piece of Strathmoore 500 Series Illustration board .

You can see above where I stripped off the top of the outside covering of the wire. I think one is around .05mm and the other may be around .07mm. I don't remember what the actual sizes are. I just looked at the wire in the hardware store, and bought several sizes in about 6 inch lengths. Some have several strands of the wire in them. Then I just took old pens apart until I found ones that would work for the wire sizes. Leaving the outside covering on the wire and just peeling it back helped it to hold in the pen more securely. In the smaller pen I also put some of the putty at the base of the pen, which helped hold the point steady, (you can see the gray area at the bottom of the pen on the copper wire pen in center).

Above you can see the different marks the pens make, copper on top and right, silver, both on bottom. Below is a closer view.

I don't know if you can see it clearly, but in this abandoned silverpoint miniature drawing that was started several months ago, I've added new silverpoint marks next to the aged marks. Notice the color differences (at the base of the tree, right side). This is another one of the beautiful characteristics of metalpoint. I'm looking forward to seeing how this new work ages, especially since I've combined the two different metals in it. Please keep in mind that I am new at using silverpoint/metalpoint, so I am learning as I go. So far I can say I really like the look and feel of the metalpoint on the ground. My first successful work, (as far as I was concerned) was done as a miniature called, The Silent Ones. The one I'm working on now as a work in progress I'm hoping will be a successful piece. If you wish to see more of my attempts at silverpoint, just click on the word "silverpoint" in the labels section at the end of the post. I'm already thinking of what I'd like to do next! If you love to draw, I say it is definitely worth trying.
*Silverpoint.com is the best website on silverpoint with a lot of useful information, history and links on this fine medium.

Here is what I've recently done on the work in progress. I really had a great time doing the large rock, I love the texture, and metalpoint is great for doing textures!


Above are two closer views of the area. I'm ready to bring this one to a close. Looks like I still have more to do though! (sigh) Until next time...

9 comments:

Miniature Art by Karen Hull said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Barbara - you have excited and inspired me!!! As soon as all my commissions die down, I am going to try this medium. The only thing is I am very lazy about making up my own supports - is claybord an acceptable alternative to using ground, or is there any support that comes ready made?

AutumnLeaves said...

What a wonderful tutorial, Barbara! One day I just have to try this (after I get my drawing into a better place, that is).

Tatiana Myers said...

Barbara, thank you for WIPing! I was curious about silverpoint for years... never tried. You AGAIN make it look attractive to the point that I'll have to make myself a present from that web site you posted here!.. :-)

storybookstudio said...

really interesting thanks Barbara!

DEB said...

Your work IS inspiring! I'm still intimidated by this medium, but I love watching you work with it!

Mona said...

Barbara, thanks so much for posting the info. about silverpoint. My question is similar to Karen's about appropriate surfaces. I thought my friend Koo did some of her silverpoint on a tinted gesso on panel, so is a special silverpoint ground always needed?

I've got lots of current projects, but I'd like to try silverpoint when I can, and so much appreciated this information and pictures of your tools!

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Hi and thanks for all your comments. I'm glad if this is in anyway helpful to you. I got most of my information on silverpoint from the silverpoint.com website. There are links to other artists using this medium and some tell a bit about how they use it. I think that whatever you use, it would depend on how dark your lines were, how much the metal will stick to the surface. The Golden ground is a relatively new product. As to the question of using other surfaces, well, I think that the need for using the ground is so that the metal will adhere to it well, giving you dark, smooth lines.

Mona, I'm I not sure what Koo would be using for her support, but true gesso panels made from rabbit skin glue is probably what it was?

Karen, I don't know if the claybord would work. It's all new to me, so I thought the Golden silverpoint ground was my best choice. I only used one coat of the ground. I didn't have to stretch my paper, just brushed it on and waited for it to dry. I did tint it a bit with watercolor, had it too dark in earlier attempts.

So to answer your question, no, you don't need to use the ground. I think that as long as the metal makes a mark to your liking, and it's a stable surface you can use it. Chineese white watercolor, gouache, traditional gesso, acrylic gesso and house paint, whatever doesn't flake off, is my understanding. If anyone finds using anything else interesting, I hope you will let me know. I can see you all doing great things using metalpoint! : )

Dors said...

Thank you Barbara for all the details and images on the tools you use.
I find this all very exciting and will try it one day soon.
I have been into the Silverpoint.com website and yes it is very interesting. Thank you so much for sharing so much with us.
Your are an inspiration.

Barbara A. Freeman said...

You are most welcome, Dors. I will be posting the finished work soon, almost finished!