Archive | 19:27

Drawing With Silver

3 May

Portrait in silverpoint.

I’m very lucky to have been invited to study on an intensive two-day course in Renaissance drawing. Today was day 1 and I did some work in Silverpoint. I’d heard about it and admired reproductions but I’d never seen a Silverpoint tool before. The handle is a smooth barrel of wood like an etching needle but the point is a piece of silver wire, apparently 99% pure. It can be used flat or as a very sharp point, but you have to be accurate because it can’t be rubbed out. It seems that Renaissance artists didn’t use the technique for quick scribbling, it was for careful studies. The paper is coated with a special Silverpoint Medium; I don’t know what’s in the modern one, but back in the day it was supposedly ground bone in some sort of animal glue. Nothing wasted eh?

The drawing room was very full so I moved in close to the model. She wore a wig which had been elaborately plaited – daVinci was particularly fond of drawing plaits. I loved it. It helps that I normally draw directly in ink, without sketching in pencil first, so I had the confidence to get stuck in without worrying too much about accuracy. It’s a small drawing, about A5 onto prepared hand-made paper and took about 20 minutes.  I like the technique so much I might put a Silverpoint tool in my letter to Santa. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: