Tag Archives: danse macabre

Still Deads

20 Aug

I spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop doing a short course in subtractive drawing with the new artist-in-residence, Aoife Layton. Pretty hard going, partly because it’s very different to the way I normally scribble, using a fine pen into an A6 sketchbook. Today we used A2 cartridge that had been prepared with three coats of rough gesso. We had to coat one with charcoal, rubbing it in well with our hands – lovely and messy! The other was coated with graphite block which was then wiped in with a rag soaked in white spirit. We used an odourless one, but there isn’t a satisfactory alternative to white spirit.

Then we had to begin to remove the black pigment with various drawing materials such as sandpaper, wire wool and craft knives. We had a variety of objects to choose from for our subjects including a large sweet jar full of dried corpses of lobsters and crayfish. I used some of these, Still Deads rather than Still Lifes. The top drawing is the charcoal one, the bottom, graphite. I think the one below looks like some strange crustacean Danse Macabre.

When I was in school, we were taught to always fill the page with a drawing, but these days I prefer to position the image carefully within a space, isolating and emphasising it.

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