Saturday, February 20, 2021

    I am feeling quite organized which is a nice feeling since it is not always the case. In my last post I talked about the use of charcoal or pencil with sanguine chalk. Today I will go through some Master drawings showing variations on the use of this technique

Here is a drawing by Francois Boucher- an artist of the Rococo period who is more well-known for his nudes. Boucher used this technique to enhance the three dimensiality of the face. If you notice most of the face is the paper color, the darkest part is charcoal and he has used the sanguine chalk to enhance the roundedness of the cheek, the lip color and some highlights in the hair. The lightest light he used white chalk. this technique when used in portraiture or the figure can show a lot of sensitivity and emotion.

On the other hand sanguine chalk can be used with great effect by itself. Note this use of the chalk in Jean-Louis Fragonard"s rendering of a landscape. Sanguine chalk, as you can see here, can offer the artist greater nuances than the pencil depending on the pressure. Some of this may be due to its color which, in my view is more pleasing than just black on white but the pencil has a tendency of being more linear and it takes a bit of concentration and thought about how hard or soft ones marks need to be. Sanguine chalk, on the other hand is much easier to create a soft effect though as you can see from this drawing it can also be precise,

Peter Paul Rubens also used this technique to great effect. It is also a way of portraying flesh without using a lot of color especially if you were doing studies for a bigger painting. Rubens frequently did drawings and even small paintings in preparation for his larger pieces.

Finally Hubert Robert, a painter of the landscape who depicted architecture, and ruins of old civilizations in his paintings. He used the sanguine chalk exclusively in his predatory drawings. Note the nuances in the darks as well as the lights.

I hope these examples may make you want to try this yourself if have not already done so. It is a lot of fun to use.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Art materials

       It has been brought to my attention that people may be interested in the art supplies I use and why  therefore,I will begin with my favorite drawing mediums. 

I really favor charcoal and sanguine chalk when I draw.

 Nitram charcoal is my favorite brand- it is square and comes in HB, B and very soft in very large sticks. It was a french company at first but then it was bought by a canadian company. For the most part it is very consistent  and you can sharpen them to a very sharp long point. There is a sand paddle you can get that does a marvelous job of sharpening and it lasts a long time which makes it worth the price.

  Below is a drawing I did using these materials

The sanguine chalk I like to use is either creatocolor originally Hardmuth and I usually use a metal holder to use it.

I love the sanguine chalk and this brass holder is just the right thickness for me. It is, however, hard to find the narrow ones. One finds the thicker ones more often so if you do find a narrow one -just get it- since one never knows when you will see it again. Other brands I like are generals though they are harder and more like a pastel in a way.
I am not a fan of conte as I do not think it is easy to use and its texture does not suit my way of laying down marks.
Below is a drawing of my student Jessie I did a while ago and I used very little charcoal mostly sanguine and white chalk on this marvelous paper my father -in -law gave me 

i wish this paper were still available but alas it has been discontinued along with a lot of other favorite art supplies. must be Murphy's law that if you really like a surface the manufacturer will discontinue it.

I am also very fond of using the sanguine chalk/ pencil combination when I do smaller drawings

I learned this technique when I was living in France and went to see two exhibits of french drawings, which made me wantI to try it and I have never really gone back to just black and white. I feel it gives n extra dimension to the subject. One can get so many more nuances with sanguine chalk than with pencil or other black on white medium. 

It is only recently that I have found this type of drawing is called a drawing 'a trots crayons' ie. with 3 pencils- who knew.

Next time I will try to talk about some artists of the past that I admire who used this technique . So till next time