Drawing Winter 2017

August 2, 2017 | Author: samag1987 | Category: Printmaking, Drawing, Fee, Communication Design, Art Media
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TABLE OF CONTENTS WINTER 2017

70

FEATURES 30

30

Beauty Underfoot The colored pencil drawings of David Morrison reveal the complexity of natural objects.

38

54

How Different Materials Affect the Drawing Process An instructor explains the advantages and limitations of drawing media and other tools.

54

Printmaking Today Ellen Heck, Frederick Mershimer, Hiroki Morinoue and Andrew Raftery are united by a passion for printmaking.

70

Intaglio Explained We learn the basics of five intaglio printmaking processes.

76

Searching for the Self The figure drawings of Samantha Wall explore identity, race and interior life.

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CONTENTS

38 COLUMNS 20

26

Material World

20

HowtoMakeaMonotype

Painterly Prints: Monotype and Monoprint

26

Transparent vs. Opaque: Key Differences

30

Capturing Nature With Colored Pencil

38

Drawing Materials: Pros and Cons

54

Printmaking Today: Engraving, Woodcut, Drypoint, Mezzotint

70

Intaglio Techniques Explained

76

Mixed Media Figures: Charcoal, Graphite, Ink and More

First Marks Opaque, Transparent or Translucent?

88

ON THE COVER

New & Notable Sean Caulfield

DEPARTMENTS 6

Editor’s Note

7

Contributors

10

Frontispiece

12

Sketchbook

COVER IMAGE Amelia IV (detail) by Samantha Wall, 2015, gravure with chine collé, 30 x 22. Courtesy the artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.

76

Copyright © 2017 by F+W Media, Inc., all rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the copyright owner, F+W Media, Inc. Drawing (ISSN 2161-5373 (print), ISSN 2330-0949 (online) USPS 001-780 Issue #52) is published quarterly by F+W Media, Inc. $9.99 a copy U.S.A. and $11.99 a copy Canada. Yearly subscriptions in U.S.A and Possessions: $23.95; in Canada: $27.95; and in all other countries: $30.95. Payment in US funds only. Periodicals postage paid at Fort Collins, CO, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Drawing, P.O. Box 433289, Palm Coast, FL 32143. Subscriber Services: U.S. and Canada (866) 917-3888, International (386) 246-0105, E-mail [email protected]

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Drawing VOLUME 14 • ISSUE 52 MANAGING EDITOR

Brian F. Riley SENIOR EDITOR

Austin R. Williams ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Michael Woodson

The Fine Print

P

rintmaking may not be a form of drawing per se, but the two are kindred practices, with enough overlap that we consider printmaking an important part of the broader field of drawing. Accordingly, we ring in 2017 by surveying a variety of printmaking methods. Ellen Heck, Frederick Mershimer, Hiroki Morinoue and Andrew Raftery discuss their recent work and their chosen processes (page 54). Richard Pantell explains the differences between engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint and mezzotint—five techniques that make up the intaglio family (page 70). We also learn the basics of monotype and monoprint, which can be undertaken with the simplest of tools (page 20). More traditional drawing materials are also on our minds. Dan Gheno explains the advantages of different drawing media, noting that you can never force a material to go against its inherent nature (page 38). David Morrison works in colored pencil, which he painstakingly layers and blends in order to depict little bits of the natural world in glorious detail (page 30). Samantha Wall, in contrast, works in black-and-white and often embraces a degree of chance in the creation of her figure drawings, letting pools of ink swirl and settle in rhythmic patterns (page 76). Whatever media you prefer, I hope you have a productive artistic start to 2017 and use this year to push your work to new heights.

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Inspired by what you see in this issue? Instagram your drawings and tag us @ArtistsNetwork. (Remember to follow us there as well!)

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To carry Drawing in your stores, contact us at [email protected] Send editorial mail to Drawing magazine, 1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

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PHOTO BY BEN BERLIN

AUSTIN R. WILLIAMS

CONTRIBUTORS SHERRY C A MH Y (“Material World”) is a faculty member of the

R ICH A R D PA N T EL L (“Intaglio Explained“) is a painter and

Art Students League of New York, the School of Visual Arts and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author of Art of the Pencil: A Revolutionary Look at Drawing, Painting and the Pencil. For more information, visit sherrycamhy.com.

printmaker whose artwork is found in the collections of the Butler Institute of American Art; the Wichita Art Museum; the Museum of the City of New York; the British Museum; and the Jewish Museum, in Stockholm; among others. For 20 years he has been an instructor at the Art Students League of New York. For more information, visit bearsvillegraphics.com.

M A RG A R E T D AV ID S ON (“First Marks”) is an artist, illustrator and former teacher at the Gage Academy of Art, in Seattle. She is the author of Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques. For more information, visit margaretdavidson.com. DA N GHENO (“How Different Materials Affect the Drawing Process”) is a New York artist whose work can be found in collections including the Museum of the City of New York and the New Britain Museum of American Art, in Connecticut. He teaches drawing and painting at the Art Students League of New York and the National Academy School of Fine Arts. His book, Figure Drawing Master Class, is available for purchase at NorthLightShop.com.

JOHN A . PA R KS (“Searching for the Self”) is an artist represented by 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. He is also a teacher at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and a frequent contributor to Drawing, as well as the author of Universal Principles of Art. View his work at johnaparks.com. A U S T IN R . W IL L I A M S (“Sketchbook,” “Beauty Underfoot” and “Printmaking Today”) is the senior editor of Drawing. MICH A EL W OODS ON (“Sketchbook” and “New & Notable”) is the associate editor of Drawing.

Drawing Classes at Art New England 2017 Art New England offers in-depth, one week workshops held at Bennington, VT. taught by accomplished and generous artist/teachers in painting, drawing, printmaking, bookmaking, ceramics and sculpture.

July 16-22 The 100 Drawings Challenge with Dean Nimmer Abstract Drawing: Process, Space and Language with Deborah Zlotsky

July 23–29 Drawing with Thread with Joetta Maue

July 30–August 5 Drawing Marathon: 5 Days of Continuous Drawing with Gwen Strahle

To register and view all courses please visit: MassArt.edu/ane

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FRONTISPIECE Christ Carrying the Cross by Martin Schongauer ca. 1475–1480, engraving on laid paper, 11 3/8 x 17 5/16 . Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Martin Schongauer (ca. 1450– 1491) is widely considered to have been the finest German engraver of his time, celebrated for the tremendous variety of tones he achieved with his engraved line. In the large print Christ Carrying the Cross—a religious subject, like most of Schongauer’s work—textures range from Christ’s weathered robes to the organic woodgrain of the cross; from the fur of various dogs and horses to the dark, dramatic sky over Calvary. Almost every figure in the densely packed composition conveys a distinct personality, and despite the multitude of detail the procession’s slow, grim movement is clearly communicated.

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Hokusai’s Puzzling Picture Book HOKUSAI’S LOST MANGA by Sarah E. Thompson MFA Publications and Artbook | D.A.P. 248 pages $35

Today the word manga refers to Japanese narrative comics and cartoons, but the tradition of Japanese comics dates back only to the late 19th century. When discussing earlier periods, “manga” refers instead to another type of artwork published in book form: collections of informal drawings by master artists intended as copy books. During their peak of popularity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, manga of this sort were reliable business for publishers. Students purchased them for practice, and collectors bought them simply for the accomplished and lively artwork. All artwork this article collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston, Massachusetts. All photographs © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Drawings for a Three-Volume Picture Book (pages 120–121) ca. 1823–1833, ink, 5 7⁄16 x 8 1⁄16. The wave at right seems to prefigure the famous print known as The Great Wave, published circa 1830 as part of Hokusai’s series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.”

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Drawings for a Three-Volume Picture Book (page 178) ca. 1823–1833, ink, 57⁄16 x 8 1⁄16 . This drawing, the final page of the picture book, shows a fisherman dangling a line and a woman swimming, perhaps diving for abalone.

Among the most important manga authors was Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849), the great painter, draftsman and printmaker of the ukiyo-e school. Beginning in 1814 Hokusai published 15 manga volumes, which sold well and were reprinted multiple times. Sometime between 1822 and 1833 Hokusai also produced a curious object: a small, unsigned, three-volume album of ink drawings. Referred to as Drawings

for a Three-Volume Picturebook, the album is now a part of the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). It comprises roughly 180 pages, in which the artist illustrates subjects spanning astrology, mythology, plant and animal life, landscapes, scenes of labor, scenes of domestic life and more. The story behind the book’s composition is unknown, but it is suspected to be an intended manga that was never published. Hokusai’s Lost Manga, a new book by Sarah E. Thompson, a curator of Japanese art at the MFA, reproduces the album in full—and offers a possible explanation for its mysterious origin.

T

he new theory rests on an advertisement: Researchers recently noticed that another book, published by Hokusai in 1823, features an ad promoting a forthcoming book titled Master Iitsu’s Chicken-Rib Picture Book. “Iitsu is one of the many names Hokusai adopted over the years,” writes Thompson, “while ‘chicken rib’ is a classical Chinese literary expression for something that is trivial but nevertheless worthwhile, like the small but tasty bit of meat on a chicken rib. Translated more freely, the title would be something like Hokusai’s Tasty Morsels. As far as we know, the ChickenRib Picture Book never appeared in print. The Boston album may be the manuscript for this lost Manga sequel.” The question of whether the MFA’s album is in fact the elusive Chicken-Rib book is interesting but ultimately a secondary concern compared to the sheer enjoyment to be had from the drawings themselves, and most of Hokusai’s Lost Manga is given to reproducing the full picture book at life size. The images are of a variety known as hanshita-e, drawings intended to be transferred to woodblocks and published in large editions. Hanshita-e were often prepared by a master’s students, and Hokusai sometimes enlisted pupils in preparing the drawings for his manga. But in this case, Thompson writes, “the superlative brush technique of the drawings indicates that they are indeed by Hokusai himself.” Some pages include several small drawings; others present more unified compositions. As we flip through the album we often jump abruptly from one subject to another. Some pages form coherent groups or chapters, such as a 13-page sequence of fish and other marine life, but others seem unconnected to the pages surrounding them. The drawings are reminiscent of other volumes of Hokusai’s manga, although the ink medium gives them a somewhat more spontaneous feel. A few drawings point toward later, more famous works by Hokusai. For instance page 120, showing a wave dwarfing a distant

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Drawings for a Three-Volume Picture Book (pages 146–147) ca. 1823–1833, ink, 57⁄16 x 8 1⁄16 . At left Hokusai shows two men washing a horse. At right we see two rooms in a comfortable home or inn.

island, anticipates his most famous print, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (also known as The Great Wave), which he created in the early 1830s. In addition to the album itself and Thompson’s introductory essay, Hokusai’s Lost Manga includes 20 pages of annotations, with a short note explaining each drawing and situating it in the context of early-19th-century Japanese art. From these we discover a wealth of obscure trivia, for instance that Hokusai preferred Buddhist names for stars rather than the more standard Chinese names. We also learn the workings of devices such as grain-winnowing machines and undershot waterwheels, and we’re told the size of the largest giant octopus on record in Hokusai’s time (30 feet, but the artist liked to draw them even larger).

I

n a way it’s a stroke of luck that the book was never produced, for if it had been, Hokusai’s original drawings would have been destroyed. “They would have been pasted facedown to panels of cherry wood—the ink lines clearly visible through the thin paper when damp—and carved through by a professional blockcutter to create a printing block,” Thompson writes. “After the blocks were carved, a professional printer would have inked the blocks, placed the paper facedown on them, and rubbed with a pad to make the finished impressions.” Those impressions would then be bound and sold to students and collectors. But their loss is our gain, as we’re able to appreciate this bounty of drawings straight from the master’s brush.

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The Weird and Wonderful Cartoons of Jim Woodring THROUGH APRIL 16

Frye Art Museum Seattle, Washington (206) 622-9250 fryemuseum.org

As an art form, the graphic novel balances artistic expression with traditional storytelling, incorporating images that elevate the narrative beyond that of a picture book. As with many forms of art, the way in which the images are produced can tell as compelling a story as the finished piece itself. This is certainly the case in a new exhibition of work by the Seattle-based artist and cartoonist Jim Woodring (1952–), whose genre-transcending artwork incorporates elements of the graphic novel and fine art, mixing reality and fantasy in the process. Woodring’s new series “The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept” was commissioned by the Frye Art Museum, in Seattle, where it is now on display. The drawings were created with an oversized dip pen designed and crafted by the artist. The drawings are similarly vast, at roughly six feet wide. The drawings demonstrate the ways that unconventional tools can shape an artist’s practice, generating new technical challenges that lead in turn to creative rewards. “One common thread that runs through all my work is an interest in and a search for hidden forces—the invisible world,” Woodring says. “There is very much a questing, searching, seeking quality to everything I do. Each picture I draw is an attempt to answer one question and ask another one at the same time.” According to the museum, “‘The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept’ is a purposefully absurd yet evocative title that hints at the enigmatic events depicted within the series. In each self-contained frame, Woodring renders swirling amalgamations of phantasmagorical creatures and organic matter, avoiding recognizable characters and narratives. In doing so, the artist delves deeper into the surreal and fantastical universe that is central to his greater project.” ABOVE

Woodring in his studio with the oversized dip pen he designed himself. Photos this exhibition: Mark Woods.

RIG HT

The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept, No. 3 by Jim Woodring, 2016, acrylic ink on paper, 42 x 71. Courtesy the artist and Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington.

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Finding Abstract Form in Baltimore THROUGH APRIL 30

Baltimore Museum of Art Baltimore, Maryland (443) 573-1700 artbma.org

Untitled by Eva Hesse, 1964, collage with black ink, opaque watercolor and graphite on toned paper, 18 ⁄16 x 25 9⁄16 . Collection Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. © The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

“On Paper: Finding Form,” a new exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, celebrates contemporary drawings that portray pure, refined geometric form and use materials expressively. The exhibition centers around four drawings by Eva Hesse (1936–1970), an artist

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sometimes associated with the Minimalist and Post-Minimalist schools, whose work takes a handmade, individualized, fluid approach to abstraction. A number of Hesse’s contemporaries are also featured, including Mel Bochner, Brice Marden, Dorothea Rockburne and Robert Smithson. Contemporary artists with work on view include Tomma Abts, Roni Horn and Meg Webster.

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MATERIAL WORLD

Getting the most out of drawing media BY SHERRY CAMHY

Painterly Prints: Monotype and Monoprint

P

rintmaking can be a complicated, time-consuming and expensive venture, but this is not equally true for all of the many printmaking processes. In this article we’ll look at monotypes and monoprints, two related methods that are surprisingly accessible. They can be executed without a large press. They don’t require expensive copper plates, toxic acids or unpleasant inks. With both methods you can create traditional or cutting-edge prints using materials that you probably already have, supplemented with a few things you can find in any hardware or art store.

Monotype and monoprint are perfect for someone trying printmaking for the first time. Most printmaking processes result in an edition—multiple prints of the same image. However, as you might have guessed from the prefix “mono,” which means “single,” monotype and monoprint are not produced in editions. Rather they produce unique images, and in this they are the exception among printmaking processes. The terms “monotype” and “monoprint” have at times been interchangeably used and are often confused, the

boundaries between them somewhat blurred. Here we’ll explore the differences between these two processes and learn how to make them at home.

MONOT YPE In monotype, none of the image derives from a registered, repeatable matrix. The print is produced by first making a design in ink, paint or other wet media on a plate—a hard, nonabsorbent surface. Traditionally plates are made of copper, but lots of other materials can be used. The plate is then pressed against a sheet of paper, either through the use of a printing press or by hand. This transfers the image to the paper, resulting in a unique monotype print. Monotype is first known to have been used in the 17th century by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609–1664), a great innovator in the field of printmaking. He used a subtractive or “dark field” process, beginning with a dark tone and making marks to produce lights—an approach still favored for many monotypes. Castiglione coated polished copper plates with opaque oil color and used rags, swabs, brushes and fingertips to wipe away the lighter tones. He also used tools including reeds and paintbrushes to scratch crisp lines and highlights into the paint. He then transferred the results to paper, creating prints such as David With the Head of Goliath.

An assortment of printing inks and tools that can be used to apply and subtract ink from a plate, including plastic mesh, squeegee, spatula, foam brayer, cook’s brush, string and pizza cutter. PHOTO: SHERRY CAMHY

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After a monotype has been printed, there is always some amount of ink or paint left on the matrix, and many artists cannot resist the temptation of pressing another paper to the plate and creating an additional print—called a second pull, a cognate or a ghost. These additional impressions are usually less defined, but in some cases they are even more appealing than the first impression. You can debate whether such images can still be considered monotypes, given that they are, in one sense, multiples, but these impressions are usually different enough from the originals as to constitute almost entirely new works.

David With the Head of Goliath by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, ca. 1655, monotype in brown oil pigment on laid paper, 1311⁄16 x 93⁄4 . Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

MONOPRINT A monoprint is similar to a monotype, but in a monoprint part of the image is repeatable, derived from a fixed matrix—that is, parts of the plate are marked in a permanent manner. The result is still unique but includes elements that can be repeated in multiple prints. The fixed matrix is often an intaglio plate, such as etched or engraved copper. In these cases, the artist creates grooves in the plate, then inks the entire plate and wipes it clean with an absorbent material. This removes the pigment from flat portions of the surface, but pigment remains in the grooves. Damp paper is then pressed against the plate, and the pigment lying in those recessed areas transfers to the paper and produces a print. (To read about intaglio techniques in more detail, see page 70.) Intaglio processes are not the only options for creating a fixed matrix— monoprints can also be created with a serigraph, lithograph or collograph matrix, for example. We unfortunately don’t have the space to detail all these processes here, but you can find information about them in many books and on a number of websites. After using one of these methods to create permanent marks in the plate, the artist then applies and manipulates additional pigment on the plate, as when creating a monotype. The plate is then pressed to the paper, resulting in a finished monoprint.

Seated Nude II by Wendy Shalen, 2009, monoprint with hand coloring, 8 x 8.

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MATERIAL WORLD

The Ballet Master (Le maître de ballet) by Edgar Degas, ca. 1874, monotype heightened and corrected with white chalk or wash, 247⁄16 x 337⁄16 . Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The handling of a plate can produce dramatically different effects from print to print. Manipulation of the ink, varied printing pressure and the choice of printing paper all make important contributions to the results. Prints from the same plate are not intended to be part of a consistent edition— each will inevitably evolve in its own direction—but rather a series of related but distinct works.

MONOT YPE MASTERS Many great artists have found monotype and monoprint to be rewarding processes. Rembrandt (1606–1669), a highly skilled printmaker, would create monoprints by adding areas of tone to his etchings. Using this process he could alter an image considerably, for instance, changing a daytime scene into a nighttime one. Edgar Degas (1834–1917) considered his prints to be works of art as important as his pastels and paintings, and he experimented with various approaches to monotype to create his highly painterly prints. Endless variation is possible with monotypelike processes, and Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) invented a system

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called “traced monotypes.” He rolled out printer’s ink on a sheet of paper, then placed a blank sheet of paper on top of the inked one. He proceeded to draw on the top sheet, and as he worked, the pressure from his pencil pressed the top sheet into the inked sheet below, creating an ink image on the front, or recto, side of the paper, echoing the pencil drawing on the reverse, or verso, side. Gauguin referred to these works as “printed drawings.” Why would these artists spend time on a drawing or painting only to immediately destroy it by transferring it to another surface? Because prints have an aesthetic quality all their own and because there is something quite special that results from the process of printmaking itself. There is a balance between control and accident that inspires new techniques, new visual ideas and the courage to pursue them. Printmaking is freeing.

MAKING YOUR OWN MONOT YPE You can make a monotype of virtually any image created in a wet medium on a nonabsorbent surface. All that you need is pigment, a plate, paper and pressure. With these basic materials your options are unlimited. DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Two Marquesans (verso)

Two Marquesans (recto)

by Paul Gauguin, ca. 1902, pencil and crayon, 18 1⁄16 x 13 9⁄16 . Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Paul Gauguin, ca. 1902, traced monotype, 18 1⁄16 x 13 9⁄16 . Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The process starts with an idea for an image. It can be a drawing or painting, realistic or abstract, simple or complex, monotone or color. You can even begin with no preconceived plan. You then prepare the plate, which can be any nonabsorbent surface, such as metal, glass, plastic, Plexiglas, Yupo or paper that has been sealed with varnish or acrylic spray. You can also purchase lightweight, transparent plastic plates intended for monotype. If you’d like to incise the plate (to produce a monoprint, rather than a monotype) you can use a sharp cutting tool such as an etching needle or burin. The next step is to choose and apply wet media to the plate. Possibilities include oils, acrylics, watercolors, transparent liquid pigments and any manner of inks. You can apply your medium using anything from paintbrushes, rollers and brayers to toothbrushes, feathers and fingers. You might also try Bellows bottles,

WATTS ATELIER ONLINE Study according to your schedule www.WattsAtelier.com



I am so excited to start this program. I have been looking and looking for an online opportunity to study art and am thrilled that it has happened with Watts Atelier. You are not only a strong and gifted coach but also an amazing artist. Thank you for — JUDY FRITZ this program!



Images ©Watts Atelier

Discover the Secrets to Drawing from Top Masters

DEMONSTRATION >> Julian Step 1 Artist Gerald Ruggiero drew his model Julian using oil and a brush on a glass plate backed with paper.

Jove Wang

“Essential Drawing Skills”

Step 2 Ruggiero pressed a sheet of paper against the plate, producing the print at left.

Step 3

Zhaoming Wu

The artist applied additional oil to his plate, realigned the paper with the image and pressed it a second time to produce the final monotype.

“Drawing the Head”

Julian by Gerald Ruggiero, 2016, oil monotype, 10 x 8.

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LiliArtVideo.com 24 Drawing / Winter 2017

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compressible plastic bottles that can have straight or tapered points. While the image on your plate is still wet, place a sheet of dry or slightly damp paper, fabric or other absorbent surface on top of the plate. Then apply pressure—this can be accomplished using a large printing or etching press, but you can also use a rolling pin, a spatula, a pile of heavy books, an oldfashioned wringer washer or a baren, a traditional Japanese tool. You might even be able to get enough pressure with just the palm of your hand. After you’ve applied pressure, carefully peel off the paper and behold your finished print. You can then clean the plate and create an entirely new image; press a second sheet to create a much fainter ghost print; or apply pigment for your next monotype right on top of the pigment remaining on the plate. Have lots of paper towels and antibacterial wipes ready—the process can get messy. You’ll also want lots of printing paper on hand, because

printmaking is addictive. One idea leads to another, and beautiful images result, always bearing a trace of the unexpected. Y

Morning Paper by Mary Beth McKenzie, 2010, monotype, 8 x 10. Collection Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York.

FIRST MARKS

Introductory lessons in drawing B Y M A R G A R E T D AV I D S O N

Opaque, Transparent or Translucent? One of the basic visual properties of any object is whether it’s opaque, transparent or translucent. When you look at an object, your eye can determine this instantly. For example, consider the three glasses in Illustration 1. You can discern without difficulty which contains milk (center, opaque), water (at left, transparent) and apple juice (at right, translucent). You’re able to tell the difference so quickly because your eye immediately takes three factors into account: how light behaves on the surface of the object; whether you can see through the object and if so, how clearly; and what kind of shadow the object casts. When drawing, you can depict whether an object is opaque, transparent or translucent by paying attention to these factors. (See Illustration 2.) You want to consider how you draw the light shining on the object, how clearly you draw what’s showing through the object from behind and how you treat the shadow the object casts. Doing so will reveal an object’s transparency, adding subtlety, complexity and accuracy to your drawing.

OPACITY An opaque object is one that cannot be seen through, whether solid or liquid. It’s the easiest of the three categories to draw. We draw opaque subjects all the time: wooden furniture, pottery, walls, floors—the list goes on. Opaque objects can be shiny or dull, and the most direct way to convey these properties is by how you draw the highlight on an object. The highlights on shiny surfaces tend to be distinct shapes with sharp edges. They look like white shapes surrounded by

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Illustration 1 Different liquids fill these clear glasses: water, milk and apple juice. All three glasses are all transparent and all three straws are opaque, so it’s only the liquids that cause variation in opacity.

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a much darker tone, with no gradation between the two. In Illustration 1, the straws and glass of milk are examples of shiny opaque objects. Dull things are the opposite, with highlights that are soft and blurry around the edges. The highlight on a dull object is still brighter than the values surrounding it, but the highlight blends gradually into the surrounding tones, without discernable edges. The stones in Illustration 3 are examples of dull, opaque objects. Whether shiny or dull, all opaque forms block light from traveling through them. This results in solid cast shadows that have no interior light. I draw cast shadows soft around the edges, but I make the interior of the shadows plain and dark.

Transparent objects are usually shiny, so they often have sharp-edged highlights. The shadows they cast are slightly tricky to draw, but they are one of the most telling and descriptive features for indicating transparency. The cast shadow of a transparent object is, in fact, full of light, because light passes through the object and right into the shadow. When you draw that light-filled shadow, draw just what you see. Note that the light within the shadow is not quite as bright as a

Illustration 2 Transparency, opacity and translucence can be seen in objects of any size, even these tiny droplets of water, milk and apple juice sitting on graph paper. Note that the water and juice drops show a shadow inside the drop just under the highlight; the interior tone then lightens toward the outer edge furthest from the highlight. The milk drop is utterly opaque.

Illustration 3 Dull, smooth and opaque, these unpolished stones have soft blurry highlights and plain, dark cast shadows.

TRANSPARENCY A transparent object is one that can be seen through clearly. The most obvious way to indicate transparency is simply to draw something showing through from behind the object. For example, in the case of a lake, you can show rocks under the surface. In Illustration 1 we can see the striped background through the transparent glass of water, although there’s distortion caused by the curve of the glass. We see another transparent object in Illustration 4: a Japanese glass fishingnet float. Here, too, the horizontal background line is visible through the glass object, although there’s even more distortion because the float is a sphere, with more curvature than the cylindrical water glass.

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FIRST MARKS

Illustration 4 This Japanese glass fishing-net float is transparent but has so much swirly blown-glass curvature that the horizontal line behind it is distorted significantly. Light swirls through its cast shadow as well.

highlight, so make the light within the shadow a little bit darker than, say, light shining directly onto a tabletop or wall. That slight darkness is a way of indicating that the light did pass through something and was colored by the experience.

TRANSLUCENCE Translucent objects fall between opaque and transparent. Light passes through them, but we can’t clearly see through them to the other side. Translucence

is the most complicated of these properties to draw. Translucent forms have to be shown as indistinct, with softly fading edges and vague contours, and the techniques for creating soft edges simply take longer and require more careful strokes. Whether anything in the background shows through a translucent object varies according to how clear the translucent object is and to the distance between the translucent object and whatever is behind it. Apple juice, for instance, is fairly dense, whereas lemonade is less so. Both are translucent but to varying degrees.

Illustration 5 Dried beans show dimly through the sides of this translucent plastic kitchenstorage container.

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Translucent things can have sharp-edged highlights, as we see on the apple juice in the clear glass, or softer highlights, as on the plastic container in Illustration 5. The cast shadows of translucent objects have a tinge of light within them but not as much as seen in the cast shadows of transparent objects. Translucence also is tricky because it changes depending on whether the light is shining on a form from the front or side or shining through it from behind: A translucent object will often appear opaque when lit from the front or side. This is demonstrated in the drawing of grapes in Illustration 6. The light falls between the two

2016 Exceptional Merit Award Dan Thompson, Ace, 23X29", Graphite on paper

Illustration 6 These grapes are in two clusters with the light shining between them. The front cluster is lit from behind, and the back cluster is lit from the front. Because it’s lit from behind, the front cluster of grapes shows some translucence, allowing you to see the pulp within each grape. You even can see a bit of light seeping into each cast shadow. In contrast, the back cluster looks opaque and is drawn accordingly.

groups of grapes, so the front cluster is lit from behind, while the back cluster is lit from the front. The back grapes show highlights and shadows in the same intensity and positions as they would if they were opaque. The front cluster, however, shows the translucence of each grape, with the interior seed faintly visible and a small amount of light leaking into the cast shadows. Drawing these properties convincingly will give that much more truth to your imagery. It is, however, a quiet success. Like many good realism skills, when done well it becomes invisible, and everyone just believes the drawing, happily moving into the world you’ve created without a backward glance—and without noticing your careful attention. Y

The Portrait Society of America invites artists to enter the 19th annual International Portrait Competition. Mark your calendar for March 2, 2017, the online entry deadline. $45 Entry Fee Submit up to three images Over $102,500 in cash and prizes recognizing Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Open to all artists and mediums On-line entry deadline: March 2, 2017 Exhibition dates: April 20-23, 2017 Atlanta, Georgia To enter, register or for membership information: Call toll-free

1-877-772-4321

i n f o @ p o r t r a i t s o c i e t y. o r g w w w. p o r t r a i t s o c i e t y. o r g DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

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Beauty UNDERFOOT The colored pencil drawings of David Morrison reveal the complexity of seemingly humble natural objects. INTERVIEW BY AUSTIN R. WILLIAMS

In meticulously rendered colored pencil drawings, David Morrison isolates small pieces of the natural world against fields of pristine white space, confronting viewers with the stunning intricacy and beauty of these objects. Morrison’s subjects include tree branches and bird nests, many of which he finds near his home in Indiana. “My intention is to show the beauty of a simple flowering branch or fallen residues from trees for the viewer to reexamine the realities of nature,” he explains in an artist’s statement. Drawing recently spoke with the artist about selecting subjects, incorporating photography into his process and working in colored pencil. ABOVE

Rusted Leaf Series, No. 3 2006, colored pencil, 19 x 15 1⁄4 . Garvey|Simon, New York, New York. B E LOW

Bird Nest Series, No. 2 2015, colored pencil, 35 x 16 1⁄2 . Private collection. All images this article courtesy the artist and Garvey|Simon, New York, New York.

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DRAWING: Tell me about your subject matter. Have you always been interested in drawing and painting nature? DAVID MORRISON: I’ve always been interested in looking at nature. A number of years ago, as I’d go on walks with my wife I started noticing these compositions on the ground, which made beautiful shapes and patterns. We also have several sycamore trees on our property, and they constantly shed their bark. As I rode my lawn mower over the fallen debris, I kept stopping to look at how stunning the shapes and patterns were—each piece was a little landscape of the environment. They also remind me of Chinese calligraphic marks, which I love. I started to photograph them and make drawings from there.

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Magnolia Tree Trunk Series, No. 3 2016, colored pencil, 37 x 23. Private collection.

My drawings are trying to capture a moment of existence. I want to take a simple stick or piece of bark, which seems so ordinary, and show how captivating and complex it is. I like how when we look at nature, we can see how the environment has modified a plant and learn about its life. These fallen branches and things show a process of degeneration and a kind of rebirth, of returning back into the ecosystem. I started drawing the bird nests when I was asked to do a series of

drawings for a show titled “Elements.” I’m fascinated by how the birds are architects, taking elements of sticks and yarn to create these weavings and structures. And these nests are strong where they need to be. When I touch the nests they sometimes start to fall apart, but the center always holds together.

DR: Do you usually find your nests and branches around your home, or do you look farther afield?

DM: Most of the work I’ve been doing is material from my yard. We have sycamores and a magnolia that I really love. The magnolia has been hit by lightning and has branches that have broken off, but it still has this incredible growth to it. I admire the tenacity this tree has to hang onto life and persist throughout the years. But I’m also looking for subject matter wherever I go. For instance I did an artist residency at the Banff Centre, in Alberta. I would find these beautiful sticks with algae and insect tunnels, and I started to draw them. People would visit my studio and ask what I was working on. I’d say, “I’m drawing sticks!” At the end of the residency we had an open house and everybody saw my rendering of these common objects isolated on a pristine background. I think there was a real wow factor. And the next day there was a pile of sticks in front of my studio; everyone else had started going out and discovering these magnificent items from nature.

DR: Tell me about the negative space in your drawings. What do you like about setting your subject against such a stark white background? DM: Activating the negative space is very important to me. I teach drawing and printmaking, and I’m always talking with students about negative space. In some of my earlier drawings I included an autumn background, with leaves and everything else, but I couldn’t see the shape of my main subject as clearly as I wanted to. By sterilizing the object, by removing everything else around it, I could show the shape and the complexity inside the form. I try to describe every little detail. I want to show the shape and how nature made it grow the way it did. When I removed the background detail I also was able to have the shadows become an intrinsic part of the drawings. Magnolia Branches Series, No. 2 2012, colored pencil, 34 1⁄4 x 20. Collection Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Bird Nest Series, No. 3 2015, colored pencil, 16 x 39. Private collection.

DR: How did you come to settle on colored pencil as your primary medium? DM: When I was in third grade, a teacher asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said that I had two ambitions: One was to be a professional football player; the other was to be an artist like Grant Wood. Being an artist won out. Drawing has always been essential to me for discovering form and shape. When I was young, I’d look at artwork of others and try to draw it. I would take some famous painting and see if I could do it myself. I came from a modest background, and pencil and paper were the materials I could always afford. Growing up I mostly did black-and-white drawings, but when I started looking at things

in nature I wanted color, and I started using colored pencil. I just felt comfortable with the pencils and how I could blend the colors by layering one on top of another.

DR: What do you use as reference during a drawing? DM: I use both photos and the physical objects. If you’re working from nature your subject is constantly changing. I may be trying to do a leaf or stick one day, and the next day the whole color range may be different. So I like to photograph it to capture the point in time when the object spoke to me. And, in photographing it, I can set up the shadows to interact with the object. Shadows are one of the most important aspects of the work. They give it a trompe-l’oeil effect. For a given object I might take 20 or 30 photos from different angles and with different lighting. I’ll choose

one, drop it into Photoshop and print out three versions: a lighter value, a medium value and a darker value. I set up my drawing table with those photos and the object so that I can see them all right in front of me. As I draw, if

“USING COLORED PENCILS IS ALL ABOUT PRESSURE AND SENSITIVITY—LEARNING HOW TO APPLY THE PRESSURE, HOW TO BLEND, HOW MUCH OF ONE COLOR GOES ON TOP OF ANOTHER.”

Stick Series, No. 1, 2015, colored pencil, 14 3⁄4 x 29 1⁄2 . Garvey|Simon, New York, New York.

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the shadows in one image are too dark, I can refer to the lighter-value print and put more information into those areas. Or in a lighter area, I might refer to a darker shot. The actual drawing is a comprehensive version of those three photos along with looking at the actual object.

DR: Once you’ve selected a reference image and printed the photos, do you make any preliminary studies, or do you dive right into working on the finished piece? DM: I dive right in. I start by doing a detailed contour line drawing on tracing paper. Using Saral transfer paper, I then transfer the drawing to Stonehenge 250-gsm paper.

In order to keep the background clean while I work I use Badger Foto/ Frisket Film, a low-tack product that airbrush artists use to stencil out spaces. I cover the paper with the frisket and trace the outline of the image on the film with a Stabilo pencil. Using an X-Acto knife I cut out the area where I will draw the image, plus an extra quarter of an inch all around the shape. This keeps the paper in the non-image area protected throughout the drawing process. I can smudge and blend as much as I want and not worry about my hand rubbing on the white background. After the drawing is done, I remove the low-tack frisket and have that pristine background.

DR: How does the drawing progress once you’ve applied the frisket? DM: Using colored pencils is all about

Bird Nest Series, No. 9 2014, colored pencil, 20 x 14. Private collection.

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pressure and sensitivity—learning how to apply the pressure, how to blend, how much of one color goes on top of another. Because colored pencils are translucent, there are usually three or four layers built up to get the right color. A lot of people think I use a blending tool, but I don’t. It’s all about layering and using a lighter-color pencil on top to do the blending. I prefer to draw with Berol Prismacolor Premeir Pencils, which are highly pigmented and easy to blend. I start by building up the base color. Then I apply multiple layers of colors to achieve the desired tone. The next step is to use a lighter color close to the shade I’m working with and blend with that pencil. I develop the values first by layering and blending the colors to form the underdrawing. Afterward I layer more colors while working on the sharpness of the details in the object. I start in an area that has both lights and darks and establish the value range there. Then I move to another section, often on the other side of the drawing. I move around the drawing so that I can create the same intensity and value throughout the entire image. Each square inch will usually take three to four hours to finish. I work with a headband magnifier that magnifies the area 3½ times, and my nose is four inches from the drawing. DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

“I TRY TO DESCRIBE EVERY LITTLE DETAIL. I WANT TO SHOW THE SHAPE AND HOW NATURE MADE IT GROW THE WAY IT DID.”

Stick Series, No. 10, 2015, colored pencil, 21 x 15 1⁄4 . Private collection.

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Drawing for me is constant learning about process and technique. With every drawing I do things a little differently. This keeps me visually excited and challenges my technical abilities. My latest research involves combining the 16th-century technology of the hand, the 17th-century technology of traditional drawing and the 21st-century technology of the printer and computer.

DR: What advice can you offer to artists who are new to colored pencils? DM: I’d encourage them to experiment and play. Have fun with the medium. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. The thing is to be creative, have a good time and express whatever you have to say. The Prismacolor pencils I use are really soft and beautiful. They’re sensitive to pressure, and they really become an extension of your hand.

If you keep the point sharp you can be very expressive. Prismacolor also makes watercolor pencils, which I’ve used before. With those you can get the fluidity of watercolor with the richness of color layering and the solidity of the pencil mark.

DR: Is there any advice you find yourself constantly giving to students? DM: When I do critiques, I find I’m always using two words: density and tension. “Density” refers to all the research that goes into a project— researching other artists, testing papers and materials, making thumbnail sketches, et cetera. “Tension” means that little bit of uneasiness—something that makes you question the content and why the person is doing this. When there is a partnership between density and tension it’s like a marriage between craftsmanship and content.

ABOVE RIG HT

Mushroom Log 2016, colored pencil, 18 x 42. Garvey|Simon, New York, New York. RIG HT

Paper Wasp Series, No. 1 2016, colored pencil, 21 1⁄2 x 26. Garvey|Simon, New York, New York.

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DR: What are you working on now? DM: My current work is focusing on two series. My wife and I went on vacation and stayed at a cabin on a small Michigan lake. There were beautiful birch trees on the property, but the owner had had to cut down several that were falling into the lake, and they’d been chopped up for firewood. One night I was making a fire and went to pick up these logs, and I started to contemplate

how striking and complex they were. I thought this wood was too remarkable to simply burn, so I photographed it instead. My current series is called “Firewood,” and it’s about how beautiful a piece of firewood actually is. The drawings are fairly large, and there’s a lot of intricate detail. My photography skills are getting better, and I’m trying to get more detail in the photography to push the edge of how much I can actually capture.

I’m also working on a series of drawings of paper wasps’ nests. They construct nests with these beautiful cone shapes, using wood that they’ve digested. The different wood fibers create delicate, subtle rows of grays. They have this intricate weaving pattern, and I’m trying to show how incredible the weaving actually is. It’s very challenging to show that weaving, to get the shadows right and to have a three-dimensional look. It’s so incredible what nature has to offer. And to capture that on a flat sheet of paper is a challenge every time. Y

ABOUTTHEARTIST David Morrison studied printmaking at the University of South Dakota and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His work can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, both in Washington, DC; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Portland Art Museum, in Oregon. He teaches at the Herron School of Art and Design, in Indianapolis. He is represented by Garvey Simon Art Access, in New York City. For more information, visit garveysimonartaccess.com.

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HOW DIFFERENT MATERIALS AFFECT THE DRAWING PROCESS The materials you choose to work with—including your drawing media, surfaces and other tools—will have a profound effect on your artwork. BY DAN GHENO

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T

here is no substitute for skill and experience. A quill pen did not draw Study of a Male Nude—Michelangelo did. The identical pen and ink in the hands of a rookie would not produce a similar masterpiece. But it’s also true that if Michelangelo had used a ballpoint pen or a No. 2 pencil, the drawing would not possess the same depth of value or volume. The choice of materials is a vital part of how an artist approaches his or her work, and it’s critical to pick the right drawing instruments, surfaces and other tools to fit the needs of your artistic vision. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that you shouldn’t try to make a material do something it can’t. Just as you can’t force a cat to bark or a dog to meow, it’s impossible to force your materials to do something against their essential nature. For instance, graphite, sanguine chalk and colored pencil all yield less contrast than compressed charcoal or ink, so if you’re interested in deep, divergent contrasts, you want charcoal rather than graphite. However, when the goal is a more delicate form of rendering, charcoal can work, but I personally prefer graphite or colored pencil, which I find more readily suited to this goal. This article will chronicle the advantages and pitfalls of the materials I’ve personally grown to know over my decades as an artist. We’ll examine the pros and cons of media including graphite, colored pencil, charcoal and ink, along with surfaces and other tools. We’ll discuss when to use them, when to avoid them and what you can expect (or not expect) from each medium. A sample of my favorite materials. At top, from left to right: mechanical pencil; ballpoint pen; holders for large crayons and graphite sticks; various colored pencils and pencil holders; oil-based, charcoal, carbon and chalk pencils; and pointed eraser. Middle: vine charcoal. At bottom, from left to right: compressed charcoal, sharp single-edge razor blades; and two block erasers—one for colored media, another for dark media.

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Study of a Male Nude by Michelangelo, ca. 1503–1504, pen and brown ink, 16⅛x 11¼. Collection Casa Buonarroti, Florence, Italy.

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Study for Queen of Hearts by Ronald Sherr, ca. late 1980s, powdered graphite, 54 x 52. Private collection. B E LOW

Contrapposto Male Figure by Dan Gheno, 2016, graphite, 17 x 8. All artwork this article collection the artist unless otherwise indicated.

any sense of realistic value and atmosphere you have achieved elsewhere in the drawing. I don’t often use graphite anymore, but when I do it’s usually for precise rendering or for analyzing complex shapes or anatomical forms on the body that I find confusing. Indeed, when graphite was first developed as an artistic medium by the English in the mid-1500s, it was promoted as an easier, more practical and more fluid alternative to metalpoint for detailed, analytical drawing. Graphite doesn’t drag on the paper as metalpoint does, so with graphite artists can apply value masses in a more natural, fluid manner. But one thing missing from graphite is metalpoint’s varied depth of line, which can seem to pulsate in a three-dimensional manner.

GR APHITE If you discount the mural I drew with Crayola crayons at age 4 on the side of my older sister’s 1951 Chevrolet sedan, my first experiences in drawing were rendered with a yellow No. 2 pencil, a common first experience. Because of this early familiarity, graphite pencils remain the most comfortable and safe choice for many artists until they start taking art classes. Well-meaning teachers sometimes try to get their students to kick the graphite habit, forcing them to use charcoal instead. But I usually encourage novice students to work with what’s familiar to them at first. When trying to grasp such challenging issues as human proportions and value shapes, it doesn’t help to struggle with the technical problems of a new medium as well. Known mostly as a linear medium, graphite is more flexible than many artists and teachers give it credit for. You can actually get some very fluid and painterly effects with it, for instance by applying powdered graphite to the paper with a brush or chamois. Graphite also comes in sticks of various shapes, sizes and hardness, which allow for a variety of delicately blended masses or broad, assertively expressive strokes. The main drawback to graphite is its inability to achieve the intensity of darkness that you can get from compressed charcoal or paint. You can go only so dark with graphite before the material builds into a reflective sheen that actually looks lighter instead of darker. In fact, the more you try to rub and grind graphite into one area of the paper, the more you will burnish it into a dense, shiny mass, canceling out

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COLORED PENCIL For me, colored pencil seems to combine the strengths of graphite and metalpoint. Some brands of colored pencils impart a similar delicacy and depth of line as metalpoint, and although colored pencils aren’t quite as erasable as graphite, brands such as Stabilo Original and Caran d’Ache have much of graphite’s potential for revision and sensitive ease of application. Colored pencils are particularly suited to exacting linework. Many brands of colored pencil can be sharpened to pinpoint precision using a razorblade. I use a mid-value sanguine color for most of my colored pencil drawings, particularly when drawing on white paper. It allows for a delicate touch, but upon pressing harder I can get a darker, more assertive line. I will often use a darker sepia color when working on toned paper. Colored pencils share graphite’s limited range of value contrast, but I find this can work to my advantage, forcing me to take my time to analyze the model’s light and dark patterns as I render them. I usually prefer to build up my values gradually, shading across large shadow shapes with succeeding sweeps of tone, until I reach the desired darkness. Working in successive layers can allow one to better maintain the weave of the paper and help to impart a sense of atmosphere. Colored pencils can require a gentle touch. They are often fragile and prone to snapping in mid-stroke if you press too hard, leaving an unerasable skid mark on the paper. If you try to push your values too dark all at once, they will become dense and shiny. With certain colors the hue may even change with heavy pressure or when you let your pencil point get too short, allowing the wood casing to chafe your linework. DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

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Barbara Seated by Dan Gheno, 2002, colored pencil, 24 x 18.

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Reclined, Looking Over Shoulder by Dan Gheno, 2014, colored pencil, 18 x 24.

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CHALK AND CHARCOAL Whether you’re using them in pencil, stick or powder form, pure black chalk and charcoal provide the greatest value contrasts. I often like to work with them in a loose manner, starting with a broad value mass that relates to the big, gestural shadow shape found on the model. Some artists prefer powdered charcoal for this initial stage, but I frequently begin my sketches in a faint, linear manner with vine charcoal because it’s so easily erased or adjusted. I then follow up with a more permanent compressed charcoal pencil or stick, which usually works as a sealant, holding the more ephemeral, easily smudged vine against the paper. Charcoal pencils come in several grades of hardness, like graphite. Softer charcoal is often good for building up masses on large, expressive drawings, whereas harder compressed charcoal or carbon pencils, such as H and HB, are more suited to line work on a smaller scale. Hard charcoal pencils, which are easy to sharpen to long, sharp points, can be used to quickly render thick and thin lines by varying the position of your hand, and you can build toward your dark value masses with a rapid weaving of strokes.

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TIP:

When working in compressed charcoal or in graphite, keep to a limited range of pencil hardness to maintain evenness and texture harmony in your toning. Jumping between divergent grades—for instance from an HB to a much softer 6B—can result in a distracting cacophony of rough and smooth textures.

Broad, lineless tones are possible as well. Holding the pencil to the side, you can glide the long portion of the charcoal shaft across the page, gradually building up the tone into a broad value mass, much as you would when using a colored pencil. You might notice that vine charcoal tends to be a bit warmer than compressed charcoal. When using both, I often need to go back into my drawing at the end, sweeping over my value masses with one or the other to harmonize between cool and warm. For the same reasons, it’s not a good idea to mix white pencil or chalk with black charcoal (or graphite), unless you do so systematically throughout the drawing. Otherwise, the mixed-up results will look cloudy or just plain chaotic, especially on toned paper. ABOVE

Gravity’s Pull by Dan Gheno, 2015, carbon and charcoal pencil with white chalk on toned paper, 15 x 23. LE F T

Female Figure in Shadow by Dan Gheno, 2003, charcoal, 24 x 18. OPPOSITE PAG E , ABOVE

Gesture Sketch by Dan Gheno, 2016, sanguine chalk, 17 x 12. O PP OSITE PAG E , B E LOW

Twisting by Dan Gheno, 1995, sanguine chalk, 11 x 24.

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CR AYON Perhaps it was the sense of shame I felt for drawing on my sister’s car—and the adverse conditioning that came from the hours of elbow grease I spent rubbing out my scribbles—but it was a long time before I renewed my interest in grease- or oil-based drawing instruments. When I did, using a variety of brands from Cretacolor to Faber-Castell’s Pitt, I found the medium offers a handy compromise between the darkness achievable with softer chalks and pastels and the smoothness of colored pencil and graphite. When drawing with crayon I generally use a sanguine color. I’d recommend not combining different brands of crayon in one drawing. Hues differ greatly between manufacturers, even if they have the same name.

ABOVE

Scanning the Distance by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon, 10½ x 10. LE F T

Male Figure About to Turn Around by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon, 17 x 11. Some subjects demand the subtlety of graphite or colored pencil, whereas others require the more dramatic value contrasts that charcoal, chalk and oil-based sanguine provide. Oil-based media is not easy to erase, so sketch lightly at first until you’re sure of your proportions.

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Woman Seated, Looking Away by Dan Gheno, ca. 1974–1975, ink, 11 x 16.

INK AND BALLPOINT Over the years I’ve worked with a variety of inking tools, including brushes, dip pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens and Rapidograph pens. During the 1970s, when I did drawings such as Woman Seated, Looking Away, my favorite way to work was by using a fountain pen to render the lines and a felt brush marker to wash in the big value masses. I normally dipped my “fountain” pen into a bottle of ink so that I could use a dark, heavy ink that would otherwise clog up the pen. I used an italic point held sideways, which offered a delicate fine line and provided thick-thin variation. I also used a grinding stone to sharpen and reshape my pen points to get extra fine lines. Water-based felt brushes, such as the one I used to lay in masses in this drawing, wear out quickly. Instead of throwing them away I open their tops and fill them with watered-down ink to rejuvenate their

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wells. I often prefer the more watery effect of these recharged brushes to the results I get with a new one. Although I still work in this technique on occasion, today when I work in ink I usually use ballpoint pens, most often for eye-hand coordination exercises. Because ink is irrevocable, it’s a great training tool, reinforcing the habit of thinking before you put down a line. I was first attracted to ballpoint pens for their ability to replicate fine, etch-like lines. Over the years, however, manufacturing standards have diminished, and today many brands of ballpoint spurt out unexpected blobs of ink—usually at the worst possible moment. I recommend you experiment to find the best and most consistent brands. (I’m a fan of the Pilot EasyTouch .7mm fine pen and its refill catridges, which can even be used on their own.) In all cases, you’ll need to get in the habit of regularly cleaning off the paper detritus that builds up around the pen point, which can produce splotching after only a few minutes of work. I find it helpful to locate the beginning and end points of the objects I’m drawing in ink. For instance, when drawing a hand on the hip, I might place dots at the shoulder, elbow and hip and then draw in between these points. If you don’t put placeholder points for all the major beginning and end points or at least try to imagine them in your mind, it’s easy to underestimate any foreshortening and draw a line too long. And with ink, of course, there’s no erasing your mistakes. ABOVE LE F T

Gesture Drawing by Dan Gheno, 2014, ballpoint pen, 8 x 10. I drew this quick gesture sketch in unforgiving ballpoint pen as an eye-hand coordination exercise. LE F T

Artist by Dan Gheno, 2016, ballpoint pen, 7½ x 7½. Ink is irrevocable, so it’s helpful to map out important proportional relationships with a few faint dots as you work, giving you something to aim for.

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MIXING MEDIA There’s no need to confine yourself to one medium. Don’t be afraid of mixing unrelated media, combining different colored pencils or exploring unorthodox approaches. For example, I sometimes like to combine graphite and colored pencil with ink, starting loosely with pencil and finishing with ink. As you experiment with combining media you’ll learn to work within some important limitations. For instance you may find it difficult to apply a chalkier medium on top of a slicker medium such as graphite or colored pencil. You’ll also discover you can’t splash heavy washes on thin paper. In fact for many mixed media approaches you may want to consider tougher surfaces such as canvas, sanded paper or pastel cloth. These provide wonderful traction, grabbing onto both dry and wet media and allowing combinations such as charcoal and paint, as we see in Robin Smith’s Marmadu, that wouldn’t be possible on most papers. ABOVE

Head of a Man by Federico Barocci, ca. 1535–1612, black, white and red chalk on blue paper. Collection National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden. RIG HT

Marmadu by Robin Smith, 2015, oil, charcoal and white chalk on canvas, 14 x 14. Private collection. Tough surfaces such as stretched canvas allow you to combine materials that wouldn’t be possible on paper. Note that although you can use spray varnish to seal the image, some white charcoal and pastel pigments tend to dissolve when sprayed, so it may be better to frame such efforts under glass instead.

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Figure Sleeping by Dan Gheno, 2016, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 18 x 24.

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Looking to the Side by Dan Gheno, 2016, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 24 x 18.

PAPER Some artists delight in rummaging through stacks of unusual and expensive papers, but I’m not a paper connoisseur, and I prefer the smooth bond-paper surface that I’ve drawn on since I was a child. Bond paper is not hard to find in letter size, although it takes a little detective work to find my preferred size of 18" x 24". Different manufacturers sell large-format bond papers that are acid free and archival, but they vary greatly in tooth and paper weight—try out different brands until you find one that feels right for you. Among the ones I use are Borden and Riley No. 39, a 16-lb layout bond paper that comes close to the smooth, bright-white surface of photocopy paper; and 50-lb Canson Sketch paper, which has a slightly warmer and darker surface. It’s also a little rougher, which I sometimes prefer for the way it grabs my pencil, producing darker lines and value masses. Slick bond surfaces are not always conducive to vine charcoal or pastel-based media. Believe it or not newsprint is perfect for these. It grabs onto the materials, giving a smooth, gliding effect to one’s value massing and linework. Unfortunately newsprint is also highly acidic, making it yellow and decay rather rapidly. I know many artists who love this ephemeral surface but are forever in pursuit of an archival substitute. The best replacement I’ve found is Arches Text Wove, which shares most of the same properties. I also find that absorbent printmaking papers such as Rives BFK take charcoal and pastel in a similar manner. Take care to work gently on printmaking papers, which don’t have much sizing. Their fibers are delicate and start to pill when erasing or applying material with a heavy hand.

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Many good options are available for artists who want to work on toned paper. When I’m working on a toned ground I gravitate toward smoother surfaces, such as Strathmore’s 400 Series Toned and Artagain, as well as Canson Mi-Teintes, preferring the silky, blotter backside of this paper over its more textural front. They allow for delicate, blended rendering, as well as distinctive linework. I’m also fond of the lightly textured surface of Strathmore’s 500 Series Charcoal Assorted Tints paper. You can create a clean, shimmering effect on this paper if you’re careful not to press too hard and fill in its textural valleys. I like to stroke my dark and white pencils gently along the top surface of the paper texture, allowing the resulting tones to vibrate against the color of the paper. ABOVE LE F T

Arm Foreshortened by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon and white charcoal on toned paper, 14 x 10. ABOVE RIG HT

Embrace by Dan Gheno, 2015, charcoal and carbon pencil with white charcoal on toned paper, 22 x 16. LE F T

Forthright by Dan Gheno, 2008, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 12 x 16.

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ER ASERS AND OTHER TOOL S Some teachers ban erasers in an effort to get students to look closely and commit before making a mark. Certainly an eraser is no substitute for failing to look closely at the model and thinking before you put down a line, but I firmly believe erasers are an important tool when not overused. I subscribe to the view of America’s greatest draftsman, Thomas Eakins, that drawing is a process of revision, that you put down something and then adjust this estimate toward greater accuracy as you work. Just remember to look closely at the model and draw lightly so that you can more easily erase later on. Erasers are not all created equal, and I’ve found that the best type of eraser can vary depending on the media and paper you’re using. Kneaded erasers are usually effective for adjusting small vine charcoal shapes. Plastic erasers such as those made by Tombow and Staedtler are more efficient at lightening or removing colored pencil, compressed charcoal and carbon pencil from smooth paper. There are also long, pointed plastic erasers that look like mechanical pencils—such as those made by Tuff Stuff and Tombow— which I’ve found indispensable for cleaning up small details and sharpening the edge of a shape. Even though you can roll a kneaded eraser into a sharp point, it won’t give you as clean a shape. Rather these soft erasers create a more blurry edge—which can be useful when you want such an effect. Unfortunately, erasers harden and become worthless as they get older; they can even smear or rub a line deeper into the paper. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to reserve separate erasers for black media and for colored pigments, and you should clean erasers frequently to prevent smudgemaking pigment from accumulating on them and leaving stains where you want clean paper. When you keep your erasers new and clean, you will find that they are

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excellent drawing tools, not only for removing unwanted marks but for making wanted ones, as well. I often lay a broad tone of chalk or charcoal across my figure drawing and then draw light hatch lines into the mass with a pointed eraser to create a modeled effect, much as you might use a white pencil on toned paper. I will sometimes blend a tonal mass with the flat side of a block eraser. On occasion I will press down with a kneaded eraser to lessen the assertiveness of a line. Sometimes I’ll thin out a line by chiseling at its edge with a pointed plastic eraser, making some of the marks more delicate and fainter than other lines for rhythmic purposes. I often do this to imitate the effects of form and light, particularly where the boundary line of a volume faces the light source, or to indicate a softer fleshy form compared to a more distinct line of a projecting bone. There are many other tools to consider. Razor blades and sandpaper are useful for sharpening pencils. Many artists like to use chamois and stumps to blend charcoal, pastel and graphite for even tones. I prefer to use my fingers for blending small, delicate masses, and I’ll use a facial tissue (sans ointment) to get a broader, even value mass. When using your fingers, it’s important to keep them clean and dry—I usually wipe my finger on a paper towel before each use—otherwise the oils of your skin will interfere with the drawing.

TIP:

I find it makes a difference what order you employ various erasers when using more than one type in a single drawing. If I try to erase a deeply inscribed line with a kneaded eraser first, the line becomes even more resistant to subsequent attempts by a plastic eraser. I avoid using the smaller pointed plastic erasers on large areas, since they can embed the pigment into the paper; I’ve found the larger plastic erasers better suited to such tasks.

ABOVE

Intersecting Limbs by Dan Gheno, 2010, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 24 x 18. LE F T

Inward by Dan Gheno, 2010, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 24 x 18. O PP OSIT E PAG E

Fast Sketch by Dan Gheno, 2016, sanguine chalk, 17 x 12.

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Curled Figure Left

Curled Figure Right

by Dan Gheno, 2015, oilbased crayon, 16 x 11½.

by Dan Gheno, 2015, charcoal, 12 x 16.

YOU MIGHT FIND IT USEFUL TO CHANGE MEDIA ONCE IN A WHILE. IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE TO FALL INTO COMPLACENCY WHEN USING THE SAME MATERIALS FOR TOO LONG, AND SWITCHING THINGS UP CAN HELP MAINTAIN YOUR SENSE OF ENTHUSIASM. IT CAN ALSO HELP BREAK BAD HABITS THAT MIGHT BE CREEPING INTO YOUR WORK. Curled Figure Side by Dan Gheno, 2016, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, 12 x 15.

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CHANGING THINGS UP It’s natural to have a favorite material, but try not to become too dependent on any one product or brand. It never fails: After you get used to one type of pencil or paper, it gets discontinued! It’s happened to me many times, for instance with my favorite charcoal pencils and sanguine chalk. Speaking from my experience, I would advise you to experiment with various brands of your favorite drawing medium so that you’re not left in the lurch when a material changes or becomes unavailable. I also advise holding on to pencil nibs—if you’re caught off-guard by a surprise cancellation, you can put them in a pencil extender and get quite a bit more mileage out of them. Even if they don’t stop making your favorite drawing utensil, you might find it useful to change media once in a while. It’s quite possible to fall into complacency when using the same materials for too long, and switching things up can help maintain your sense of enthusiasm. It can also help break bad habits that might be creeping

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into your work—many artists develop muscle memory based upon the traction and resistance that the same pencil has against the same paper. After continually using the same materials, you may find that your hand wants to go at the same speed and angle regardless of the subject matter. These habits can get in the way of seeing your subject’s specific shapes and size relationships and can even interfere with the drawing process, for instance by demanding a heavy line when your goals demand delicacy, or vice versa. Sometimes the change of material can be something as minimal as a change of color to jumpstart your visual perceptions. If you find that your line weight is too heavy for your goals, you might switch to a lighter color, say from a heavy black charcoal pencil to light sanguine pencil. You could also try the opposite tack by using an even darker material to train your hand to back off and use a lighter touch.

here’s no doubt that one’s choice of materials will impact the superficial look of a drawing, and the materials mentioned here are just some of those I’ve found helpful to my particular vision. But in the end it’s the artist who makes the drawing, not the materials. Consider Hendrick Goltzius’ multiple versions of the Farnese Hercules. Whatever material he was using, Goltzius’ intense interest in sculptural volume makes the artworks compelling, giving the images power and lasting artistic importance. Y

FROM LE F T

Hercules Farnese, Back View by Hendrick Goltzius, ca. 1592, engraving, 16½ x 117⁄8 .

Hercules Farnese, Back View by Hendrick Goltzius, 1591, black chalk on blue paper, heightened with white, 14⅛x 8¼. Collection Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands.

Hercules Farnese, Back View by Hendrick Goltzius, 1591, red chalk, indented for transfer, 15⅜x 8½. Collection Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands.

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Printmaking

A passion for printmaking unites these four accomplished artists, who each work with a different process. BY AUSTIN R. WILLIAMS

TODAY

Printmaking is drawing’s first cousin. In both disciplines artists work directly with their hands to create lines and tones, ultimately resulting in a finished work on paper. But printmaking involves an additional array of tools and techniques that have fascinated artists for centuries. Every printmaking process offers its own sort of beauty while also imposing certain constraints on the artist. Here we explore the work of four printmakers, who share their thoughts on their chosen printmaking processes.

ELLEN HECK: DRYPOINT-WOODCUT

A certain amount of unpredictability is endemic to many printmaking processes, and for Ellen Heck this is part of the appeal. “There’s a lot of chance that happens between putting an image on a matrix, inking it and pulling it off the press,” she says. “These things are not entirely predictable, in a great way. Seeing the finished print is always a surprise. It’s exciting. I like that feeling. The first time I took a printmaking class, I felt it was something I could do for a long time.” In recent years Heck’s work has focused on portraits that play with symbolism and metaphor. Her series “Forty Fridas” dresses up women and girls as Frida Kahlo, each portrait evoking different aspects of the painter’s physical appearance and artistic output. The series “Lonely Hearts” is described by the artist as “metaphorical portraits” Abigail as Frida by Ellen Heck, 2012, woodcut and drypoint, 8 x 6. From the series “Forty Fridas.”

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that use the symbol of the heart to explore ideas of love and emotion. A somewhat similar approach is taken in the recent series “Fascinators,” in which Heck adorns her young subjects with headpieces shaped like Möbius strips. Heck’s work combines two traditional printmaking processes: drypoint, an intaglio process, and woodcut, a relief process. In intaglio processes—such as engraving, etching and drypoint—marks are carved into a metal plate using one of several methods. Those indentations are filled with ink, and when the plate is pressed to paper, the ink is transferred to the paper. In relief processes, such as woodcut and linocut, the opposite occurs. In these methods the artist carves away the negative parts of the image and ink is applied to the remaining, raised portions of the plate, which is then pressed to paper. Heck was inspired to combine intaglio and relief processes by Mary Cassatt (1844– 1926), who in the late 1800s produced color etchings inspired by Japanese woodcuts that had recently been exhibited in Paris. “I’ve always loved those images, and I wanted to learn from Cassatt’s process,” Heck says. “She used aquatint to achieve much of the Japanese woodcut feel and combined it with drypoint. I decided to use woodcut itself in combination with drypoint. ABOVE

Laura Wearing a Möbius Strip as a Hat by Ellen Heck, 2016, woodcut, drypoint and hand painting, 9 x 6 1⁄2 . From the series “Fascinators.”

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Allegiance by Ellen Heck, 2014, woodcut and drypoint, 14 x 14. From the series “Lonely Hearts.”

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Girl With Heart Wings by Ellen Heck, 2014, woodcut and drypoint, 14 x 9. From the series “Lonely Hearts.”

OPP OSITE PAGE

Julia Wearing a Möbius Strip as a Hat by Ellen Heck, 2016, woodcut, drypoint and hand painting, 9 x 6 1⁄2 . From the series “Fascinators.”

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“Once I figured out how to register properly—how to get multiple plates lined up—I found that this combined process has a lot to offer,” Heck continues. “It can produce clarity and texture at the same time. Sometimes when you’re using ink on a copper plate the chemicals can react and get muddy, but with a woodcut that doesn’t happen. You can maintain clear translucent yellows and oranges with the relief process and then use the intaglio to selectively place line and tone.” For the print Abigail as Frida (page 54), Heck began by using drypoint—scratching marks directly into a copper plate with a sharp needle—to create the lines of her subject’s face, hair and neck, plus lines to indicate the boundaries of the shoulders and scarf. “I print that drypoint image one time to make sure it’s headed in the right direction,” she says. “It’s hard to know how it will look until you print it.” While the ink from that first printing is still wet, she presses it against two uncut pieces of wood, transferring the image to the wood surfaces. She then carves these two blocks for printing different colored portions of the image. In Abigail as Frida she used one block to print the flowers and scarf, carving away the rest of the image. She used the other block for the background, carving away the shape of the girl. The first part of Abigail to be printed was the woodblock background of translucent yellow, with hand-painted addi-

TALKING DRYPOINT WITH ELLEN HECK Drawing: What’s something an artist interested in drypoint should know before attempting it? EH: Just do it! Printmaking is so rewarding. There’s that element of chance you don’t have with pencil on paper. And anyone who loves to draw will especially love drypoint, because it’s basically drawing—drawing with chance as your collaborator. DR: What are some of drypoint’s biggest strengths? And what challenges does it present? EH: With drypoint you can get a wide range of marks, which I really like. As for challenges, I guess the hardest part is scale. Prints tend to be small for reasons of economy—the plates are expensive, and presses are also limited in size. But this doesn’t have to be a limitation. DR: What resources would you recommend for artists looking to explore this method? EH: I know several good books, but the one that changed my life is Barbara Stern Shapiro’s Mary Cassatt: The Color Prints. It shows Cassatt’s etchings with all their proofs in different stages so that you can really see her process—it’s basically a how-to. I’d also recommend workshops at local art centers.

tions of orange where the flowers would be. Several days later, after that was dry, the next woodcut added the pink flowers and gray scarf. Heck then cut that woodblock again to create a reduction cut, adding a third and final relief layer of purple flowers and white scarf stripes. When everything was dry once again, the artist inked her copper plate and printed the drypoint on top of the woodcut layers, adding the lines of the model’s head, hair and body, completing the image. Heck completes each of these steps a dozen times, spending one day on each phase of printing. After some attrition, this generally results in editions of nine finished prints: explorations of identity produced using a combination of traditional processes.

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ANDRE W R AF TERY: ENGR AVING “I’ve always been very attracted to the idea of graphic language—how contour and line work together to create an image and how an image can be broken down into various strokes and crosshatches,” says Andrew Raftery, an artist and instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in Providence. Given these interests it’s not surprising that Raftery has spent his career working in the highly linear technique of engraving, in which an artist carves lines into a metal plate using a steel tool called a burin. Raftery works in series, often crafting narratives that explore rituals of everyday life. His latest series, which was eight years in the making, is his most ambitious to date. Titled “The Autobiography of a Garden,” it comprises 12 engravings printed on earthenware plates using a process of Raftery’s own devising. The sequence follows Raftery over the course of a year as he tends to an ornamental flower garden at his mother’s home in Providence. “The garden is very elaborate, and I think somewhat performative,” he says. “In my neighborhood I’m much more ABOVE

February: Planting Seeds by Andrew Raftery, 2016, vinyl paint on panel, 16” diameter. All artwork by Andrew Raftery courtesy the artist and RYAN LEE, New York. © Andrew Raftery. LE F T

June Seedling Study by Andrew Raftery, 2016, pen-and-ink-wash over graphite, 11¾ x 17½.

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known as the guy in the hat who works on the garden than as an artist.” He describes the project as a book of hours. “I’m very interested in narrative, and I thought that this full unit of the year would imply that this process happens again and again.” Like several of Raftery’s previous series, “The Autobiography of a Garden” has a comic side. “I think the humor comes out of the very seriousness with which I pursue these goals, which is kind of paralleled by the sort of extreme thoroughness of how I make the work,” Raftery says. “I hope that people do find it somewhat funny that I make this elaborate flower garden with such ardor during the entire year.” In preparation for making the prints, Raftery spent years studying his gardening activities, drawing sketches, and even creating wax sculptures of himself

that he used for experimenting with poses and points of view. He eventually condensed his many studies into 12 circular grisaille paintings that would form the basis of the engravings. Raftery traced each grisaille painting onto a sheet of clear acetate, which he then digitally shrank to the size of the copper engraving plate. “Once I had the outlines on the copper I just scratched them in using drypoint,” he says. “Then I started engraving and building up the images through this language of marks.” If you’re wondering how an engraving is printed onto a ceramic plate, it’s not exactly simple. “This was an industrial technique developed in Europe in the 18th century and very popular through the 19th and early 20th centuries,” Raftery says. “But that industry is completely gone, many of the patented methods are lost, and the proprietary materials

September: Mowing by Andrew Raftery, 2016, engraving transfer-printed on glazed white earthenware plate, 12½" diameter.

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good,” he says. “It just didn’t have the flow between the image and the edge. I realized that I had to respond to the fact that this is a three-dimensional object with its own requirements, so I had to change my engraving technique.” This involved making his marks farther apart and changing the direction of his hatching. “Instead of following the perspectival marks, I put the hatching down in directions that contradict the perspectival marks, almost creating this kind of a wash,” he says. All told, the project resulted in 80 sets of 12 plates, which went on exhibition at RYAN LEE, in New York City, almost as soon as they were finished. It’s a great achievement, but Raftery admits that finishing it was a relief. “When I finished this work I was just so happy,” he says. “It felt like I’d been in this very elaborate, dark building for eight years, and finally I found a door and I walked out.”

TALKING TALKING are no longer made. So, with my colleagues at RISD, we had to figure it out.” For the pottery itself, Raftery worked closely with Larry Bush, a ceramics instructor at RISD, who developed a method for producing the unique shapes that Raftery had designed for each plate. He also conducted scores of clay tests to find just the right creamy, earthenware tone. The process they developed for printing onto the ceramic plates combined centuries-old techniques with contemporary materials. Raftery and his collaborators looked through old patents for inks that could survive being fired in a kiln, ultimately using a 19th-century English formula that includes linseed oil, red lead and tar. As for transferring the engraving, Raftery made use of a new product intended for decal printing. “It’s this amazing material made in Germany,” Raftery says. “It’s a sheet coated with selenium flux—basically paper coated in plastic. It seems like the most unlikely surface to take an engraving, but it takes the most beautiful impression. Every molecule of ink is taken off the plate onto the decal paper.” Raftery printed his engravings onto the decal paper, applied that to the glazed earthenware, and fired it in a kiln, resulting in a permanent image. Raftery hit a snag, however, after managing to print on a plate for the first time. “It didn’t look very

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TALKING ENGR AVING WITH ANDRE W R AF TERY Drawing: What’s something an artist interested in engraving should know before attempting it? AR: Engraving is not a complicated thing to learn, it just takes a lot of practice. Once you’ve figured out how to sharpen the tools and start making lines, it’s just practice that’s needed to make the print you want. DR: What are some of engraving’s strengths? AR: One advantage of engraving is that it allows for incredible control over the depth and width of the line—I think an artist who’s really attracted to that kind of control might want to try engraving. Another is that it doesn’t require acid, so in some ways it’s a nontoxic method. And I also love engraving’s simplicity: so few tools, just the artist’s hands and eyes working with the burin and the plate to make the image. DR: What is the biggest challenge that engraving poses? AR: The hardest thing is to sharpen well. You cannot engrave well, or safely, without a perfectly sharp tool. It’s so easy to push tools beyond their optimum sharpness, and that’s when I make a mistake. DR: Do you think engraving is particularly well-suited to any subjects or styles of drawing? AR: The thing that excites me about the history of engraving is how many solutions artists have found within a medium that seems to have such strong constraints. I teach an engraving course at RISD, and I’m always surprised by the range of work the students do and how they’re able to find such individuality within the technique.

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OPPOSITE PAG E , ABOVE

May: Cultivating Lettuce by Andrew Raftery, 2016, engraving transfer-printed on glazed white earthenware plate, 12½" diameter. O PP OSITE PAG E , B E LOW

May Lettuce Bed and Entry by Andrew Raftery, 2016, pen-and-ink-wash over graphite, 16 x 13 1⁄2 . B E LOW

Open House: Scene Five (Master Bedroom) by Andrew Raftery, 2008, engraving, 22 x 30.

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HIROKI MORINOUE: WOODCUT Hawaii artist Hiroki Morinoue began his career as a painter but changed his focus to printmaking after a formative residency in Japan, in 1976, during which he was introduced to mokuhanga, a traditional Japanese style of woodcut printing. “That’s when I did my first woodblock print,” he says. “In 1980 I went back to Japan and for three years studied the Japanese woodblock printing techniques. Since then I’ve been printing with both Western and Eastern techniques.” Morinoue’s vibrantly colored woodcut prints combine representational subjects with patterns inspired by nature and geometrical forms. Like his chosen technique, his subject matter is inspired in great part by Japanese art. “In Japan there is a style of painting called Nihonga, made with a painting medium unique to Japan,” Morinoue says. “The images glorify nature and the landscape. In Japan I saw some large Nihon-ga paintings, and that was a big influence. When I returned to Hawaii I started to look at nature and take elements that would work for me and my images.” Many of Morinoue’s prints comprise several distinct frames. “I’d been a single-image maker for a long time,” he says. “But I began to want to create a more narrative image, and whenever you put two images together, you create a narrative.” This effect can be seen in “36 Views of Water,” an ongoing series of diptychs, begun in 2012, that explore the many forms of water and mankind’s relation to it (see page 64).

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Lotus by Hiroki Morinoue, 2010, color woodcut, 24 x 45. LE F T

Transition 4 Rabbit (Usagi) by Hiroki Morinoue, 2011, color woodcut, 13½ x 9.

As its title indicates, the series is inspired in part by Japanese ukiyo-e prints, especially Hokusai’s (1760–1849) series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.” Morinoue says that he chose water as a subject because, “I think it’s the most important commodity. It’s the spinal cord of the earth. And all my research has been on environmental changes and concerns.” The two halves of these images have their own functions and personalities. “One is a generic plate that represents water, movement and calmness,” Morinoue says. “I call that side the ‘host.’ The other side shows a specific form that relates to water: a bottle, a cup, a funnel or a gasoline drum. This side I call the ‘guest.’” The artist’s other series include “Garden Space,” which juxtaposes details from imagined gardens. “They’re all about object/space relationships,” Morinoue says. The artist has also produced a humorous series inspired by the Chinese Zodiac, with animals confronting modern technology. “It was actually an American interpretation of these animals—very graphic and bold,” Morinoue says. The images appear somewhat pixelated, a look inspired by modern technology. Morinoue’s process begins with graphite thumbnail sketches. “They’re actually not bigger than my thumbs, but they’re the most important thing,” he says. “Next I either blow up the sketch or draw one at the size of my woodblock. I then transfer the drawing with carving paper—just transferring linear details to the block.”

Garden Space II by Hiroki Morinoue, 2016, color woodcut, 13 x 36.

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Morinoue uses a number of woods, including birch, Shina, basswood and Philippine mahogany. “You always hope that the wood grain will print dramatically,” he says. “Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.” Morinoue carves out the negative space using a variety of tools—most often a U-shaped gouge for larger areas and a knife for linear details. Once the carving is complete, Morinoue applies water-based ink, another material that is traditional to Eastern art. “The use of watermedia is the biggest difference between the Japanese and Western techniques,” he says. “It’s ten times more difficult with the water-based ink, as you have to carefully adjust the amount of water you use. The drier you print, the sharper the detail. And if you’re printing with multiple colors, the paper has to be kept damp throughout

View of Water No. 16—Deleaf by Hiroki Morinoue, 2012, color woodcut, 121⁄2 x 18.

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Our Daily Use: 36 Views of Water by Hiroki Morinoue. Installation view, overall 69 x 200.

the whole process. With the Western technique you can put the ink on the block, have a cup of coffee, then press. But in the Japanese technique it’s all a matter of seconds.” A typical print by Morinoue includes 12 to 15 colors, each of which is separately applied to the woodblock and pressed to the paper. In traditional Japanese fashion, Morinoue prints not with a press but by hand, rubbing the back of the paper against the woodblock. Today Morinoue is busy both with his artwork and with his activities as the artistic director of Donkey Mill Art Center, in Holualoa, Hawaii. Next fall at the art center, Morinoue and his wife will host the International Mokuhanga Conference 2017 Hawaii, the first event of its kind outside of Japan, held in collaboration with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Honolulu Printmakers.

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TALKING WOODCUT WITH HIROKI MORINOUE Drawing: What’s something an artist interested in woodcut should know before attempting it? HM: Remember that printmaking is a process. You first have to come up with the image, either mentally or in a sketch. But a lot of times getting from the sketch to the print is an experience, because the woodgrain and how it accepts the ink will determine how the image comes out. If you’re not used to surprises, you’ll have a few of them. Hopefully they’re good ones! DR: What are some of woodcut’s biggest strengths? And what challenges does it present? HM: One edge for a printmaker, I think, is the clarity and sharpness of the finished image. The biggest challenge is to make the drawing look natural when you transfer it from your sketch to the carved image. DR: What resources would you recommend for artists looking to explore woodcut? HM: Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop, a new book by April Vollmer. It covers the influence of Japanese woodblock prints in the Western world, and it has lots of basic information.

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FREDERICK MERSHIMER: ME Z ZOTINT The prints of Frederick Mershimer give us dramatic, noirtinged scenes of New York City at night. In mezzotint, the artist found a process perfectly suited to this subject. Mezzotint is an intaglio technique that involves subtractive drawing, with the image emerging out of a dark ground. The process begins with an artist using a tool known as a rocker to texture the surface of a smooth metal plate—a labor-intensive process. “People think mezzotint is hard, but it isn’t hard—it’s just time consuming,” Mershimer says. “Once you have a rocked plate, if you can draw you can make a mezzotint.” Rocking roughens the surface of the copper, making it similar to the surface of a file, only many times finer. When this rocked plate is inked and pressed to paper, it prints as an entirely black field. The artist creates the image by smoothing the plate using a burnisher and a scraper. “The burnisher is the primary tool,” Mershimer says. “It has a smooth, polished tip, and when you press on it, it pushes those little pieces of copper back down, essentially undoing what you’ve done with the rocker.” He describes the process as similar to drawing with a pencil, except that instead of producing dark lines and tones, the instrument produces light lines and tones,

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Mershimer produces an image by using a burnisher to smooth areas of a copper plate that he had previously textured using a rocker.

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which stand out from their dark surroundings. “With mezzotint, after you’ve prepped the plate it’s just like drawing with a pencil,” he says. “Only the harder you push, the lighter your line is.” Mershimer argues that of the various intaglio printmaking methods, mezzotint is one of the closest kin to drawing. “A lot of printmaking processes depend on timing, acid and other factors.” Mezzotint has never been one of the most widely used printmaking processes among fine artists. “It’s kind of a lost art,” Mershimer says. “It was invented in the 1600s and used mostly as a reproductive process—it wasn’t really a fine art medium. It was the first way of making tonal prints; before that engraved prints used crosshatching to create tone. It was like the high-definition television of its time. It was used in book publishing until photogravure was invented, but then it died out.”

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Mershimer first encountered the medium in the early 1980s, when he was working as a framer. He became intrigued by the prints he was framing and soon began taking night classes in printmaking. “My second print was a mezzotint, and I just

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42nd Street by Frederick Mershimer, 1997, mezzotint, 15½ x 25. O PP OSITE PAG E , B E LOW

Above the Rush by Frederick Mershimer, 2003, mezzotint, 12 x 17¾.

A rocker, burnisher and scraper.

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Works of Man (New York Stock Exchange) by Frederick Mershimer, 2016, mezzotint, 10 1⁄8 x 15¼.

loved the technique,” he says. It’s now been his primary medium for more than 30 years, and he is working on an instructional book about the process. The artist’s earliest work was figurative, but once he started making prints he switched his focus to cityscape and architecture. “I was always drawn to buildings—I considered architecture as a career when I was in high school,” he says. “The power of architecture just spoke to me.” As he walks around New York City, a part of the artist is always looking out for subjects. “A scene has to say something to me,” he says. “It has to have an emotional core. Sometimes it’s seeing a neighborhood that’s in flux—for example Times Square. In the 1970s it was really rough. Now it’s Disneyfied; it’s like Las Vegas.” Mershimer’s print 42nd Street (page 67) illustrates the early phases of this transition, showing an adult theater on one side of the street, across from another theater whose marquee proclaims “Bring the Family.” The artist works mainly from photography. “In the beginning I was a purist and I felt like I had to draw everything, but because I do night scenes that’s not always

Three Bridges by Frederick Mershimer, 2008, mezzotint, 11 1⁄2 x 18.

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TALKING ME Z ZOTINT WITH FREDERICK MERSHIMER Drawing: What are some of mezzotint’s biggest strengths? And what challenges does it present? FM: The single biggest challenge is grounding the plate. A lot of people will quit a quarter of the way into the rocking portion. But the reward is that you can make prints without toxic chemicals. And it’s very direct: you can see the image happening on the plate. It’s not really complicated, just time-consuming. DR: Do you think mezzotint is particularly wellsuited to any subjects or styles of drawing? FM: You have to want to work in a chiaroscuro manner. Mezzotint its best for images with a lot of black, some gray, and white highlights. If you’re drawing a light and airy scene, you don’t want mezzotint. DR: What resources would you recommend for artists looking to explore mezzotint? FM: There’s a book by my friend Carol Wax called The Mezzotint: History and Technique. And I’m working on a how-to book myself.

practical,” he says. “It might be freezing cold. Or for one scene of a bridge, there were rats everywhere—I was stomping my feet to get rid of them. I wasn’t going to sit down and start drawing.” Once Mershimer has chosen his subject and is satisfied with his reference image, the editing begins. “I’ll take things out, change perspective and move details around,” he says. “I definitely take a lot of artistic license. I once took the Empire State Building out of a scene. People say my work is photographic, but look at it! There are hardly any street signs. Everything that’s in there has been included for a reason.” One of Mershimer’s most recent prints is Works of Man, which shows the sculptural group at the top of the New York Stock Exchange. In real life the building is nestled between skyscrapers, and Mershimer couldn’t find a view that he was happy with. “After sketching and tinkering for two weeks, I finally decided to just take the other buildings out and put clouds behind it, making it a more Icarus-y, reaching-for-the-heavens idea. While I was working on it I kept thinking, ‘Um, there should be a building behind there.’ But I think it was the right decision.” Y

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ABOUT THE ARTISTS To learn more about these artists, visit the following websites: Ellen Heck: ellenheck.com Frederick Mershimer: frederickmershimer.com Hiroki Morinoue: studio7hawaii.com Andrew Raftery: ryanleegallery.com

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Intaglio We learn the basics of five intaglio printmaking processes. BY RICHARD PANTELL

Studio Corner by Richard Pantell, 2006, etching, 8 x 6.

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ften, when viewing an exhibition of prints, we’ll look at the labels and encounter the names of printing media that we don’t fully understand. What’s the difference between a drypoint and an aquatint? Between a monotype and a monoprint? Between a lithograph and a linocut? To begin, there are four traditional printmaking categories: relief (which includes such processes as woodcut and linocut), planography (lithography), serigraphy (silkscreen) and, finally, intaglio. Here, we explore the last of these categories, which includes five principal processes. Intaglio—a word originating in Italy, with a silent “g”—refers to prints made from plates in which the areas that carry the ink are recessed below the surface of the plate. The plates are most often made of copper, but zinc, brass and other materials are also used. The method for creating the recessed areas differs with the technique, and in a moment we’ll learn how each one works. But once the plate itself is complete, all five processes share the following steps to produce the finished print. First, the artist applies ink to the entire surface of the finished plate, often using a roller. The ink is then squeegeed across the plate, forcing the ink into every recessed line and area. The plate is then wiped with a rag called a tarlatan. This removes the ink

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Portrait (detail) Note that the entire image is composed with line, with dense passages of crosshatching used to create the darkest tones.

from the raised portions of the plate, leaving only the ink in the recessed areas to be printed. The plate is then placed onto the bed of an etching press, a rectangular steel slab. A dampened sheet of etching paper, larger than the plate itself, is laid on top, and two felt blankets are placed on top of the paper. The bed is then cranked between two steel rollers, pressing the blankets into the softened paper and forcing the paper down into the recessed areas of the metal plate, where it grabs the ink. After the bed comes to rest at the other end of the press, the blankets are lifted off, and the paper is removed to reveal the finished print, or impression. The look of the final print is affected by numerous factors, including the choice of ink, the method of wiping the ink from the plate and the choice of paper—in addition to the choice of printmaking process and the artist’s treatment of the image. The contours of the plate leave an embossment on the paper called the platemark, and the residual ink on the surface is called plate tone. Prints are usually worked through an evolution called states, with the artist printing a sample impression,

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then working the plate further until it is completed, when the final proof is taken. At that point the plate is ready for editioning—the creation of multiple impressions, which the artist signs and numbers. There are five traditional intaglio processes: engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint and mezzotint. Each produces prints with a distinct look and feel, and many prints are created through a combination of two or more of these processes.

Portrait by Coenraad Lauwers, 1649, engraving, 75⁄8 x 5 3⁄8 .

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Venice by Stephen Parrish, ca. 1885, etching, 8 5⁄8 x 11¾.

ENGR AVING

E TCHING

Engraving was developed in the Middle Ages, making it one of the oldest printmaking processes. The artist creates lines by cutting into the copper plate using a tool called a burin. It requires patience, strength and practice. Curved lines are created not by pushing the burin in a new direction but by turning the plate while pushing the burin straight ahead. It is a highly linear process, and shading is accomplished largely through hatching and crosshatching. Burins are available in several sizes, but even a single burin will give the engraver great control over the line. The tip of the burin is diamond-shaped, and as the pointed tip is pushed deeper into the copper, the line becomes wider. As the cut finishes, the line becomes thinner, much like the line of a crow-quill pen. Engravers create much of their tone using this thin-tothick-to-thin approach.

Etching dates back to the early 1500s. Traditional etching is still practiced today, as are a large number of derivative techniques developed since then. In sharp contrast to the painstaking medium of engraving, etching is very fluid and spontaneous. At the start of the process the metal plate is coated with a thin layer of an asphaltumbased, acid-resistant substance called etching ground. Using an etching needle, the artist draws lines through the ground, exposing the metal. The plate is then lowered into a mild acid bath, where the exposed areas are etched, or bitten, by the acid, leaving them recessed beneath the surface of the plate. The longer the plate is left in the acid, the more metal is eaten away, resulting in deeper and darker lines. Multiple bites are often used to create a variety of line thicknesses. Unlike an engraved line, an etched line generally maintains the same thickness from start to finish.

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DRYPOINT Like etching, drypoint involves fluid and spontaneous drawing. Unlike etching, it does not involve acid. Used since the early 1600s, the technique involves scratching the image directly onto the surface of the plate with an etching needle or a diamond-pointed needle. As the needle makes a shallow mark beneath the surface of the plate it also raises a thin ridge of metal called a burr. The burr holds most of the ink, rather than the recessed line itself. Drypoint produces a warm, soft line with a small amount of ink reaching away from the line. Drypoint lines, like engraved lines, range from thin to thick, to thin again, but they possess a softness not found in engraving. Due to friction from wiping the plate, burrs break down very quickly and can only be pressed a few times. To enable the printing of a large edition, the artist must employ a process called steel facing to make the surface of the plate more permanent.

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Downtown Storefront by Richard Pantell, 2006, etching, 8 x 6.

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The Old Steeple-Cab by Richard Pantell, 2002, drypoint, 18 x 12.

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The Old Steeple-Cab (detail) Note the soft tones emitted from the lines, one of the most recognizable elements of drypoint.

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Still Life With Light Breeze by Karen Whitman, 1975, aquatint and etching, 9 x 12.

AQUATINT Aquatint, developed in the 1600s, is actually a variation on etching, but it is used to such a high degree and includes so many variations of its own that it is widely considered its own medium. It differs from line etching in being primarily a tonal process, somewhat similar to commercial halftone printing, which uses small dots to create tones. In the case of aquatint, tone is created by small, nearly microscopic light dots within the dark field. Aquatints are often combined with traditional line etching or other etching techniques. The artist begins an aquatint by dusting the plate with fine rosin powder. The plate is heated until the powder melts into droplets that adhere to the plate. These droplets are acid-resistant and protect small, relatively evenly distributed dots on the plate when it is lowered into the acid bath. When the plate is printed, this results in tiny light dots within fields of ink, which our eye reads as even tone. To craft the image, before submerging the plate into the acid the artist paints the areas where no tone is desired with an acid-resistant substance called asphaltum or stop-out. The plate is then submerged into acid and bitten. The longer it is left in the acid, the deeper and darker the resulting tone. The plate is removed from the acid, rinsed in water and dried. In most cases the artist then repeats the process, painting more areas with stop-out to preserve them at the current tone, and then re-submerging the plate in acid, producing still darker tones in the unprotected areas.

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Aquatint tones are even and flat but can be altered by burnishing or by utilizing other etching techniques. Areas can also be made to fade from light to dark by slowly sliding the plate into the acid bath. The areas that are submerged first spend more time in the acid, making them darker than the areas that are submerged last.

ME Z ZOTINT Mezzotint has a known inventor: Ludwig von Siegen (1609–ca. 1680), of Amsterdam, who developed the process in the 1640s. It is the only intaglio process that is worked entirely from dark to light. It produces unique velvety tones that can appear quite painterly. The artist begins by preparing the metal plate to print as an even dark field. This is done through a tool called a rocker, which has a handle on the top and a curved, serrated metal bottom containing teeth. The artist grasps the handle firmly and rocks the tool across the surface of the plate in a tight, orderly fashion. The plate is rocked in multiple directions, one at a time. The teeth pierce the surface of the plate, creating countless small indentations to hold the ink. If a fully rocked plate is inked and printed, a solid black image will appear. The artist creates the image using a selection of metal tools called burnishers and scrapers to smoothen the textured plate. Burnishers can be used for everything from soft tones to sharp lines and edges. Areas that are burnished more retain less ink during printing and vice versa. Y

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SUGGESTED READING

• The Art of Etching, by E. S. Lumsden: A well-written handbook of these traditional intaglio techniques, with information about their history, originally published in 1924. Even though some of the chemistry has changed since it was published, much of the detailed information is still valid. • How Prints Look, by William M. Ivins, Jr.: A book featuring close-up images of various printmaking techniques, accompanied by detailed descriptions • The Mezzotint: History and Technique, by Carol Wax: An in-depth classic for artists and collectors interested in mezzotint.

Photo Reelism by Carol Wax, 1999, mezzotint, 16 x 8½. © Carol Wax.

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SELF

Searching for the The monochrome drawings of Samantha Wall offer highly personal explorations of identity, race and interior life. BY JOHN A. PARKS

T he drawings of Oregon-based artist Samantha Wall explore, expose and strive to make sense of the artist’s place in the world as a woman of multiracial heritage and quite simply as a human being. Using traditional drawing techniques in charcoal, graphite and ink she deploys an accomplished language of chiaroscuro and line, sometimes combined with less conventional handling, to make imagery that is provocative, imaginative and highly charged. Large in scale and stylishly presented, the work focuses on images of multiracial women rendered in ways that intimate the underlying tensions they experience in establishing personal identity in the face of competing cultural expectations. Meticulous rendering of parts of the figure are often combined with passages in which areas of the body are filled with swirls of ink or the LE F T

Jessica I. 2016, graphite, 30 x 22. From the series “See Me See You.” Courtesy the artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon. OPPOSITE

Limbo I 2015, Conté crayon, charcoal and graphite, 60 x 41. From the series “Dark Side.” All artwork this article private collection unless otherwise indicated.

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rich patterning that occurs when ink dries on a resistant surface. The resulting images become the visual equivalents of the uneasy relationship of exterior and interior life. “I draw what I know,” says the artist. “I’m a multiracial woman, and I’m interested in communicating the subjective experiences of women like myself. This is difficult because it’s not as simple as being part this and part that. We can’t split our identities, and at times the cultures and histories that we identify with are in conflict with one another. That is felt emotionally, psychologically and physically.” Wall was born in South Korea, where her mother had married an American military officer. The family left Korea when she was young and eventually settled in South Carolina. “I had to confront racial and ethnic challenges daily and find a way to navigate through cultural histories and social boundaries without a guide,” she says. “I felt as if I was constantly running into walls and eventually found myself caught in a space between those two things. Over time I grew to enjoy that space and even found refuge in it. But it wasn’t until I left South Carolina that could I recognize the significance of it.” Wall moved to Portland, Oregon, where she studied art. “Living in Portland among other artists and creative folks, I found I could begin exploring this inbetween space,” she says. “A way for me to do that was to find other women like myself who found themselves inhabiting the same space.” Wall began to make images of these women, and a large body of work started to emerge. Far from uniform, the drawings are arranged into series, each of which takes a somewhat different approach in exploring Wall’s concerns.

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Swallow It 2011, graphite and charcoal, 30 x 44. From the series “Shame on Me.”

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A Clarion Call 2012, graphite and sumi ink, 55 x 34. From the series “Partially Severed.”

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ne of Wall’s earlier series, “Shame on Me,” comprises images in which realistically rendered women interact with shadowy silhouetted figures. “It was an exploration into the relationship between shame and identity,” the artist says. “Growing up in the South and being racially ambiguous was a source of shame. This was the first time I explored my own cultural and racial background.” The uneasy dynamic of competing identities are on view in Swallow It, in which a realistically drawn woman appears to exchange a strange ectoplasmic cloud of smoke with a featureless shadow figure. The mechanics of the drawing are complicated: The realistic figure is achieved in graphite, and the smoke is made with charcoal. The delicately textured shadow figure is executed with a buildup of single pen lines, a painstaking and lengthy technique. “It’s actually a sort of continuous line drawing,” says the artist. “I’m using hot-pressed paper, so there is no real texture, but the smooth surface readily accepts the marks.” Wall says that the large investment of time needed to make a drawing like this is something she embraces. “It allows me access to a mind space that is part of the work,” she says. “The process of making it is a way for me to think through the drawing, to think through the emotions it evokes and to explore how these are related to my conceptual concerns. It’s a psychological and emotional voyage that this repetition and tedium allows me entry into.” The artist acknowledges that the extensive ambitions she has for her work are underpinned by a firm grasp on traditional draftsmanship. “It’s incredibly important to me to continue honing my drawing techniques, because only then can I employ more improvisational strategies confidently,” she says. “I love the control and feel of graphite and the depth and suppleness of charcoal, but I also love working with ink. For me, ink is vital and encourages spontaneity. I think using ink successfully means having confidence and trust in one’s self. If there’s any hesitation, it’s immediately perceived in the work.” Drawing / Winter 2017 79

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all’s next body of work was titled “Partially Severed.” Several of the images in this series show meticulous close-up drawings of heads posed in active and powerful postures. Swirls of sumi ink interact with the head, flowing around and through it like some magical force. “This work was influenced by East Asian horror films like Ju-On, Ring, Onibaba and Kuroneko, to name a few,” explains the artist. “I became fascinated with the female protagonists in those films, especially the vengeful female ghost archetype, because she’s a character that lives outside of conventional Asian female roles and as such was a source of inspiration.” In other words the artist found in these fictional characters role models that were not available in the patriarchal Asian societies from which they sprang—images of women acting willfully and exercising power. Here art offers new paradigms for behavior and identity.

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It also presents opportunities to deploy highly charged theatrical imagery. In A Clarion Call (page 79), for instance, a young woman is shown with her mouth wide open and her tongue pushed upward behind her teeth while her eyes roll up and back. It’s the look of someone who seems about to enter a wild fit or seizure. Meanwhile the top of her head projects an improbable swirl of viscous smoke. The overall effect suggests some kind of supernatural transformation. The drawing also offers a striking contrast of technique, with the head achieved through painstaking realist drawing in graphite and the smoky addition made by wetting the paper and then adding sumi ink and allowing it to flood and swirl. “I worked on the face and body first,” recalls Wall, “and I wasn’t originally planning on including ink in this way. I was thinking about the emotional transformation that happens to the female characters in those horror movies. I had played with ink before, but it’s such an intimidating medium for me—especially the way I want to use it, allowing it to bleed and blossom on the page. Surrendering to the process by using the ink freely makes me uneasy, but I need to do things like that in my work.” LE F T

Undercurrent II 2016, india ink on Dura-Lar film, 87 x 40. From the series “See Me See You.” Courtesy the artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.

O PP OSIT E PAG E

Sigourney 2013, graphite, 30 x 22. From the series “Indivisible.”

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ABOVE

Queen 2014, sumi ink and dried pigment, 30 x 22. From the series “Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark.” OPP OSITE PAGE

Cast Off II 2015, india ink, 30¼ x 23. From the series “Dark Side.”

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all went on to do a series of more straightforward portraits in her series “Indivisible.” These drawings, such as Sigourney (page 80), comprise heads and parts of upper bodies rendered in a combination of graphite and charcoal. The drawings focus on the facial features, sometimes allowing the hair and upper body to fade into the white of the surrounding paper. This strategy bestows a slightly disembodied feel to the images, as though they might be materializing out of thin air. “Most of the women that sit for me are friends,” says Wall, observing that she often takes several hundred photos of an individual in order to find exactly the right image. “At some point I recognized that these photo sessions with my multiracial friends had a profound effect on me. In this series, capturing a likeness was probably the easiest part of the portrait. What I found difficult was capturing the quality about an individual that makes her recognizable to the people who know her best, her ‘air.’” In the series “Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark,” which includes the drawing Queen, Wall dispensed with tightly finished rendering and instead explored the possibilities of making a kind of form and substance with swirls of ink. “The series is about being self-reflective even if it’s a source of discomfort,” says the artist. “No matter what medium I’m using, my drawings are about our interior selves. I’m interested in pulling out that interiority and exposing it in the light.” Wall’s subject matter for these images remained women she knew, and she retained her interest in communicating the “air” of each individual. “But what I’m beginning to question is the importance of likeness to communicate identity and whether the subject’s ‘air’ is more effectively conveyed without it,” she says. Wall began each of these drawings with an outline on soft watercolor paper. She then wet the interior shape of the heads and began to add sumi ink.

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As the ink swirled and blossomed, the chance movements of the tone created forms that are somehow suggestive of the interior life of the figures. The final formations are not entirely due to chance, as the artist worked to manipulate edges, move the ink and occasionally lift some of it out. In Queen the head presents the outline of a pair of eyes under a swath of dark ink. To achieve this the artist first drew the eyes in graphite and then wet that area of the paper, knowing that the image would not wash out. The series “Dark Side” includes a remarkable set of drawings titled Limbo (see Limbo I, page 77) in which a figure is shown directly facing the viewer. Head and shoulders are carefully rendered in soft tone built from layering lines of graphite, charcoal and Conté crayon, but facial features have been removed and the space occupied by a dark shadow. The effect is deeply disquieting, as though the shadow has swallowed up the face and thereby the individuality of the sitter. The figure has been literally consigned to limbo, a spiritual space of waiting and powerlessness.

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Anne-Derrick 2016, graphite, 30 x 22. From the series “See Me See You.”

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erhaps Wall’s most spectacular exploration of the relationship between external shape and internal forces takes place in her most recent series, “See Me See You.” In a group of drawings titled Undercurrent (see Undercurrent II, page 81) she renders large-scale single figures on Dura-Lar, a semitransparent plastic sheeting. This surface allows for an extraordinary array of effects as puddles of ink dry and reticulate to take on a range of formations locked within the clean outlines of a female figure. In a strange way these seem to suggest some sort of alternative biology, making a physical equivalent for the intense and complex emotional and psychological forces with which the artist is so fascinated. “For these large drawings I projected the figure on one side of the Dura-Lar and worked with ink on the other side,” Wall says. “Unlike cotton rag paper, Dura-Lar repels water, so I have to work with alcohol and mix small amounts of ink to get the mixture to adhere to the surface. Then before the water and alcohol evaporate I introduce more concentrated amounts of ink and finally allow the puddle to dry for 24 to 48 hours. This creates amazing reticulation and marks that I can’t replicate on rag paper.” Wall works the images piece by piece, allowing a huge variety of forms and textures to develop over a number of days. The artist notes that the kinds of formations that occur with this method are also affected by the humidity: Drier days yield more shattered formations, whereas humid days allow the ink to flow for longer, making for smoother gradations. The scale of these Dura-Lar drawings, exceeding seven feet in height, makes them challenging to present and exhibit. Wall has chosen to suspend them just a little in front of the gallery wall rather than to frame them. “I wanted to communicate the translucent, milky quality of the film.” she says. “Suspended that way, light passes through the drawings and casts shadows on the wall and ground. It’s stunning.” Although Wall’s various series have covered considerable territory, they share a distinctly contemporary look with their stark monochrome images isolated against pristine white grounds. The artist acknowledges a debt to Robert Longo’s work from the late 1970s. “He has definitely been influential in my practice, his ‘Men in the Cities’ series in particular, because of the fact that they are large-scale drawings,” she says. “For years I felt I had to justify drawing as a finished piece of art, and I would hear comments like, ‘Do you also paint?’ So, as you can imagine, seeing his work had a profound effect on me. I also love artists like Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker, Chloe Piene, Do Ho Suh and Lorna Simpson.” The strength of Wall’s work is that she has mastered both traditional approaches to drawing and a very contemporary vernacular and has put both in the service of her highly personal quest to comprehend her place in the world. “It’s my hope,” she says, “that the viewer feels a connection to the women represented in my work and takes with them a small piece of understanding that might be nurtured into something larger, stronger and more present in their lives.” Y

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Amelia IV 2015, gravure with chine collé, 30 x 22. Courtesy the artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.

ABOUTTHEARTIST Samantha Wall was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1977 and grew up in South Carolina. She earned a B.F.A. from the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, and an M.F.A. at Pacific Northwest College of Art, in Portland, Oregon. She has mounted several one-person exhibitions at venues including Roq La Rue, in Seattle, and Russo Lee Gallery, in Portland. She is the recipient of various grants, awards and residencies, including two stints as artist-in-residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, in New Orleans. She makes her home in Portland, where her work is represented by Russo Lee Gallery. For more information, visit samanthawall.com.

Drawing / Winter 2017 85

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NEW & NOTABLE LE F T

The Flood 2016, carved wood relief, approximately 20’ x 30'. Installation view at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton.

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Photo: Blaine Campbell

2016, silkscreen and digital output on paper and drafting film, 24 x 18.

Sean Caulfield WHY NE W? Since 2011 Sean Caulfield has been a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, and his work has been exhibited throughout Canada, the United States and overseas. His recent exhibitions include The Flood, a large-scale carved-wood relief displayed at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton, in 2016.

WHY NOTABLE? Caulfield’s imaginative and detailed artwork combines traditional drawing and printmaking practices with elements of sculpture, installation and digital art. His images incorporate natural and anatomical forms in compositions that are ambiguous and sometimes unsettling. Much of his work is created on a massive scale.

IF YOU LIKE IT… See more of the artist’s work at seancaulfield.ca. He is represented in Edmonton by dc3 Art Projects (dc3artprojects.com).

88 Drawing / Winter 2017

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strokes of genius | 10 THE BEST OF DRAWING inspiring subjects

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artistsnetwork.com/strokesofgenius Questions? Email: [email protected] Credits: Ady (detail) by Mike Barret Kolasinski. Screened back: Let’s Go Home (detail) by Annette Randall, The Blue Motorcycle (detail) by J. Kay Gordon, Minotaur (part 1) (detail) by Albert Ramos Cortes

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