the fine art of silverpoint
After an introduction to silverpoint drawing in a class at Tyler School of Art as taught by natonally reknowned silverpoint artist Chuck Schmidt, I forgot about the technique for many years until once again becoming acquainted with my former mentor and several other area artists, most of whom were also adept at this medium. As a result of interacting with this group I have spent the last two years immersed in this centuries-old traditional art form.
The art of silverpoint, or more inclusively metalpoint, is a permanent drawing technique using, most commonly, gold, silver or copper wire inserted into a stylus to inscribe fine lines on a specially prepared, lightly abrasive surface. I am attracted to the discipline required as the marks made by the metals are very faint and must be built up in layers to produce differing values, resulting in a delicate intimate image. This technique requires a steady hand and much patience as the marks can not be erased and the surface is easily marred. Also fascinating is the science behind the subtle color and density changes of these softly shimmering metals as they oxidize and add to the mystic of the medium.
Due to its inherent qualities, this is a rather limiting art form, but I consider it a challenge to see how far I can take it, and at times I combine other mediums in the drawings to produce soft color effects while trying not to overpower the subdued marks of the metals.
I continue to experiment with ideas and methods as learned through other artists, through Internet connections, and with daily practice. I also teach metalpoint to others to help keep this little known, but beautiful drawing technique alive and growing.