Monday, November 1, 2010

Chestnut Leaf Continues

I spent a few hours trying to add form. The idea of adding white comes slowly; I'm still not used to it but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it. :-) I like where the top left is going and I will try for more of that tomorrow.

More experiments with silverpoint on gesso. The previous example was using one of the old gesso boards, and I don't think it was sanded properly. This example uses the a new board. Look closely and notice the scratches left behind by the 600 grit. The softness of the lower right was caused by a still damp board where I tried to smooth with wet fingers. I'm looking for finer grits, either in carborundum or a 3M product with very smooth surfaces, nearly gritless.

I heard back from Craig Daniel, owner of the Realgesso company, regarding sanding:

" ...we have worked very hard to get to this level with our surface, and hope to continue to improve in the future. As for sanding a 600 grit paper should make the panel super smooth. The amount of smoothness is totally a personal preference. But you do need to wipe the surface with denatured alcohol to keep the dust from invading your paint film. The nice thing about Real Gesso is it is still absorbent no matter how polished the surface becomes. Some other types of surfaces depends on surface scratches to help the paint to adhere. But be warned that a smooth surface seems to magnifies your mistakes as well as accentuate the positive in a painting, so just experiment around and you will find what you're looking for."


  1. The layering is working!

    I admire the top and bottom of this leaf, where the ribbing is so pronounced. The white highlighting brings the shape forward. Am waiting to see what will happen with the 'overlap' section, where two layers of leaf coincide two-thirds of the way up.

    Your silverpoint is wonderfully dark! One is warned that the line is not very pronounced, and shading is difficult because it only ever gives such a pale line -- but your gesso boards must be the ideal medium -- or your silver is nice and soft; perhaps Renaissance silver wasn't quite such good quality :-)

  2. I wish I still had that original leaf! I have a few dropped leaves from this years to help with modeling the shadows but I am still struggling.

    I noticed a difference in gesso texture between the boards, the new ones feeling somehow softer. I've read that ingredients and handling can affect hardness. My silver is rather on the hard side, being drawn wire that has not been annealed. Fine silver can be softer than sterling but either can cross over each other's range by working the metal or annealing it. I have been wondering about hardness and that seems to encompass the support as well as the medium.

    It seems that each support, ground, medium has its own particulars, doesn't it? Your description of goatskin preparation being a good example!