These drawings are created with a particular Conté pencil that produces a velvety surface unlike graphite with is shiny. Most drawings are on the finest 150lb – 300lb cotton papers (sometimes I use mostly ‘cold-pressed’ papers with a smooth surface because they are less likely to be affected by temperature. *Cold pressed papers are more a ‘archival’ substrate-the fibers are less sensitive to environmental factors. Many pieces are created on Fabriano Paper-my favorite brand.
Drawing has always been something I’ve done well, even as a small child. This series basically started in 1990 with Graphite pencils. Then about 1992 I discovered Conté pencils and fell in love with the 1710 – Velvety and produced a nice ‘black’…I loved it. About 1998, I began introducing some color (using pastel) into new works, creating a very subtle affect. At about this same time I started incorporating gold tones (using mica powders, metal leaf and gold leaf) in to some drawings. In 2004, I created a series of ‘conceptual figurative drawings’ with gilded backgrounds. About 2009, I started using color pencils but have not perfected my techniques yet. Currently, I’m using tempera paint with the color pencils and I am achieving some interesting affects.
My process is very much like a “Zen” practice; the technique is basically reduced to studies in ‘shading’. Generally, have an idea or subject in mind before I start a drawing, but have no idea what it will look like. First, I approach the paper with a piece of vine charcoal or graphite and scribble (like the surrealists and “automatic drawing”. see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealist_techniques)
One of the interesting aspects about these drawing is that the actual image ’emerges’ without much conscious control on my part. Generally as I get started, I will see a shape that represents something to me…an arm, hand, foot, torso, etc. The drawing begins with this shape and then the ‘shading’ begins. I do not work all over the drawing at the same time.i.e. sections will emerge completed while all other areas may still be the white paper will scribble. I hope this makes sense…it’s difficult for me to explain…but mostly this process is dictated by the Conté pencils-their somewhat permanent nature and their ability to ‘smudge’ easily. Hence, as I draw I plan my next area based on where my wrists rests on the paper. Hope you enjoy my work.