samedi 26 juillet 2014

The Work Of Contemporary Charcoal Artists

By Sharron Cantu

For centuries both students and professionals have used the medium of charcoal to create drawings. In the past, these drawings were often completed prior to attempting to apply paint. Now contemporary charcoal artists are giving this medium a higher profile, using it to create original and innovative art. It is possible to purchase many of these drawings from online websites.

The drawings cover many different genres. There are those that are very realistic such as portraits created by referring to photographic source materials. There are drawings that share the exacting detail of zoological or botanical drawings. Some of these drawings are deceptively realistic but it is the unusual conceptual or visual juxtapositions that create intrigue. Others express the range and beauty of human movement. Then there are those that are mysteriously surreal.

The basic tools used are mostly the same. Choosing the right paper to work on is important as it should have the right tooth to hold the particles of material. A thick, grainy paper is often preferred for this reason. Sticks of charcoal are made from a slow burning of willow twigs to turn the wood into carbon. A version which is harder to spread and erase but produces darker marks is the compressed form. This is powdered and mixed with gum to bind it. A powder may be used to cover large areas of a drawing. Kneaded erasers are used to lift material off the surface and a blending stamp helps to blend and smear material.

These materials may appear very simple but they are also extremely versatile. With some experience, a wide range of different tones and shades can be produced. Far from being restricted by using only shades of black and white to create drawings, an experienced artist can be stimulated to increased depth and perception by this.

When the medium one uses does not rely on color to create beauty, it is more important than ever to use highlights, mid-tones and shadows to great effect. An artist has to learn to do this in order to capture the necessary depth. A little more or less pressure, some erasing, blending and smearing all work together to produce varying values.

The drawings created are impermanent and have to be sprayed with a fixative once they have been completed. There are many different types of fixatives available today. They are usually made of a resin dissolved in alcohol.

Those using this medium today are reaching new heights. They are experimenting with innovative forms of expression. One such artist is a dancer who draws on a large scale, representing the movements of the human body. Another artist shoots his drawings in sequence of development, creating short animated films.

Drawings in this medium are available from many online sources. One can browse through numerous works before choosing a particular drawing. Choices made depend on many factors such as personal preference and budget. This is one of the longest surviving artistic mediums and it offers a unique way of capturing subtle tones, emotions and gestures by intuitive use of light and dark.

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