I have worked in many different mediums over the years including photography, oil painting, watercolor, lithography, etching, clay, stone, wood, ceramic, fiberglass and glass. I always begin with drawing and return to drawing as my favorite process. My portraits are mostly drawn in silverpoint or goldpoint, literally made of sterling silver or pure gold on fine paper or wood.
Before the invention of the modern graphite pencil, artists carefully prepared paper, linen or wood surfaces and drew on them using pieces of pointed silver, gold or other metals. These drawings have lasted centuries because the metals do not fade over time, they only tarnish slightly and turn lovely sepia colors from the tarnish. This is what makes metalpoint drawings look "antique" or "old". The drawing process is difficult because you can not erase the metals like a graphite pencil or charcoal, which is soft, and the dark silver tones must be built up gradually, but the results are subtle and resonant. Two examples of my favorite silverpoint and goldpoint drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael appear below. Both drawings are over 500 years old.
My approach to portraiture is more modern. I like to get to know the subject over a few hours of playing in the location of their choice, taking my own film and digital pictures and video, and making notes about the subject. I then work from the pictures and from memory to create a silver or goldpoint portrait that takes into account all elements of the experience I had with the subject. I like to include the sand between the toes, the spoon clutched in the little fingers, the wind-blown hair or the urban clutter. I cherish all the expressions that make us human... crying, giggling, pouting, snoring, whatever the expression, I love to capture it.
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