And still more faces, challenges and a new artist.

This week one of my students challenged me, yet again! I’m sure they didn’t mean to but I found myself faced with another new artist that I had not heard of and who’s techniques I was not too familiar with. But not to be daunted…after all my “word” for 2012 is VENTURE…I rose to the challenge, armed myself with more drawings of faces and investigated her inquiries thoroughly! 

The artist in question is Kris Kuksi. What a fascinating guy. Not completely my cup of tea but I was completely mesmerised by his haunting technique. The sculptures are intricate assemblages that make me wonder how he ever thought of the idea in the first place and his paintings are incredible in their realism. But the most impressive, I thought, were his white charcoal drawings on black backgrounds. There is so much feeling and depth that can be conveyed by this way of working.

I can see what has drawn my student to his work, especially when I tried it out for myself. I bought some black gesso (which I had seen in my local art shop ages ago, and wondered what use it really had…oops) and painted up a really nice piece of hot pressed water colour paper. This meant I had a smooth surface to work on, although some brush strokes are visible. I found some white charcoal pencils and discovered that although it feels like scratching one’s nails down a blackboard, they were quite nice to use.

Several questions arose. If you draw a face on a black surface with a white pencil don’t you get a negative like effect? A bit surreal or ghostly in it’s finish. Yes, you do. If this is the desired effect, then that’s ok. Otherwise, how do you get a more realistic look? It’s a matter of thinking in the opposite. Leaving the dark areas uncoloured and using the white pencil for the highlight. Interesting. Here’s what happened:

I really did enjoy trying out this media. And I really like the black gesso! Imagine using it as a base for posca paint pens or metallic markers and gel pens. There will be more. Maybe even more faces…want to join me?


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