charlesbasman

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You have to draw the line somewhere.

 Redchalkholder

Sanguine (Hematite) is a red-brown iron-oxide chalk, usually mined in Italy. Otherwise know also as red chalk, which has been used for hundreds of years since the old masters, going back to Leonardo da Vinci and even earlier. It is much older than modern drawing crayons, which use an oil binder with pigment. So this is probably as raw as you can get in drawing.

Its was interesting to buy, as it came in its rocky form, as if it was just chipped off a cave and placed in a bag, which is probably the case. It came in “lumps” of rock, which needed to be broken up to be used.

The first thing for me to do was to sharpen it, and place it in a brass holder for drawing.

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I began by using it for figurative work, such as the one hour poses in the image above.

The qualities achieved when using red chalk are rich warm tones that have a velvety look. It wasn’t easy to use at first, as I had to constantly sharpen it, but I was quite pleased with the result.

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My curiosity satisfied, I used it again and again, especially at the Metropolitan, while drawing ancient Roman sculptures.

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And Greek sculptures as well. Sometimes the red chalk can be brittle, and break very easily, so the challenge for me was to use it gently and build up volume and tone gradually. I find it very easy to smooth out shadows with my fingers and achieve a beautiful soft gradation.

 

Since I believe that by trying new things you grow as a person, I certainly believe that holds true for an artist. This is a new material for me and I intend to keep using it as I discover more of its qualities.

Gold and art

After having completed my latest lithograph of Perseus and Andromeda, I decided to add some gold to certain areas of the print. Its an entirely new process for me. and one which I have been looking to try for a while.

 

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The Question for me was, where to add gold? I then realized Medusas hair would be the ideal place, as its almost at the center of the image.

After reading up on gold leaf, I started to realize what a delicate procedure it was. The leaf itself is very thin and must be handled carefully. The thought of using it scared me at first, since everyone was telling me how it can literally turn to dust if not handled the right way.

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After placing adhesive on the area where I wanted gold, I placed the leaf on the image with a soft cloth over it, and rubbed it gently with a burnishing tool, which can be seen next to her head.  The result was Medusas snakes having touches of real gold.

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I was so pleased with the result that I decided to add gold to my large mermaid lithograph, on the mermaids tail. I guess I went a bit gold crazy.

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As I become more practiced in using gold leaf, I will add it to some paintings, perhaps a landscape created this spring or summer. Its a beautiful material, and it adds a nice touch to a finished work.

Printing Perseus

Since I first started creating lithographs about four years ago, I always felt the desire to produce something slightly more ambitious than the previous print. For this reason, I started with my new series of large-scale lithographs dealing with the mythological hero.

My first lithograph in this series is Perseus and Andromeda. It’s an idea I kept putting off, probably because I felt the subject matter was not something I normally do.

As artists though, we sometimes have to step out of our comfort zone. That’s when great things happen, and learning begins. I have to say that after months of working on this one lithograph, I certainly learned patience.

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 New paper, waiting to be used.

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Lithograph stone, inked and ready to be transferred onto wet paper.

 

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Some of the printed editions, with slight variations in tone and contrast.

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The final print.

 

As I become more experienced in this form of printmaking, the more daring and ambitious I get. This is just one in a series of large-scale lithographs I will be producing this year dealing with the mythological hero.

Follow me on Instagram at Basmanstudio or visit Basmanstudio.com to see more of my work.

Weather or not

 

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One of the main obstacles facing any painter working outside is the weather. I have recently encountered this problem while working on the largest landscape I have ever painted. By going back to the same location, I found that the entire scene has changed from the last time I painted there.

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An artist has to be adaptable, so as the weather changed, so did my painting. Part of the struggle and excitement of painting from nature is the unpredictability. Nature never really does stand still.

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All the colors became softer, and I felt as if there wasn’t anyone around for miles. Every now and then someone would come by, but I was lucky to find a spot not frequented by many people.

As usual, I lost track of time, and left after four straight hours of painting.

So, as I continue with carrying my heavy canvas and materials to the same location a few more times, the more the scenery may change, and I have to change with it.

 

 

The creation of the Eve lithograph

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After printing my latest lithograph of Eve in black and white, which took most of the day, I decided on adding color to a few of the editions. It is my first experiment using a pronto plate, which, unlike a litho stone, is much easier to manage and faster to prepare. After placing and mixing the beautiful strong colors on glass, I was ready to print.

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What I was after, was to make subtle colors in details such as the eyes of Eve, the snake, and the apple. Its a process that takes steady hands, and I found myself holding my breath and wishing I drank less coffee that morning. Luckily my amazing teacher Tomomi was there, offering me assistance and encouragement, and perhaps hoping I don’t break the press.

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The soft color brown on the eyes of Eve.

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Slight colors in the apple.

This is the first step in my use of color on my latest lithograph. I am going to see how far I can go. The colors you can achieve in lithography are very rich and the result could be vibrant and alive.  It is a process that takes much patience. The end result can, and usually is, really rewarding.

Sketching on the D line

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Ever since I moved to Brooklyn, just this past summer, I found my train ride twice as long and twice as interesting. I found it a perfect opportunity to draw my fellow sleepy riders on my morning and evening commute. Its the perfect time to focus on practicing observation, and to sharpen my drawing skills.

As other artists know, drawing strangers unaware in New York comes with a risk. Sometimes you’re caught, sometimes your unwilling model stays still for almost the entire ride, allowing you to complete a detailed drawing. It is however, a great way to practice.

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I sometimes get carried away and become more ambitious, such as with the above drawing where I started with one passenger and then finished by drawing her fellow riders. As I wrote in the lower right hand corner of the drawing, the delay on the D train allowed me for more time to draw. It may be the very few times I attempted to sketch people awake.

 

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So, as I continue to travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan and vice versa, my fellow riders will become my models. I find it a great way to warm up before working on paintings.

 

 

Painting outdoors in Fall

Painting outdoors in the Fall allows a painter to experiment with all sorts of golden colors. Leaves, grass and even buildings take on a yellowish tone that turns everything to a golden yellow. From the very drawing stage of my painting, I am already starting with a rich Sienna. This is followed by stages of color with reflected light bouncing everywhere. The trick is, to keep everything balanced and harmonious by using variations of yellow. When working outdoors on a painting or drawing, its best to keep an eye on how one color enhances another. This is certainly a science.