The Art Fly

“The Art of Silverpoint”

Posted on by Norine


DaVinci angel

Silverpoint Drawings

I’ve been drawing in the Renaissance-era medium of silverpoint since the mid-1980s when I worked as an assistant to a fine woodworker, who was also a fine artist.  We would break up the work day by exploring this medium – preparing traditional silverpoint formulas with rabbit skin glue and whiting, heating the mixture, and applying thin layers of it to leftover wood panels. An uncoated support won’t do since the ground must give the silver something to attach to as it is dragged across the surface. We made holders for the silver rods, and wooden cases to contain these and a few prepared panels. That Old-World apprenticeship was highly satisfying!  Here’s a great link:  for history, resources, Renaissance and contemporary artists, questions, etc.

I got in the habit of copying faces from the masters of that period in art history.  These are some of my earlier works, this one inspired by a detail from a DaVinci painting.




I was constantly experimenting with tinted grounds, then adding details in white or color pastel.  This was inspired by a Dutch artist, whose name I don’t remember.










Mona Lisa, after DaVinci’s.  This is 7 x 5 inches.












A 7 x 5″ face of a Renaissance boy, based on a Boltraffio portrait.













I love the headwear on Jan Van Eyck’s models.  This is based on a portrait of Arnolfini. My original image is 12 x 8 inches, mounted in a frame that I made specifically for it  (photo upon request).  I was experimenting with a mottled background in this piece.









More great headwear, this time inspired by a painting of Rogier Van der Weyden’s.  Years back, I created a large series of silverpoint drawings based on these masters’ works.  This evolved into a series of accompanying decorative paintings, where I took great  liberties in expressing my love for this era.  The images are familiar, but with a twist.










This is a larger, pretty recent drawing that was inspired by a Durer portrait.












This is one of my favorite drawings, not based on the Renaissance era but from today. He is a fellow named Maximov, a mason’s assistant, wearing a knit hat on a wintry day.


I thought I’d take you down one of the paths on my art journey so far. That’s something we all have…a unique journey, one road always leading to another.



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