January 6, 2014

Four New Drawings, the Last of 2013

#27, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

I recently bought some new pigments from Kremer Pigments and thought I'd have some fun with them in this group of new drawings. For #27 I used a new color, Ultramarine Red, violet pink, for the toning of the paper. It's a beautiful cool pink, very rich in color; the manganese blue and mixed green worked well with it, I think.

#28, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

Although Cadmium Yellow lemon isn't a new color for me, I did buy more of it and here mixed it with some Titanium white for the background color, then choosing Manganese Violet and Alizarin Crimson for the shapes. As I've mentioned before, I begin these drawings by drawing overlapping circles with a compass, beginning with the six around one of Islamic design, then I find shapes within the design. The drawings often surprise me in their results: here I was interested to see the yellow shape within the red ones becoming so prominent.

#29, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

I treated myself to a couple of glittery pigments, one being Iron Glimmer, with which I toned the paper. It has a warm undertone, just as iron in the soil will make it reddish. The pigment is quite coarse, so would be difficult to use in most painting situations. 

#29 detail

It's not easy to photograph a glittery pigment because the effects change so much in different light and depending on where you are in relation to the work. If you click on the images to enlarge them you'll get a better sense of the surface.

#30, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

This piece uses two new pigments: the paper is toned with a mixture of an earth pigment, Terra Ercolano, and Pearl Luster Colibri Gold. I then used the gold for two of the shapes. Gold, of course, has been used in Medieval painting and manuscripts, also in Islamic painting, and carries a lot of meaning with it as a rare material. I actually have some real gold, in the form of shell gold, that I sparingly used once or twice. This relatively new pigment can be used with abandon and it can be mixed with other colors. Because it does carry a meaning of the precious, I'm not sure how much I will want to use it; it's also hard to control because it changes from dark to bright depending on how light is hitting it. But then, I suppose, it removes the drawing from the realm of total control, which isn't a bad thing.

#30 detail

As in #28 above, #30 also came with a surprise: the drawn shapes within the ovals have a wonderful presence for me; they are shapes I did not notice before they were highlighted within the dark green shapes. I continue to be full of wonder at what emerges from the pattern of overlapping circles.


  1. beautiful, Altoon. I especially like #30, although it's possible that I might prefer #27 in person, if I had to choose just one favorite. That pink is gorgeous (and I can sometimes respond to metallics in painting with some resistance, I'm not sure exactly why -- I suspect that in your hands I might not!).

    1. Thanks, Ravenna. I also feel some resistance to the gold, not so much the gray glimmer, but I thought it would be interesting to try and see what happens.

  2. These look like quilt squares to me. At first I thought you took up quilting. ha... Happy New Year.

    1. Lisa, I suppose there are correspondences with patterns from all different sources, so it's not surprising you would see quilt squares here.

  3. Thanks so much for your blog which I just discovered a few months ago. I enjoy seeing your process and the variety of posts of work you've seen. I especially like this series of your work. Looking forward to following you in 2014!

    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog, Janine. And thanks, I'm glad you like these drawings.