Notebook

Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS

Drawing

Chalk


Drawing material made from various soft stones or earths. There are three main types; black chalk (made from stones such as carbonaceous shale); red chalk, also called sanguine (made from red ochre or other red earths); and white chalk (made from various limestones). Chalk drawings are known from prehistoric times, but the medium really came into its own in the late 15th cent., notably in the hands of Leonardo, who made many drawings in red and black chalk. The terms 'chalk', 'crayon', and 'pastel' are not always distinguished from one another, and there is much ambiguity in the historical literature of the subject. Crayons, as the term is now generally understood, are sticks of colour made with an oily or waxy binding substance, and pastels are sticks of powdered pigments bound with gum. In other words, they are both manufactured products, whereas chalk needs only to be cut to a suitable shape and size to be usable. [Chilvers, Ian, Harold Osborne, and Dennis Farr, eds. Oxford Dictionary Of Art. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.]

In Italy, the art of drawing developed very quickly during the sixteenth century, when it became a favorite technique for studying and understanding the natural world. As a result, various graphic media became popular, including chalk. Mined from the earth in its natural state, chalk had three colors: red, black, and white. Since the sixteenth century, these as well as other colors have been made artificially; however, the additional colors are more accurately referred to as pastels. Chalk is a relatively soft, dry medium and can be rubbed to achieve shadows and subtle transitions. All three colors of chalk were used singly for preparatory studies. The three colors were often used in combination to create more fully detailed drawings with a wider range of values and colors. Antoine Watteau exploited this latter technique brilliantly, in drawings such as Four Studies of a Woman, whose beauty lies not only in the over-all image, but also in the individual strokes of chalk. Occasional intense accents are added by dampening the red chalk. [Drawing Techniques, Gallery Notes P5 - Works on Paper Series. Print, Drawing, and Photography Galleries. 1984, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.]






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