Monday, July 28

Drawing with Conte Crayons

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It's All in Your Mind

It doesn't matter how you take or make time for art, what you want to do is put it on your list of important things--to do this month, this week--how about today? I hope you feel strongly enough about it that you will take some action and enhance your life. As we baby boomers have all been made well aware, retirement is coming at us like a bullet train. We're being bombarded from all corners about what in the world are we going to do to get through rest of our long lives? I know "they" are working their hardest to sell us peace of mind (if not an annnuity!). Let me tell you, you yourself can gain peace of mind by spending a little time on your art.

Let me recap for a moment, so we can get our blog bearings so to speak. The last several blogs have been about various materials/tools I have on hand, the ones I first used to re-start my interest in art by drawing. (If you've missed any episodes, just scroll down or look in the Previous Art Posts drop-down box in the right column.) I let you know my 'drawing' drawer contains graphite pencils, charcoal pencils, compressed charcoal, colored pencils, rollerball/roller ball pens, and art markers. I told you a little bit the tools I started with in hopes that maybe you'll think something like, "if this guy, who hasn't done a lick of artwork in 30 some years can pick it back up, maybe so can I." That's one of the goals with this blog. There's still a few more blogs to go on the subject, so bear with me.

Another Drawing Medium - Conte Crayon

Depending on which book, website, blog, etc., you look in, there are as many ways of categorizing what constitutes 'drawing,' and what's considered 'painting,' and which tool is used for drawing and which tool is used for painting--well, you get the picture. There is no hard and fast rule about how things are categorized, so don't believe any 'expert' who tells you there is. I made an executive decision, and decided to include Conte crayons here. They have been used mostly as drawing tools for just about ever, so they belong here. Just so you know, this is where many 'experts' draw the line (ha, no pun intended) on where 'drawing' ends and 'painting' begins--with pastels.

If you have a background in art either by your career or you studied/majored in art, you already know, but for the rest of us, here's a brief history. For you purists, sorry I don't know how to make the diacritical accent mark over the letter "e" in Conte, but it's supposed to be there. According to Wikipedia, they are made of graphite or charcoal mixed in a binder. They were invented in France by Nicolas-Jacques Conte in 1795 (like I said, just about forever). They mostly come in black, white, shades of grey and brown, and 'sanguine' (reddish brown to me, but you have to call it 'sanguine' to be correct). They're a little bit like a hard pastel (my opinion), but they have enough firmness and a slight waxy feel, so I can see why they're called crayons. If you read up on art and artists, you're always reading about so-and-so who did a study in Conte crayon before they started on their masterpiece oil painting. You always see Conte spelled with a capital "C" (I know, and the accent mark) and spoken of as Conte crayons, never just Conte. Seems a company called Conte A Paris may have the registered trademark, and that's the brand you always see in the art supply stores. So, now you know (and maybe more than you wanted to know) Conte crayons are used for drawing. And I say, if they were good enough for the Impressionists, who am I to question?

In the Studio
I did a quick drawing in my sketchpad using Conte crayon and compressed charcoal so you can see how it turns out, and posted it at the top of the blog. Because of that, I haven't finished my acrylic painting yet. I've been thinking about how to mix the greens to get the right color. Not sure yet, but I will tell you what worked and what didn't as soon I can get to my "studio," such as it is, and start painting.

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