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by Clara Josephs, Beth Stone and Deb Shaw

BAGSC held an information-stuffed quarterly meeting on Sunday, September 11. Workshops were announced, the new BAGSC website was revealed (more about the website in a future article coming soon) and BAGSC member Kathy Morgan demonstrated carbon dust techniques on clayboard.

Kathy was first introduced to carbon dust in a class with Olga Eysymontt and was immediately hooked. Kathy has mastered this unique method of painting known for rich, dark values and flawless transitions.

A few of Kathy's favorite materials: a pad of Dura-lar, Wolff's carbon pencils in four grades of hardness and a stencil cutting kit. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

A few of Kathy’s favorite materials: a pad of Dura-lar, Wolff’s carbon pencils in four grades of hardness and a stencil cutting kit. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

Instead of using an X-acto blade to cut a stencil, Kathy prefers to use a heated stencil cutter on a sheet of Dura-lar, over a piece of tempered glass. She first places her tissue drawing under the glass, then uses a pen to carefully trace the outline(s) on the Duralar. Moving slowly, she then carefully cuts along all the outlines with the heated stencil cutter. She saves both the positive and negative parts of the stencil to use in different stages of her drawing.

Kathy usually adds some temporary registration marks to her drawing surface and her stencil, to make it easier to align the stencil again at a later stage.

Kathy Morgan prefers to use soft cosmetic brushes of various sizes for her carbon dust work. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

Kathy Morgan prefers to use soft cosmetic brushes of various sizes for her carbon dust work. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

She uses four different hardnesses of Wolff’s carbon pencils to get different tonal values, starting with the lightest tone and getting darker as the drawing progresses. She prefers to use cosmetic brushes, always working from the outside edges in. (If you work from the inside towards the outside, you run the risk of creating a hard, dark edge where the stencil begins.)

Kathy uses a metal emery file to create the carbon dust, adding each hardness of dust to its own empty plastic medicine vial. (Yet another use for those empty medicine containers!)

Kathy Morgan answers questions from BAGSC members Carmen Lindsay and Cristina Baltayian. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

Kathy Morgan answers questions from BAGSC members Carmen Lindsay and Cristina Baltayian. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2016.

Details are added with a very sharp carbon pencil in the tonal value she needs. She sprays finished works with a workable fixative.

BAGSC members who could stay after the potluck lunch experimented with the technique with the assortment of fruits and vegetables that Kathy brought as subject matter. Thank you Kathy for a fun and informative presentation.

Kathy Morgan demonstrating drawing a pear. Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2016.

Kathy Morgan demonstrating drawing a pear. Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2016.

BAGSC members Carmen Lindsay and Bonnie Born Ash experiment with carbon dust. Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2016.

BAGSC members Carmen Lindsay and Bonnie Born Ash experiment with carbon dust. Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2016.

by Cynthia Jackson and Clara Josephs, posted by Deb Shaw

Olga Eysymontt's demonstration of carbon dust, graphite dust and pencil techniques. Photo by Cynthia Jackson, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Olga Eysymontt’s demonstration of carbon dust, graphite dust and pencil techniques. Photo by Cynthia Jackson, © 2016, all rights reserved.

In each of Olga’s classes, we show our progress on what we had started the class before. Recently, that meant we shared our composition of the seedpods, cotton plant, bottlebrush branch, pussy willow, or whatever each of us had chosen. After the critique we continued to finish the drawing we had started.

One session ago we had a demonstration of carbon dust technique by Olga. She had done a pepper using graphite dust, carbon dust, and a combination of both, including the pencils that she had listed on the list of supplies we got for the class. She uses old makeup brushes for some of the application of the dust. The shorter handles are easier to work with when applying the carbon dust or graphic dust. Olga suggested we start with an outline of a simple object—nothing complicated. It turns out this technique is a very fast way, comparatively, to do a drawing. One classmate had drawing almost completed before the end of the class, beautifully done. And it’s fun!

We were asked to try to continue practicing with the carbon dust and other work we had started. We are learning a lot!

September 2021
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