I returned Tuesday from 4 intense days of creating art thanks to the incredible Rose Davies. She traveled from Swansea Wales (yes, from the UK!) all the way to little ol’ Idaho to introduce 6 artists to a more advanced monotype technique. The workshop was offered by Wingtip Press operated by Amy Nack in Boise. Amy, I love your space!!!!
What is Maniere Noir? Basically it’s French for ‘in the black manner’ and often refers to the mezzotint printmaking technique. For our purpose, it refers to a reductive drawing style using charcoal or graphite on paper. Rose had us spend a day working with the reductive technique to prime our brain cells for 3 days of color reduction.
Rose and Amy prepped full sheets of Rives BFK paper with 2 coats of gesso. They used Hake brushes which left some nice texture.
We applied a dense coating of charcoal to the primed paper and rubbed it in with our fingers. This was certainly not a clean process! To remove the black, we used aluminum (carborundum) sandpaper of various grit and steel wool.
Rose gave a starting demo using a pepper still life.
Now it’s my turn. I couldn’t resist the pepper! Rose actually re-toned her paper after starting the pepper and took on a chunk of driftwood. I found it fairly easy to scrub off the charcoal and if a mistake was made, I could always reapply more. A forgiving process.
After a lunch break, we moved on to the second style of drawing: reductive graphite! Prepping the paper required lots of fresh air. Again, we were working on paper primed with gesso.
After applying a base of graphite, one takes a rag with turpentine (yes, the real stuff) and wipes it over the surface. This blends the graphite and gives you a much sturdier surface to work on. On the messy scale, it was certainly “cleaner” than charcoal. Downside was the turp odor. It was also harder to remove the graphite and reach the white of the paper. Not a bad thing, just a different scrubbing intensity required.
Tyler H working on his gourd drawing. He has a beautiful hand!
The gourd I worked on below: Note the tools off to the side. More steel wool, sandpaper on sponge, Q-tips (for touching up with a bit of turpentine to get back the graphite black), graphite stick to add in additional lines.
Three more days to report on plus one incredible day under the Idaho sun searching for petroglyphs and snakes along the mighty Snake River.
9 thoughts on “In the Maniere Noire style”
That darn pepper will go with me to my grave!
Maybe you should grow a plant or two in your garden. Then you can get the upper hand over them (plus turn them into something yummy!)
I’ll take great delight in cutting them up when I get home
Thank you for this. Rosie’s blog doesn’t usually go into such detail, and it’s a technique I fancy having a go at.
Yes, she is good at holding back info. I’m just so glad to have had this opportunity. Wasn’t certain when I’d make it to Wales.
It is a fun process. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.
Reblogged this on notes to the milkman and commented:
Rosie has been getting herself and some of her students grubby with this maniere noire technique. Paperstew’s blog post has quite a bit of detail about the method.
I’m enigmatic, me 😉
Oh so true!