Contact email@example.com From North America: (510) 550 1173 In Israel: (077) 662 1230
Sherry Camhy, USA
“Moses” is drawn with silver and gold. The process is a very old one. It is known as Metalpoint. Long before graphite was discovered and pencils were invented, precious metals were used to make finely detailed drawings on specially prepared surfaces. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael created exquisite small studies using metalpoint. The images have grown more beautiful with age and stood the test of time.
Metalpoint is a slow and difficult medium to work with. The image must be built with even sized lines. The darks and lights are not easily developed. They are not erasable. The metal marks are invisible on paper. The secret is in the formula for the preparation of the surface which will make the drawing visible, the lines permanent and long lasting.
The parchment was carefully flattened, then stretched and artist’s tape was used to attach it to a board. Seven layers of a very thin mixture of polymer emulsion containing titanium white, calcium carbonate and rabbit’s skin glue was spread onto the parchment. The surface was gently stretched and lightly sanded after each of the layers were completely dry.
The image of Moses is drawn with sterling silver and fourteen and eighteen carat gold. Small lengths of various widths of the metals were cut then carefully shaped and placed in holders of appropriate sizes.
Creating the highlights in the drawing of Moses' hair and beard presented a challenge. White chalk would not work. It smudged and smeared. Erasing silver and gold to create lighter tones is not possible. The problem was solved by scoring tiny grooves with sharp metal points of various sizes and shapes into the soft surface of the parchment where the lights would be needed so that the lighter tones eventually became visible when the darks were drawn around them. The silver and gold lines used for the hair were kept on the surface of the parchment leaving the incised highlights crisp and white.
Gold is rarely used in metalpoint. Lines made with gold are not golden. They are, however, distinctly darker than those that can possibly be made with any other metal. Unlike other metals which change in color when exposed to the atmosphere, it is permanent and unchanging. Gold was used for the darkest accents in the drawing.
Silver is usually the metal chosen for metalpoint because of the delicate range of values it can create. The beauty of a silverpoint drawing is incomparable. The luminous color of the silver slowly tarnishes becoming ever subtly darker, mellower in color and uniquely elegant.
The Image of "Moses" will evolve with time just as the example of the life of Moses endures in the hearts of the Jewish people and the history of the world.
Sherry Camhy's work is in the permanent collection of the Israel Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA, and the New York Public Library. Her work has been on exhibit in the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, The Parrish Museum, Southampton, NY, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT, and reviewed in ArtNews, FineArtConnoiseur, and Drawing magazines, among others. She is the author of Art of the Pencil, and teaches at New York University, The Art Students League, The School of Visual Arts, and The New York Academy of Art. Her studio is located at 526 West 26 Street, New York, NY and her website is www.sherrycamhy.com