Charcoal

DEFINITION

Black drawing material made of slowly charred wood and available in varying degrees of hardness, it is one of the oldest materials used for drawing and is manipulated with the thumb or a "stump", a special crayon-shaped implement. Because of susceptibility to smudging, the finished charcoal drawing needs to be sprayed with a fixative in order to be permanent. Many artists do preliminary drawings with charcoal. Source: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"<br><br>Used for drawing and for preliminary sketching on primed canvas for oil painting. Natural vine charcoal is very soft and can be easily rubbed off with a soft rag. Natural willow charcoal is harder than vine charcoal and gives a darker line. Compressed charcoal is available in several forms. You can choose from stick form, wood-encased pencils, and peel-as-you-go paper wrapped pencils. These charcoal formulations range from extra soft to hard. Powdered charcoal is used to transfer drawings to surfaces by dusting through "pounced" lines on the drawing. ? See pounce wheel.<br><br>Compressed burned wood used for drawing.Examples of charcoal drawings: Paul Gauguin (French, 1848-1903), Tahitians, c. 1891-93, (depicted Tahiti, made France), charcoal on laid paper, 16 1/8 x 12 1/4 inches (41 x 31.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Post-Impressionism. Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Reclining Nude, 1938, charcoal on paper, 23 5/8 x 31 7/8 inches (60.5 x 81.3 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. See nude.Arshile Gorky (American, 1905-1948), The Artist&#39;s Mother, 1938, charcoal on paper, 63 x 48.5 cm, Art Institute of Chicago, IL. See Abstract Expressionism. Lee Krasner (American, 1908-1984), Seated Nude, 1940, charcoal on paper, 25 x 18 7/8 inches (63.5 x 48.0 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.Related link: The article on charcoal and oiled charcoal in Drawing Materials and Drawing Techniques, a Guide and Glossary by Michael Miller. Also see chalk, crayon, fusain, graphite, pastel, pencil, sketch, and study.

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