A month ago I received an invitation to participate in a workshop with one of the stable of excellent artists associated with Lethbridge Gallery in Brisbane. Yanni Floros came to my attention a year or so ago, with an exhibition of exquisite charcoal drawings, rendered in something beyond a photographic representation. Stark, stunning, detailed and alluring, they displayed a unique mastery over the medium, and I became a fan.
Yesterday I attended Yanni's workshop. He showed us his unique way of working, using powdered charcoal and brushes to slowly build areas up, adding the effects of charcoal pencil to detail and strengthen areas, and then cutting back into the surfaces with chiselled edged erasers to create the lighter sections. And then on occasions, powdered white pastel or conte are brushed over some areas to bring out the highlights. The jacket below on the cover of Yanni's catalogue, would have started as a solid black charcoal block, and the light shades etched back into the surface with the eraser.
All of the materials used and techniques shown at the workshop were familiar to me, but I find I apply them in a different fashion in my own work. Whereas the surfaces of Yanni's drawings are almost "licked" and polished with little evidence of the techniques and even mediums employed to make them, I love the effects of the mark-making process in my own pieces. Cross hatch and contour strokes, the thick impasto chunks of tone, and overt evidence of graphite, pastel and charcoal line, all add an additional richness and "energy" to the work.
|My workshop effort. |
The hair is the result of Yanni's teaching,
the jacket shows the effects of
Pete left to his own devices.
Thanks to Yanni, a gifted and engaging communicator who was very willing to share his "secrets", and who lead us through an entertaining and challenging day.