Date: Friday, June 16, 2023
Time: 2:00-3:30PM Pacific Time/5:00-6:30 PM Eastern Time/10:00-11:30 PM London Time
Medium: Carbon dust
Carbon dust is a scientific illustration technique which is no longer used in the sciences anymore, having been replaced by the airbrush. It consists of creating small piles of carbon dust and then applying thin layers of the dust onto paper through stencils with very soft brushes. All the light, medium, and meium-dark tones are created with the dust, and then the whites are cut out with an eraser, and the blacks are created by drawing directly with the carbon pencils. Carbon dust is a technique that is perfect for creating soft tones, blended tones, and gradations. It is also possible to create intensely focused detail. So although it is no longer used in scientific illustration, it is still quite a wonderful technique to use for art.
Margaret Davidson has a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of Washington. She is both an artist and illustrator, and, until retirement in 2014, taught courses in Beginning Drawing, Sources of Modernism in Drawing, Aesthetics of Drawing, and various drawing technique classes at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington.
In scientific illustration Davidson concentrated on archaeological and anthropological subject matter, drawing lithics, pottery, and especially basketry and textiles. To this end she has illustrated various books and journal articles, such as Spruce Root Basketry of the Haida and Tlingit by Sharon Busby (2003 Marquand Books and the University of Washington Press) and The Archaeology of the Yakutat Foreland: a Socioecological View, Volumes I and II, by Stanley Drew Davis (1996). She has also drawn the maps for Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Villard Books, New York, 1996), and Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg (Berkley Books, 2010).
In contemporary art, her focus in her own drawings is on the subtle and reciprocal relationship between the mark and the surface, along with various related dichotomies such as figure and ground, form and space, and illusion and reality. Like all drawing artists, she works on various European, American, and Asian art papers and then also draws on such materials as wooden sticks, dessicated leaves, and cloth.
Davidson is the author of Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques, published in 2011 by Watson-Guptill, a division of Random House, New York.
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