Charcoal Progression
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Photo-documented progression of "Before the Storm"

original, done in 1991

Originally done in 1991, I created "Before the Storm" as my interpretation of a Guernica-like painting. I wanted to create some large scale commentary on war. Originally envisioned to be the first stage of a tripych, only the first two have been completed, as of yet. I feel at that stage in my life I had a good conception of composition, but not quite with the sophistication of technique I have today. But I have always been proud of this piece, which is why I chose to update it with my current style.

first stage of revision

Charcoal is a labor-intensive medium. Just preparing a surface with charcoal takes time, and creates a good deal of dust! Luckily this picture was well cared for, and had no creases or tears in the picture. I set up shop in my kitchen, and put a gray backing paper so I wouldn't damage the wall. I work with very few materials - Charkole, a kneaded eraser, and a white eraser. I've often considered switching to a mechanical eraser, but I like the primitive feel of creating with such inexpensive materials.

further on

Finally it starts to take shape, with the several figures resolving in detail. I wanted this picture to be an idyllic one, with three upper figures looking off into the distance, sensing trouble, while beneath them others engaged in play. So far, this process was done in two stages, with an initial corner done about eight moths ago, then the rest done in a period of three weeks.


And here is the final version. As you can see, it is much more striking and intense. It has a significant amount of detail, yet the overall composition still comes through. If you would like a print of this image, just contact me - as stated on the front page, a 24x36 print with normal heavy gloss paper would be $100, a Glicee image would be $200

All artwork, music, and writing c 2011 Kevin Gordon