From Reading about Art to a Metalpoint Show / by Jeannine Cook

Threading my way between matters of health, matters of daily life and delights ranging from markets that are a visual and sensual feast of fresh produce to turquoise-sapphire seas sparkling enticingly, I keep trying to remember I am supposed to be an artist!

A reminder of this came this week with the opening of "Luminous Metal: Contemporary Drawings in Metalpoint" at the Clement Art Gallery in Troy, New York. Despite Hurricane Irene being in evidence in the area, apparently there was a goodly number of people at the reception. Photos of the show can be seen on Facebook. I was one of ten artists invited to exhibit in this show, something I was delighted about. We each had to submit three pieces for the show, and judging by the photos and sneak preview, we are all as diverse as possible, which of course makes for a fascinating exhibition when it comes to savouring of the wide range of possibilities even within this relatively narrow medium of silverpoint/metalpoint.

Meanwhile, threading though my daily life, I keep dipping into a truly interesting book which I found recently. Entitled "Artists' Techniques and Materials", it was written by Antonella Fuga, translated into English by Rosanna M. Giammanco Frongia, and published by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2006. One of the simple reasons I looked at it originally in the Royal Academy bookshop in London was that it was one of the few books dealing with artistic techniques and media which talked of silverpoint. (I found some seemingly definitive and weightly tomes on drawing there, which did not even mention the words "silverpoint" or "metalpoint" - shame on the authors, for they did not do their homework.)

I soon realised, however, that the book I did buy by Ms. Fuga is a gem. It is teaching me, in succinct and clear fashion, with wonderful, annotated illustrations, about media in a way that has me enthralled. Not only are drawing media talked of, but all manner of other media - printmaking, painting, sculpture, mosaic and intarsia, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellry, as well as contemporary techniques. Within each discipline, there are a myriad techniques explained, many of which are new to me – filigree glass, reticello work in glass, scagliola intarsia, for instance. There is a page of text for each, so that you learn enough about each technique to be at least sensible about it - and it is a door opened to further exploration if you want. Such fun!

It certainly keeps reminding me of the privilege of belonging to this great band of incredibly diverse artists, one that has existed since time immemorial in such intensity, imagination and skill.