March 10, 2020

Three Swiss Guards - Aged Effect

This new piece was inspired by a past visit to the Vatican, and by the drawings of Michelangelo. On an early Wednesday morning in St. Peter's Square while waiting with the rest of the crowd for the arrival of the pope, I was taking in the scenery with my 300mm lens.
The Swiss Guards, along with the sculptures adorning St. Peter's Basicalla (above) were among the images I captured for artistic reference. Below is the initial mixed-media painting I created in 2016 from my main shot of the Swiss Guard.
A while after completing this painting, I was inspired to revisit this subject in either graphite or charcoal after seeing an interesting "aged-paper" technique in one of my fine-art books.
I had the initial drawing worked up on a nice piece of watercolor paper, but then put it aside to work on other projects. The drawing sat in my studio for over a year. What fired me up to finally complete the piece was a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see the fantastic exhibit, Michelangelo: Mind of the Master.
After seeing so many of Michelangelo's original drawings and how beautiful they were on the 500 year old stained, pockmarked, and torn paper, I could not wait to finish my new Swiss Guard piece!

After spraying the final drawing with workable fix, I poured some instant coffee over it, crushed it, and tore it. After it dried, I took a piece of an apple and smashed it onto the surface of the piece, rubbing it in different directions, unevenly over the surface. I did the same thing with a carrot too. Finally I put the piece on a section of aluminum foil, lit a candle, and carefully burned sections of the edges.
To finish, I drew on top of that, adding a few details to the piece and darkening the darks. I tried to frame it as close as I could to the look of the way the original Michelangelo drawings were presented in the Cleveland Museum of Art.