Friday, November 7, 2014

Vilma Banky and Ronald Coleman

Another over-sized drawing from my "Personal Icons" series of Photo Realistic powdered graphite and pencil drawings.

The drawing was made in 1978 before I began to use powdered graphite more than the pencil point. I’m not sure which film the still photo was from, though it must be either The Winning of Barbara Worth or The Night of Love. Both of those films stared Ronald Coleman in the male lead. Since most of those publicity photos were made from frames of the motion picture, I’m fairly sure the image is in the public domain. I bought the photo in a New York City “filmography” store in 1977. I know most people alive today have no idea who these two stars of the silent screen were. Banky was born in 1901 and died in 1991 at the age of 90. Coleman lived to his 67th year in 1958. You can follow the links in this entry to learn more about them.

The drawing is 32” x 40,” and is on 100% cotton fiber paper. It was completed using Jet Black pencil, and graphite powder ground from that pencil, 4B pencil, cloth and erasers. The paper and photo would have been squared-off with a grid in order to transpose the much smaller photo onto the large paper. I also used an opaque projector to help obtain a sense of “depth of field” from the original photograph. As it is one of the earlier "personal icons" the technique is a bit more crude than the later drawings. I have no idea why the photograph taken of the Photo Realistic drawing is warm in some areas and cool in others because the original drawing is not. Never the less, I know this image conveys the "old time" sense of the original frame from the motion picture as well as the timely extreme dramatic feeling the silent film era relied on to convey drama before the invention of "Talkies" in the United States motion picture industry.

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