I was having a conversation with a young woman from one of the art supply groups that I buy my paint from, talking about silverpoint and what kind of coating I could use to prepare the paper. (Simply put, I am too lazy to prepare the gesso myself, not wishing to simmer the rabbit skin glue and add the talc, etc.). She happened to mention that silverpoint looks terrific on a black ground. Oh, I thought, I need to try that out! I could hardly wait to see what would happen and how silverpoint would look on a black ground! The experience of actually creating the line–the drag of the stylus across the surface is to experience pure sensual delight.
Silverpoint (and gold and platinum point) is a medium that goes back to as early as the 12th century and was used extensively in the 14th century by artists such as Leonardo, Botticelli, and Durer. Those interested can read more in James Watrous’ The Craft of Old Master Drawings. It’s also been used by more modern artists such as Pablo Picasso.