If you see me covered in black stains all over my clothes, face and palms these days, it does not mean I have started my own coal mining operation, although my studio may look like the sort.

My days of drawing are back, and after acquiring some very cool new tools, I brought out the old large soft brushes, the charcoal powder, and some oversize printmaking paper.

Sørnuten II Kull StorMot Sørnuten II. Charcoal on soft paper. 120 x 105 cm.

I use very soft paper for my works on paper. The Hahnemühle 350 grams (made for etchings) on a large roll, gives me a very soft touch and a tonal range that fits the purpose very well. Being only 1/4 glued, it breaks very easily, so a gentle touch is required.

I make versions in charcoal after concluding the first prototype painting. I start off by brushing a fair amount of charcoal powder over the entire surface, giving it a dark monotone. I then start brushing and rubbing of very gently using a large range of cut out stensils.

Frå studio kull“Frå Haukeli” Charcoal on soft paper 120 x 68 cm. The propane is not being implemented into the process. In the background: “Frå Haukeli” 180 x 130 cm. Acrylic and oil on canvas. 

Apart from the obvious issues of making my studio a dusty mayhem, I find the logistics very challenging with these works. They are indeed very frail up until they are given a suitable frame. Thus the transport unframed in bulk is almost impossible without sustaining damage on some level. Once framed, they turn into extremely heavy pieces, and I have to suffer the constant fear of either breaking the expensive artglas (non-reflective), or chipping the actual frame. Either way, unframed or mounted, they are a nightmare to transport.

Just a note on the “artglas”. For artworks with darker areas, the conventional type gives an undesirable reflection from some angles. This is reduced to an almost non-existent issue using “artglas”. Henceforth I will be using this for all my charcoals. It’s simply worth it. I’m lucky to have a very good deal with Dahl’s Rammeverksted in Haugesund. They provide excellent frames at a decent price and will offer professional input whenever I need advice.

Still, the large drawings are a whole lot of fun to create, and things happen very instantly compared to the slow progress of the paintings.                                                                                            Some days I’m just so in the mood for feeling like a miner …