The Art of Silver Point Drawing with Colleen Sterling

Learn about Colleen Sterling and her class, ” The Art of Silverpoint Drawing” in the interview below! Check out the gallery of photos below to see her beautiful paintings!  Interested in her class? Register today to secure your spot.

JCCFS: Tell us more about yourself. What’s your background in your medium? How did you get started? It’s for all levels, correct?

CS: I’m a professional artist and arts educator with over 40 years conducting workshops, classes and private instruction in many art medias. I have exhibited widely throughout the US and elsewhere, and my art is found in many corporate and private collections here and abroad. My passion is drawing, so even if I teach a painting class we begin with foundational drawing and compositional concepts. My personal media are oils and egg tempera painting, the later of which is an ancient media that has its foundation in a strong drawing technique. In college I was an arts major with a history minor. I have always been interested in historical materials and processes. Silver point serves both the drawing skill, as well as being rooted in art history as a nearly lost process.

JCCFS: Your class” The Art of Silverpoint Drawing”  is coming up on August 25-30, 2024. Tell us about the class’s specific technique or process? What can students expect to leave your class with?

CS: Silver point is one of the many metal point drawing tools that were used in the past well before the graphite pencil was invented. This class involves “cookery” as any surface used has to be specially prepared. We will learn how to tint papers for added color fields, and how to select and prepare the drawing nibs. Students can expect a learning environment to be very relaxed and a fun experience. My objective is to build up each student with encouragement. Each student will be going home with not only beautiful completed drawings in an unusual media, but also a desire to continue with the technique in their own studio.

Examples of Colleen’s drawings and oil paintings

Celtic Drawings

JCCFS: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

CS: My work is usually centered in feeling of the spiritual, whether it be in the subject matter, the care that goes into a work, and, in a lot of cases, the presence of light.

JCCFS: What is your favorite aspect of the John C. Campbell Folk School?

CS: I have taught folks of all ages and abilities over the years. What I like about the Folk School environment is that students are above average in interest, in skill sets, and social intelligence, and so the class dynamic is really stimulating. Every time I think that I am working too hard to design a class at its ending I am flooded with a sense of accomplishment and feel-good energy!

JCCFS: What is one piece of your work that you are proud of, and why?

CS: As I have been preparing several examples of the silver point technique I am very pleased with the drawings that I will be sharing with the students. And nearly every one of my egg tempera paintings are awesome, if I may say so myself. Silver point was used in the old days to lay-out line work before the egg painting began, that is how I came across this drawing process.

JCCFS: What tips would you give a student or aspiring craftsperson?

CS: Do it for you and not the audience.

JCCFS: Thanks Colleen! We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the Folk School this Fall. 

One of Colleen’s egg tempura paintings

More of Colleen’s Work

Upcoming Class with Colleen

The Fine Art of Silverpoint Drawing

August 25-30, 2024

Before the advent of the common graphite pencils, artists worked with ink and charcoal for their renderings on parchment and paper. Delicate line drawings depended on metal point, silver being the most desired for its delicate and beautiful luster. Learn the history of the materials and technique, how to prepare supports with traditional gesso, the differences in metal properties, and the unique application necessary to create fine line drawings with silver.

About Colleen Sterling

Colleen Sterling is a professional artist and arts educator with extensive exhibition and teaching experience, from her private studio, at art centers, at centers for continuing learning, and at the Folk School. She has works in major collections across the US and Europe. In college she was an art major with a history minor. This love of history has lead her to explore, keep alive, and pass on traditional processes and techniques, silver point drawing being one of these.

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