Two Sidney Nolan drawings

April 25, 2012

I’m not a Sidney Nolan fan, don’t like most of his work, particularly the Ned Kelly stuff (I’ve never understood why that is so highly thought of.) However flipping through a book of his drawings I found two that are very good. The book is called ‘Sidney Nolan Drawings’ and was published in 1989 by the Australian National Gallery (now called the NGA) in conjuncton with an exhibition.

Above is ‘Bushranger head with red mask’ from 1947, charcoal and enamel on paper. Below is a 1967 drawing made with wax crayon, brush and coloured inks. I have used this technique a few times. The wax crayon acts as a resist, the ink will sink into the paper but be repelled wherever the wax crayon has been drawn. It looks like he did the dark features of the head first with ink to get a good black, then drew the rest of the head with the crayons and then went over it with the ink. Great effect.

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