Classic Conte Dry or Wet


Bob With Binoculars
“Bob With Binoculars” by Peggy Burkosky

Classic conte crayons are sticks of solid pigment madeĀ from a mixture of graphite and clay. Much harder than charcoal and pastel, these sticks can be directly applied to paper and can produce everything from sharp thin lines to blended gradations and subtle variations. The traditional colors of black, red and brown were used by Masters in preliminary studies prior to an oil painting. Modern conte crayons now come in a myriad of colors, and one of the unique features of this medium is that it is water soluble. I find this to be the perfect medium for beginning a study as a drawing. With its capacity to dissolve in water, you can create wonderful effects and textures. These works can become beautiful art pieces to frame as well as serve as studies in preparation for a watercolor painting. The medium flows in a similar way to watercolor and can even be mixed with them.
Conte can also be purchased in pencil form which serves well for fine detail. Conte can be worked into wet washes as seen above or applied dry and then dissolved. Here we see classic Old Master preliminary studies left dry or with water applied to produce subtle washes.

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