About Portraits in Charcoal
The selection of the medium is completely personal, and depends on what the buyer wants. Expense factors into this as does the look that the buyer is after. All things being equal, a charcoal portrait is less expensive than pastel or oil as it is a value study and doesn’t involve the use of pigment. In charcoal there is no binding agent, it is simply the product of burnt grape vines. Charcoal is used, in many cases, to create studies for final pieces to be completed in pastel or oil. In some cases, the charcoal portrait is used as a final product. A charcoal portrait can give a feeling of directness and since it is rendered in black and white it can create a unique mood. It requires the use of archival paper and proper matting and framing behind glass, similar to a pastel portrait, in order to preserve the piece.
The charcoal pieces are created using Winsor and Newton vine charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes Paper. Vine charcoals are made from a section of grape vine which have been burnt to a precise degree of hardness and contains no binding agent. I prefer using this kind of charcoal because of pure quality.