The default color of paper is white, and when making a sketch with pen or ink that white ground is a given. The situation is different for metalpoint artists, who must first prepare the surface on which to create their composition. That might not seem like a big deal, but consider the oeuvre of D. Lammie-Hanson, a contemporary master of the Medieval technique who specializes in pictures of Black bodies rendered with a splendor and precision that recall the work of Charles White. It matters immensely that Lammie-Hanson’s finely detailed portrait of Erykah Badu in one of her trademark giant hats is drawn onto a canvas pre-coated with matte black acrylic: that black becomes the base color out of which the singer emerges. Likewise, in an enormous six-panel study of a dancer gracefully falling through the air, the default color is the dark indigo paint that was laid down first. In these works, there is no white, only deep blacks and blues, plus trace elements of brass, silver and gold. The results are rich and glorious.
—Lori Waxman 2021-02-12 9:09 AM