Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Knock, Knock?

Have you ever taken a close look at door knockers? Some of the designs are quite fascinating. On a recent trip to Europe I took many pictures of doorknockers. I found many intricately patterned and whimsical varieties and this week's art feature is one of those.

Titled "Oh-fish-al Greeter", it is drawn with colour conte (see below).

"Oh-fish-al Greeter"
10" X 8", Colour conté, 2009

Door knockers at once are both decorative and practical. They express the personality of the owner while they save the knuckles of the visitor. No longer as useful as they once were they continue to be popular today for their own sake.

For my website I did a series of door knockers that I called called "What Knockers!" Each knocker image features related iconic symbols in bottom left hand corner. The "fishy" example above is completed with a "hook, line and sinker".

What is conté?

"Conté, also known as Conté sticks or Conté crayons, are a drawing medium composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay base, square in cross-section. They were invented in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who created the combination of clay and graphite in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars (the British naval blockade of France prevented import). Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce, and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness. They are now manufactured using natural pigments (iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay (kaolin), and a binder (cellulose ether). Conté crayons are most commonly found in black, white, and sanguine tones, as well as bistre, shades of grey, and other colors." Wikipedia
I used a colour conté for the door knocker series.


  1. So sensitively rendered! Beautifully detailed.

  2. I think you would have to have an interesting house to carry off a door knocker like that!


    Stewart M - Melbourne

  3. You continually amaze me with your talent.