|Jorge Warde was born in Córdoba, Argentina, on September 7, 1946. Since an early age he was keen on pen and ink drawing. When he was 10 years old he received a copy of Don Quixote illustrated by Gustavo Doré. He was impressed by the illustrations and decided to study, using a magnifying glass, how the different shades of grey were performed, and tried to imitate them. When he was an adolescent he worked with pen and ink. The subject was huge imaginary machinery. These works of 50 x 70 cm in size took Warde up to 4 months of elaboration. Why did he choose this subject? Probably because since he was a young child his father used to take him to his textile factory for a visit, where there were huge machines that processed threads into large rolls of cloth. These images became permanently engraved on Warde's memory.
In 1972 the writer and zoologist Dr. Jorge Washington Abalos came to Córdoba from Santiago del Estero, where he had founded the Venomous Animals Institute. He had obtained a position at the University of Córdoba (Argentina) in the chair of Zoology and asked Jorge Warde to work with him as a scientific illustrator. Later, Jorge Abalos founded the Centro de Zoología Aplicada (Center for Applied Zoology, with its well-known Serpentarium), belonging to the Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (School of Natural, Physic and Exact Sciences of the National University of Córdoba). Warde's task at this center is to perform with pen and ink biological illustrations for researchers from CONICET (National Council of Scientific and Technological Research) working there. At the same time, the artist started his studies at the School of Art, Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities (National University of Córdoba), where he improved the technique of pen and ink with Professor Raúl Pecker. He got his degree of "Licenciado en Grabado" (a five-year course of study in Etching, similar to a Bachelor's degree) at this school in 1974. He was awarded the prize "Universidad Nacional de Córdoba" for his high grades. He continued his studies and got a degree of "Profesor Superior de Educación en Artes Plásticas" (professor of education in Fine Arts, which allows him to teach at university level).
He has moved up positions in his activities as professor At present, he is Full Adjunct Professor (position obtained after his academic performance was judged by a qualification board) in the chairs of Techniques and Materials of Etching. He also has a position as professor at the chair of Drawing II.
Warde's artistic production
His biological illustration works at the Center for Applied Zoology led him to a new subject of his artistic works: birds and wildlife art. He is interested in wood textures, surrounding vegetation and landscapes that make up the habitat of the birds he paints. The specialist Mercedes Morra de Bianchi gave an accurate definition of Warde's work in an article published in the prestigious newspaper "La Voz del Interior": "the hyper-realism prevailing in some artistic sectors of the 70's have provided Warde with a base of universal validity to assume his own capacity of realism, largely cultivated in his work as a scientific drawer. This work demanded strict discipline, detailed observation (using microscope at times), and the use of an abstraction element many times ignored in this field of reality interpretation that scientific drawing entails: the permanent movement of the net vision focus in each centimeter of the plane, when all of us know for sure that real vision experience provides us with small neat sectors and large gradually blurring areas out of that focus. Jorge Warde's drawing is definitely anti-impressionist, based on one of the premises of the latest hyper-realism: the "sharp focus" option, in all the plane surface. The third impact perceived, and here we must go from analysis to synthesis, is the combination of the elements mentioned with the lyric spirit of the creator who combines his handicraft and capacity of a technically experienced observer with a fantastic and subjective game that in some of its images reminds us of old stories illustrators (Gustavo Dore's influence)".
Novel use of the stylograph
Wildile artist Warde replaced the nib and ink with the stylograph, Rotring trademark, which allowed him to work faster and to achieve the same effects as with the old nib. The grey shades that Warde got with these stylographs were really difficult to obtain. The company Rotring-Pelikan became interested in Warde's work, and specialists verified that Warde worked only with 0.1 point, the finest of the trademark. This point has an even stroke that is usually used for drawings or planes, but Warde obtained strokes that were three times finer. How did he achieve it? He held the stylograph from the upper part, brought the point near the paper and left a subtle trace of the stroke at the right place, beating the stylograph. He needed so much concentration for this work, that the heat of the hand bent the plastic part of the stylograph where Warde held it. Although this detail seems trivial, its has been verified by the factory experts analyzing several stylographs.
At that time, Rotring organized an exhibition of Warde's wildlife art works with stylographs in Buenos Aires. On that occasion the art critic Rosa Faccaro, from the newspaper Clarín, commented: "on the white scene of paper, the ink flowing from the artist's hand questions the emptiness, talks with it, puts shadow or light to it, opens and closes the lines that breath on the paper. The visual game of close or far positions appears; Jorge Warde stops at that hallucinated approximation of a surface - wood of unpredictable grains that he discovers in old pieces of furniture. That is where he revives the environment of a nest, hidden and cozy space, giving life with the clear shape of the bird to the warm niche where it settles. The image has the white that gives light and the black that emphasizes, he draws as an engraver".
First experiences with color
Stimulated by his persistent esthetic pursuit, Warde decides to color his wildlife illustration works. The artist's hobby in his free time was photography. Let's remember that during that time (late 60's, early 70's) photographs were only in black and white. Kodak launches into the market a special product to give color to photographs. It was a booklet with sheets impregnated with a colored substance. The paint was obtained with paintbrush and water, which was then diluted in a mixer until the desired color was obtained; in that way the photographs were colored. Warde used this product in his works, with satisfactory results because the colors were intense and transparent, and allowed the base drawing to be seen. Some time later, this product was no longer available in the market, so Warde replaced it with Rotring color ink. The range of colors comprised the earthy, yellow, brown, red and green shades that he mixed inside the stylograph tanks.
The works improved visually. Warde combined the colors with the color of the paper used as support material (color papers Ingres trademark).
Acrylic paintings (dry brush)
The bird illustrator met the animalist painter Axel Amuchástegui (also from Córdoba) at an exhibition, and showed him his drawings colored with pen. Amuchástegui was amazed at Warde's work (a 50 x 70 cm piece, of 4 months of work with Rotring 0.1 point). Warde became interested in the dry brush technique that Amuchastegui used in his wildlife art works. The maestro explained Warde how to perform the technique: "paintbrushes made of marten fur No. 0.00.1 are used, either English paintbrushes Windsor and Newton trademarks, or Dutch Rembrandt. The acrylics used are of Liquitex type". How is the dry brush used? The paintbrush is loaded with acrylic, the excess is left on a piece of paper; trials should be made until a hair-thick line is obtained; only then it is time to start working on the canvas (previously prepared). Birds feathers are painted one at a time. As it can be noticed, a work of this type demands not only creativity but also a very detailed elaboration. Warde's subject at present is birds from Argentina and their natural environment, using paper and canvas as support material.
Experiences using new support materials
Using this technique, wildlife artist Warde has performed a valuable collection of paintings of birds from Argentina on rheas' eggshells (Rhea americana), which are individually signed and numbered. The artist retains the copyright pursuant to the Act No. 11729. This is the first series of the kind produced in Argentina, and has 25 eggs.
To perform his works, he takes as models embalmed birds, photographs of his own and from books. To achieve the accuracy characteristic of his paintings, Warde takes advice from Dr. Manuel Nores, a renowned researcher from CONICET and National University of Córdoba