Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

Scratch Art 4

More scratch art work inspired by a class I took at Woodmere Art Museum in spring 2021. Look here for the first post, which explains the origins of this inspiration and some general background on the medium.

This photo is taken from the flood plain as seen from the Pennypack Rail Trail near the Wlesh Road parking lot, back when there was a little snow still on the ground.

I am medium pleased with this image. On its own it has a certain look of stark snow cold and spiky trees that I like. But, once again, I planned in my mind for a pen drawing and then set to work on scratch board. This time I could not find the balance of mark-making that would let me have areas of black/white in pretty equal balance.

The reason that this happened was…I love making marks on the board. I like the way it feels, I like the meditative process of making small scratches, and I like playing around with different marks.

That is all well and good except for when you realize you have marked and scratched your way into a total white expanse where you did not mean to.

Note to self: Contain your enthusiasm. You do not have to alter every single inch of the board. No matter how much fun it is to scratch and scrape and….

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Haiku 812

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Haiku 812

What is it you say
about keeping our secrets?
Yes, I can. I will.

2/21/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 10

Auto Repair Shop

This pen sketch, in my 8″ x 8″ book, shows you a place I have passed many times in the 30+ years I have lived in this area. Recently I took a photo when I was on my way past it to get my hair cut. The little car with its mouth open caught my eye.

Auto repair shop, Keswick Avenue, Glenside, PA. 5/21.

Scratch Art 3

More scratch art work inspired by a class I took at Woodmere Art Museum in spring 2021. Look here for the first post, which explains the origins of this inspiration and some general background on the medium.

This photo is of the side of a warehouse/factory building in Allentown, PA.

Here is the image. In retrospect, I wonder why I chose to do this image. I think I was visualizing it as I would handle it with pen. You don’t get the same effects with scratchboard as you would with a pen, of course, and I had just the plan to handle the bricks and shadows and so on…in pen, but I was doing a scratchboard image. I realized too late into the process that filing in the bricks to any extent would turn this into another mush of evenly-balanced black and white marks with no focal point. Oops.

Lesson learned: choose your image carefully. Visualize how you will go about producing before you dive in. Remember, once you make a mark, there is no going back!

I decided to let this picture be a practice-your-mark-making event and once I focused on that, I enjoyed trying out different ways to make different tones.

I do like how the door turned out. I learned more about creating details with the medium and the tools in this image.

Family Residence

A focus of my 2021 summer art is drawing and sketching. I’ve been away from it for a little bit while I was doing so much painting in the winter and spring. Now I am interested in chronicling, in a mild kind of way, my current life. Rather than dig through my photo archive for subjects I hope to choose scenes, however mundane, from what I am doing at the moment.

My process works this way: I go somewhere, I take photos, I draw something.

Yes, that is it. I’m not much interested in drawing at the site: I like taking photos and I like covering a lot of ground wherever I might be, so sitting and drawing generally doesn’t appeal to me. I prefer to be at home and work from the pictures I took.

This way I get to enjoy both photography and the pen.

Here is a recent drawing. It’s the home of my son, daughter-in-law, and their marvelous baby. It’s in a row on a shady street, very pleasant place! We visited not long ago and I worked from a photo I took then. I show you the image on its page in the sketchbook and then cropped, since the picture didn’t take up all the page.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Shadorma 273 and 275

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Note: Two poems were written for this page.

Shadorma 273

Odd place here
to stop and talk. Why
did you choose
desolate
and deserted? And why are
the crows silent now?

2/21/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 9

*******

Shadorma 275

Lost in thought
she is and I know
keep quiet
Interrupt
and I risk one more tirade
or worse still the tears

3/6/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 9

Scratch Art 2

More scratch art work inspired by a class I took at Woodmere Art Museum in spring 2021. Look here for the first post, which explains the origins of this inspiration and some general background on the medium.

Here’s another one. The photo is of a building in the train yard in Bryn Mawr, PA. I was intrigued by a lot of scenes in this yard and took a lot of photos. I like this one for all the shapes and lines.

And here is the image. I think this one had a lot of potential but the black/white balance is off – it’s too evenly distributed between the tones. I should have left the roof at left in solid black and then it would be fine.

On the other hand, there is a lot to look at here – I am happy with how I depicted the scene as far as the lines and composition.

Lesson learned. You can take away the black color and once it is gone, it is gone. There is a procedure for cleaning up small problems but not large areas, and in reality, no error correction in this medium looks good, I think.

Note to self: Try to map out the blacks/whites very clearly in your mind before you start to cut away and…pause to review the image as you go along.

Leftover from class: Not Angry

Remember my class from this winter/spring? I had a couple more paintings in progress as the class finished, both one hundred percent to the abstract side of the scale. As a reminder, the class was about exploring the continuum of doing art from abstract to realistic (or vice versa) – the idea being that every work exists somewhere on this spectrum.

This one is called “Not Angry” and it’s 18″ x 24″ on masonite, done in acrylics.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: That I Knew

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

That I Knew

I followed that faint
track across the field
no one had come this
way in a while and
so between the thorn
bushes tangled up
on the one side and
the scruffy tired weeds
in the yellow dirt
other side they were
eyeing each other
in a hard sort of
way and I felt I
had interrupted
some kind of standoff
just about to let
loose so I stepped high
and fast along the
track heading for the
darkest part seemed like
to me of the woods
and no I was not
exactly keen on
the look of it but
where the track went was
where I had to go.
That
I knew.

I walked on through this
July evening with
flicks of grasshoppers
still flipping and gone
hopping out in front
of me even this
late in dim twilight
and I walked on out
along the track nor
did I hesitate
nor falter. The grass
as soon as my foot
had flattened it down
in the one step then
before the next one
it was gone springing
right back up behind
I did not look back
no looking back would
tell me any more
That
I knew.

2/21/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 8
each line 5 syllables