Category Archives: Drawing

Southbound Toll Plaza on 95 in Baltimore MD

I’m trying to do a little more drawing. This summer (and on and on, for who knows how long, I guess until I get some new idea) I’m drawing recents sights from my daily life.

Here is a view of a toll plaza in Baltimore MD from a trip to Washington DC we made in May 2021. Pen and ink and the notebook is about 8″ x 6″ or so.

Scratch Art 7

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 view through a store window in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA

And below is the image. I selected what looked to me to be the dominating lines and shapes that made of the picture, and carefully though out how I would portray them. When I began the drawing process (and as always, I do no preliminary drawings on paper, I just start in on the board), I worked more slowly and with thought.

There are some areas I wish I could have done a bit better, but overall, I like how this one turned out. I feel the black/white balance is good, the composition has a flow to it that the black and white areas carry out well, and there are those mysterious feet…so the picture has a little intrigue to it.

Of course you know from the source image they are the feet of the mannequin, but in the art piece, well, you just don’t know, do you? I like that.

This finishes my first series of scratch art pictures. I have ordered more boards and will be doing this again. Soon.

Scratch Art 6

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 a view looking down from the long bridge over the Schuylkill on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail connecting Bala Cynwyd, PA, and the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk.

I am medium pleased with this image. I feel there is a lack of complexity of line here, and therefore of tone. I was reminded of my problems with the Allentown warehouse picture, where I should have picked my details that I included more judiciously, and I held back on scraping more black away. I was not sure what I wanted to do. In the end, I decided to stop work and decide later if it is finished or not. I can always make amendments later on.

I do like the stark shapes and the clarity of this picture.

Scratch Art 5

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 was taken at the Delaware Art Museum in the Pre-Raphaelite gallery.

And here is the scratch art, in two different incarnations. The story is, I went along with the image and everything was going just great. In my first (and probably best idea) I left the whole background black. No images exist of this phase because I thought: hmmm, I must have something more to this picture. So I will make the background white.

I started scratching away from the left side. Soon I realized I wished I had not done it. But as you by now know, too late. I salvaged the picture and ended up with this:

I consoled myself with how nicely I had done the carpet, but I never got happy. I hated that weird shape the background now has, and I wanted it to be one color, and my only choice left now was white.

I got out the tools and worked it over. It’s better, now, but still lacking. Lesson learned (again): every inch of the surface does not need to be touched. No matter how enticing the large open black areas are, no matter how much your tool wishes to dig in – sometimes you must leave them alone.

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….

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.

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.