Tag Archives: drawing

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.

Seance on the back of an invoice

I am not sure what the method of divination is here but I am sure of the scene: a seance or some form of psychic encounter in progress.

I am also not sure why I drew this picture but I do know where I did it – on the back of a receipt/invoice, from a bookshop. It was sitting on the table, ready to be thrown out, and I grabbed it and drew on it to pass some time.

I guess we can say the spirit moved me to do this. Yes, I know, groan, groan, but do you have any better answer?

Pen, May, 2021.

Scratch Art 1

Well, you remember the class I took earlier this year at the Woodmere Museum (look at this previous post for an explanation and a way to dig into the other work I did in this class) – where we focused on abstract/realism and how they relate to each other, or merge into each other.

In one of the class discussions someone mentioned “scratch art”, and I remembered having done some images on scratchboard a few years ago. Scratchboard is a masonite backing coated with white clay and covered with India ink (for details: Look here). You use various tools to scrape the ink off to reveal the white underneath.

I knew I had a few unused boards somewhere around. Suddenly I felt I had to work with them, and I decided to use them for that week’s homework assignment, which was to use an artist’s work from the German Expressionist movement to inspire your own. There are lots of black and white images done by printing methods that I have noticed from our class presentations, and I figured I’d use the scratchboard as my material and these images as my insipiration.

I chose some photos to work with and found some 6″ x 6″ boards. I’ll show you the results over a few posts. See what you think. I had a lot of fun with it and I ordered more boards so that I could do more work in this medium.

Here’s the first one. It’s a familiar scene to me and you may remember drawings I have done of this building – the Getty Cottage at the Norristown Farm Park. Here’s a snow scene.

And here is the image. I’m happy with this piece. I think I captured the feeling of the scene and I have a good balance of black and white tones here.

A House Nearby

I am familiar with this house from way back. It’s in an area that I have taken walks in or driven through for decades – it’s near the library in Glenside. Until fairly recently it was a wreck – one side was covered by vines, for instance. But then it got an updo and has new owners and looks beautiful. I did this drawing in fall of 2020 but the photo was from a little earlier in the summer, I think.

Here is the photo:

And here is the drawing. It’s 8″ x 8″ and done with a fine pen.

Small Wordless Sketchbook 2020 Pages 24 and 25

In March-June 2020 I created a sketchbook full of art made from odds and ends I had saved. The book has no words, just pictures. I am showing you the whole book, two facing pages at a time. The book was finished in June. I made it to help myself feel better as I passed through the early days of the pandemic.

Here are the project’s specifics.The book is a mixed media sketchbook that’s 5.5″ x 7.5″. I used collage materials including magazine pages and scraps of my own discarded artworks, as well as acrylic paints and inks, India ink, and pens, regular brushes, and bamboo brushes.

Here are the pages as they appear in the book…

Here is a more detailed look at the images.