Tag Archives: Getty Cottage

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.

Getty Cottage from all sides

I’ve drawn this building from several angles, I realize, looking through my sketchbook. Let’s get the full picture once and for all.

Getty Cottage is a building at Norristown Farm Park, a place where I often run or walk. I’ve written plenty about the park and its history – short story being that the park was once the farm attached to the adjacent Norristown State Hospital. It was thought beneficial for mental patients to engage in work if they were able, and for decades this land provided food and work for the institution.

Before that time, though, it was private farmland, and this house dates to that period. There are other houses similar to Getty Cottage scattered around the park, all of them in a state of disrepair – Getty Cottage is in the best shape of any of them and is still in use, though I am not sure for what purpose.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the place. Here is a view from the back – you may remember it because I posted this picture some time back. The drawing shares a page with a depiction of the hospital’s power house, located not too far from this house.

Here is the back from the other end of the building, from July 2020.

Here is a view of the front, from June, 2020.

I think I will need to visit this location in the winter, find a different angle, and see what I end up with. What do you think?