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I will be showing how I did “Maryann’s Rose” … you may remember this from the article published in the International Artists Magazine. It is named for my mother, who passed away.
Let’s begin with the materials I use for the benefit of those who are new to this medium. Today’s scratch art is done on a variety of surfaces, but I prefer Claybord Black because of it’s hard masonite backing and smooth, white Kaolin clay/India ink surface, which can stand the repeated scratching that is often necessary for desired results. The tools used to scratch are varied, my preference being a scalpel (#11 blade) which can be purchased at a medical supply outlet... I have also used an xacto knife, very fine steel wool, a fiber glass tool made for scratchboard and even an eraser.
I generally work from a photograph, but I will scan it into the computer and manipulate the image, first to find a desirable composition and then I lighten or darken it until I’m satisfied with it and print it out. I make a simple drawing of it, and then transfer the basic outline, to the board using white Chacopaper. This charcoal based paper is quite white, which shows up well and it is easily removed. Some transfer papers have a waxy coating which is very difficult to remove and therefore undesirable.
I use a soft cloth to rest my arm/hand on. It is important to have very clean hands when working with claybord as oils left behind by fingerprints, etc. are difficult to remove. Although the final finishing spray will sometimes cover them, I would rather not take that chance.
For this demonstration I used the following materials:
8 X 10 sheet of Claybord Black
Claybord inks: yellow, carmine and ultramarine blue
Higgins Black India Ink
Assorted brushes in various sizes (for applying the inks)
A soft cloth
Clear Matte Acrylic spray sealer
The methods I use are by no means the only way to do it…just my way of doing it.
I start scratching, usually at the top of the image, very lightly at first, using a combination of long and short strokes in a crosshatching pattern. When doing this, I use very small light-handed scratches, so I can repeat it if I find it necessary. As I am scratching, I follow the direction and shape of the petals (something I do no matter what subject I’m scratching). I complete each petal as I progress, scratching over it again and again until I reach the desired level of whiteness. Because I intend to paint this rose, I scratch it in a bit whiter than I normally would. In some areas I will use watered down India ink to ‘tone’ the scratches. This allows me to scratch again to fill in an area and give it a velvety look.
After I complete the first scratching of the rose, I begin to color it, using first the yellow ink in the lightest areas and then with a mixture of one part yellow to four parts carmine to make a red. Here I have one petal in yellow, the petal above it has one coat of yellow and one coat of red; the petals to the left have one coat of yellow and two coats of red. The ink is highly transparent and the colors extremely pigment saturated, making them very rich, which also means a very little goes a very long way. They can be watered down to lighten as desired.
The rose has now been completely colored with one yellow and 2 red layers. In the very darkest of the scratched areas, I added a tiny bit of ultramarine blue to darken the red mixture. After waiting to be sure it is absolutely dry, I start to scratch back into the rose, the areas I wish to be brighter and more highlighted, then give the rose another coat of the yellow/red ink mixture.
I decided to add a dewdrop to finish it off.
When I have lived with the piece for a few days and am sure I am finished, I spray the piece with a clear acrylic sealer. It is an important step as the clay is very porous and will absorb dirt and dust from the air.
From beginning to end…