Sunday, May 25, 2014

Northern Flicker - Finished

"Northern Flicker" 2014
scratchboard on black Ampersand board
Done with #11 scalpel 
Reference photo from Rodney Campbell on Paint My Photo

There was a previous post about this one and the process. I used a board that had previously been scratched and scraped off. It was an interesting experiment but I won't be doing that again. Every little mark in the board became highlighted when I sprayed the finish coats on it. It's not totally horrible, but the board doesn't have the beautiful pristine black that is normally a scratchboard characteristic. 
In this image I heavily retouched it using Photoshop to get the rich blacks again. I would probably sell the image, but at a discounted price. With the retouching though I can still offer this as a print. 
So, lesson learned - don't reuse boards in this way.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Holding Court

"Holding Court" 2014
7x5" scratchboard on black Ampersand board
Colored with Ampersand inks
From my own reference photo
Done mostly with a #11 scalpel blade and light use of a fiberglass brush to soften fur in some places.

Barely Awake

"Barely Awake" 2014
5x7" Scratchboard on black Ampersand board
From my own reference photo
Scratched mostly with #11 scalpel and #11 Exacto blades. Highlights in white with a scoop shaped scratchboard tool.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Website and a Show

I've finally developed a full website over on weebly. It went fairly well and I like the way it turned out.
Here is the link: Sandra LaFaut: Scratchboard

Yesterday was the awards portion of a local art show. I entered 2 pieces. Both were accepted and the bobcat won 2nd place in graphics which came with a cash award. It was also given the honorary title of 'most boring title' - "Bobcat". Guess I'll work on titles more before showing again!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Experimenting with a Northern Flicker

I guess you could call this one a personal challenge on starting with a goofy board which once had a traced portrait start, then the inked and heavily scratched start of a red-tailed hawk, then totally scraped and re-inked with a brush and now has the flicker started on it. You can see what happened with the white chalk and the fingerprints (the ink wasn't wet but still seemed to grab the prints like a magnet) and also the heavy brush texture of the ink.

I like what the brush texture is doing in the background - it's a bit treeish. And the fingerprints, which would not come off btw, are now incorporated as diffused light. So it's coming along in an interesting way. If it finishes well I'll be happy, if it doesn't I'll still have learned a few more things. I'm having fun with it. This is a 6x8" board that started its journey as a white Claybord. The reference photo is from Rodney Campbell over on Paint My Photo.

The heavy ink is a bit of a challenge to scratch in some places and some of the vertical brush marks are visible through the bird, but it doesn't bother me artistically since it is a texture over the entire board.

I probably won't do color on this.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


"Mesmerized" 2014
9x12" on black Ampersand board
From my own reference photo of my backyard fish
done mostly with a #11 scalpel and a #11 exacto blade

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spray Finishes

A good teaching video on spraying finishing varnish on artwork. It's by Golden but should work for any spray finish.
It seems spraying scratchboard is the bane of any artist, even with some jokingly saying to do it while taking Valium. There seem to be many opinions on which sprays are the best, but standard advice is:
spray on warm, dry days
spray in a dust free area
don't mix brands or types of spray - it can cause cloudiness and even cracking
Edited:  I just bought and used Lascaux UV Protect Semi-Matte finish and I will keep buying it for now. It sprayed well, gives just a very soft sheen to the artwork, deepened the blacks nicely, and didn't show dust much at all. It is quite expensive compared to most other brands and it really has a strong toxic smell - use a respirator!
Edited again: I finally got a great finish on one - I put the board at the 45 degree angle recommended then sprayed with 5 very light coats with about 15 minutes between each. No orange peel, no dust spots, no gloppy stuff.