Monday, April 5, 2010

Back to the Stations

You may remember - long, long ago - before I embarked on the workshop posts, I did one on how to Make your own Scraperboard, which I had happened upon as a way to make the Stations of the Cross for Good Friday. It's not entirely appropriate now as we celebrate the happy, joyous side of Easter - but I've been scraping away at my prepared boards in between other things, using my son as a model (cause for contemplation) for some of the figure studies and summoning other images, scratch by scratch, out of the blackness. I haven't had a chance to sit down and scan, photograph and post all the images until now. For those who are interested in seeing all the Stations, they are over here at the brand new St Peter's blog.

The torso and the disembodied hands on the big wooden cross that is a permanent fixture of the church garden worked well - unobtrusive but drawing a closer look.
For anyone who might want to try this technique, a few things I've discovered...
  • Do put two coats of white paint on the undercoat and two layers of wax polish, it doesn't give a bright white line through the black ink with just one.
  • Don't prepare your board too far in advance - if the Indian ink gets too dry and brittle, it chips off rather than scrapes cleanly.
  • On paper, this seems to be quite a stable medium, but on board it is very fragile! A splash of water or a brush past of a sleeve lifts the ink right off the wax surface so when finished...
  • Seal the finished art with a spray varnish - I used Grumbacher gloss acrylic painting varnish - not a paint-on varnish or medium, the ink will wipe off like water from a duck's back!
  • A craft knife with a snap-off blade is great for producing a wide variety of lines from broad
    sweeps with the flat edge to the finest thin line - I found I didn't need anything else.

7 comments:

alison staite said...

Cathy - I just looked at the whole set and my mouth is agape. They look fantastic, huge congratulations!!

Sandra said...

This is so clever. I have never tried using a scraper board before. The effect is amazing! I think it's the perfect approach to your chosen subject.

Charlene Brown said...

Your Stations of the Cross on the St Peter's site is simply wonderful, Cathy. You've used this technique to produce the barest amount of superb detail in these stark images -- exactly the way this story should be told

Cathy Gatland said...

Thank you so much Alison, Sandra and Charlene - it really is a very effective technique, and surprisingly quick!

Marie Theron said...

Your sketches amaze me, Cathy.The emotion in your work is so genuine.

Scraperboard is such a difficult medium, where no mistakes are tolerated and nothing can be corrected. If I plan to try it , it will be according to your very informative notes! Mmmm, I hid my very good craft knife when a curious little grandson visited, and cannot find it!

E-mail me before you visit the West Coast again and drop in for coffee and painting!

Robyn said...

Such an extraordinary, powerful series, Cathy. I really am in awe. My personal favourite is 'they remove his clothes,' it is so tender. Brava, brava, brava.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

This is so fantastic and lovely !! Enjoyed this post !!