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So, what the heck is Scratchbord(TM)????

Some of my quickest selling works were done on Scratchbord(TM).  Say Whaaaat?  Scratchbord (TM)  Scratchbord(TM) is manufactured by Ampersand.  Ampersand manufactures multiple art surfaces, most common are claybord, aquabord, pastelbord and more.  The panels I paint on most often are Ampersand products.  Scratchbord is a clay coated hardboard panel for scratchboard that is coated with India ink. It is infinitely more durable and easier to use than traditional “Scratch” papers and similar surfaces that some of you may have used in school. The clay coated hardboard makes a rigid surface to work on, and when you use the custom tools like a tiny knife, steel wool and wire brushes you can take your time scratching through the ink down to the white clay methodically, allowing for highly realist images with depths of shadow.  The most well known of my scratchbord works is the pet portrait “Little Bear” which I posted in the December 4th issue on Pet Portraits.  I have, however done many others.  I love working with it.  It takes me back to my “drawing” roots which I began as a child, using pencils and charcoal sticks.  I can sit for hours scratching detail into the board. It is “zen” for me. Here are some images of the process:

First, a drawing on paper
Then, transfer drawing to board (outside lines only at first) then begin directional scratching
Adding in some color (inks)
The finished piece

I don’t always add in full color.  Sometimes just a touch is the right approach:

Daisies Daisies (sold)

Tools used in this piece were simple.  Everything but the centers was done with the knife (rightmost tool in the kit).  The centers, used the stiff brush (left most red handled tool) which creates multiple lines at once.  I hope this has given you a basic understanding of exactly what scratchbord(TM) is and what beautiful works can be created with this wonderful product!

 

 

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Custom Pet Portraits Preserve Precious Memories

I have been doing pet portraits for about 30 years.  Like most things, it started with my pets.  Then when family members saw what I had done, they wanted portraits of their pets.  My Dad’s cats.  My sister’s dog.  And it spread from there.  I’ve lost count of how many I have done, but I can say they are hanging in homes across the country.  As time went on I expanded the media I employed.  First it was all watercolor.  Here are some the earliest ones:

This was my first one.  My two cats, Jessica (the grey

Jessica and Gizmo stole my chair

one) and Gizmo (the Tabby).  I really loved those two.  Jessica was with me for 24 years.  Two weeks after Jessica crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Gizmo passed.  He died of a broken heart.  I realized just now I did a second painting of them.  It is the second one below.

Playing Hide and Seek

They were always chasing each other around. When they weren’t napping, that is.  When my parents saw these, they wanted one of their cats.  They were the funniest pair I’ve ever encountered and capturing photos became the biggest challenge.  They were litter-mates and always together.  Cutie Pies.  I called this “Better Water Here”.

Better Water Here

 

 

As I mentioned, they it was my sister.  She was crazy about her rottweiler, Rip, and when she lost him, it was time to paint my first dog.  Fortunately she had quite few good photos, and she mailed them to me.  This is the result:

Krissy’s Rip

 

From this one, word spread.  I began to take orders from her friends, and my friends, then friends of our friends!  Since then, I’ve done portraits in Acrylic, Soft pastel and Scratchbord (TM).  Scratchbord portraits are some of my favorites, but are best with the pet is white, or mostly white.  Here are a couple of samples:

Ceasar: Ink and Sratchbord Black Pet Portrait
Little Bear: Ink and Scratcbord Black Pet Portrait

So, what is Scratchbord? It is actually white clay, baked on to Masonite, then coated 32 times with black India Ink. The manufacturer is Ampersand.

So that is how I buy it.  I then use a tiny knife, steel wool and various other specialized tools, to scratch through the ink, down to the white clay, leaving as much ink as is needed to create depth and texture.  Then I use ink to paint in features such as the eyes, and the pinks and blues visible in Ceasar (the cat).  I’ve done hundreds.  I have never had one rejected.  I know the owners love their paintings as much as I love to recall the antics of my cats when I look at those paintings.

Most pet portraits take a few weeks to complete.  Pricing is based primarily on size, but if you want a scratchbord piece remember it is really only good for white or mostly white animals.  I can use paper, canvas, panel/wood for watercolor, oil pastel, soft pastel or acrylic.  You can view how various media look on the pet portraits page here.

I need 5 or 6 photos of the pet.  You can choose to have me paint a particular photo that you love, or ask me to paint a composite with fully realistic impression of the pet.  I require a 50% deposit, with balance due upon final acceptance of the piece.  You can contact me with the form below to get a quote.  Standard sizes are 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 10 x 12, 10 x 10, 12 x 16, 12 x 12, 16 x 16 or 16 x 20.  I can go bigger but it starts getting expensive and takes up alot of wall space.

Save those precious memories!  Order a Pet Portrait!

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