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Caroline Henry Art Blog

Scratchboard for dramatic contrast

by Caroline , July 30, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: Clay board, Landscape, ink, making art, materials, scratch, scratchboard, sea scape

One of the things I like about scratchboard is working with a black starting point and then taking the whites and grays back out of the surface. The potential for drama is strong. Colors may be added or the work may be at its best left black and white. I love the moonlight effect of the white highlights on the black surface in my "Moonlit Beach" which appears in my "Drawings & Scratch" ArtId gallery.

I usually use a pre-inked surface (I like the one produced by Claybord), while others prefer inking their own. An advantage to having india ink on hand is ease in repairing errors. In the photo here I had begun to work the face of a cliff, scraping away large rock wall areas while leaving rock shadow. As you can see, I had already been working the ocean. I used a lot of horizontal strokes, mimicking the wave action of the ocean. I had defines the tree tops on the hills behind the village of Mendocino, but any details of the community were yet to come. At this point I had used two of my scratch tools, a point and a wide blade. Later I would bring in some steel wool for work on the sky.

Although I introduced some color, the distant trees would be left almost entirely in the black ink as part of a feeling of distance and twilight. In my next blog I will share the completed painting and some comments on my decisions about color for it.



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