About My Mediums

About The Mediums


Save The Wetlands

SCRATCH BOARD ART (also called scratchart and claybord art):
This stunning medium is very overlooked in the art world. It is a labor and time intensive process of engraving that achieves rich texture and detail making it an ideal medium for wildlife art. A stiff art board or masonite board is sprayed with a thin coat of white Kaolin pottery clay which is over sprayed with black India ink. Using very sharp needle like tools the artist layers many hundreds of thousands of tiny marks etched through the ink to reveal the white clay to construct the image. There is little room for error as this is a most unforgiving medium requiring the ability to plan ahead, have an understanding of light and shadow and possess an abundance of patience. This is my favorite medium. As I work I enter a meditative state and just about become one with the piece. The finished engraving can be colored with inks, or paints creating a striking finish that appears very life like. I, however, often prefer the eloquent drama of the inherent black and white. Artists may also choose to work on white clay board that has not yet been sprayed with black ink. They can use graphite, water color, oils, colored pencils or acrylics, even water color, then mask an area to spray with India ink for engraving or scratch through the applied pigment. I am only just beginning to experiment with the white clayboard.  Scratch board engravings are varnished and can be hung without mat or glass, however, they do remain vulnerable and I personally prefer both the protection and appearance of a matted and glassed piece.


When folk see me working in pastels, they often ask whether these are chalks like they used in school. No; pastels are pure ground pigments mixed with a barely moist water soluble binder into a paste (hence the name pastel), rolled into tubes and cut into sticks and dried. They can be very soft or very hard. Pastel has a crystalline structure which can be clearly seen under a microscope where it looks like so many brilliant colored diamonds. This structure can be damaged by moisture or pressure compromising the vibrant brilliance of this medium, so I do not use fixative except sometimes in lower layers, and seldom finger blend. I allow the sticks of color to blend with previously laid colors as I apply them. Pastel is probably the most durable medium when properly cared for, kept away from light and moisture, protected with a mat under glass. It will not fade, crack or yellow as can happen with other mediums.

 All paint mediums use the same ground pigments. They differ only in the binder used to hold the pigments together. Pastels use a dry binder, Water colors use a water soluble binder, Acrylics use a plastic or acrylic binder and Oils are bound with different oils such as linseed oil.  each medium handles differently and can achieve different effects from other mediums. Transparent water color is noted for liveliness with its bright highlights and stain glass transparency. Acrylics dry rapidly allowing layering of colors without blending although blended effects can be achieved too. Oils dry slowly and allow interesting layers of color enhanced with thin glazes of paint that maintain a transparency and glow.
All mediums will retain their vibrancy and life better if protected from direct light and moisture.