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Branwen Drew Scratches Opening Reception

Posted by: Branwen Drew

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Branwen Drew Scratches Opening Reception

I have little formal training as an artist. I am mostly self-taught with occasional classes many years ago at the Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts. I took two drawing and painting classes while a student at Cornell. I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. My favorite media is scratchboard. My work has recently been inspired by my journey as a trans woman.

Scratchboard is a board or heavy paper layered with China clay (kaolinite). It is overlayed with black India ink. A sharp instrument is then used to scratch away the black ink. I started using scratchboard in the early 1980s. I read an article in American Artist about its history and how it is done. I wanted to try something different and not commonly seen. The idea of bringing out light instead of adding dark intrigued me. Since then, I have found scratchboard to be more satisfying to me than any other media.

I often start with a photograph I took or sketches I did previously. Using transfer paper (chalk on the undersurface) and a pencil, I lay the transfer paper on the scratchboard and then the printed image or sketch. I then trace over major lines and areas in the picture. This results in a white chalk line on the surface of the scratchboard. I then use a sharp instrument to scratch in the lines and to bring out highlights. Shades of gray are accomplished with crosshatching and stippling. Color can be added using a brush and watercolor, ink, and other wet media. The color areas can then be scratched again to give different tones.


8554 Turin Road

Rome, NY 13440


August 4th, 2020 (Tuesday)

Registration Information

Registration is NOT Required

Event Coordinator

Branwen R Drew



branwendrew - at - gmail.com