Thursday, November 16, 2006
I do hope I am not boring you people with all this "Sgraffito" talk. Just thought I would share some more...
I am working with Eva Magazine, Knoxville's local Women's magazine, on a piece about my Sgraffito work. Thought I might post how my scratching started.
I had been struggling for a long while with my style; not really knowing which direction I needed to take, when I realized that I was most interested in actually including the viewer in the process of my painting. I just didn't know exactly how to go about this.
In a fit of frustration in my studio one day, I took my palette knife to the canvas and began removing the oil paint from the canvas. Below the paint was my underpainting using oil pastel and pencil. The effect was marvelous. I realized this removal of the paint added much more interest to the overall effect of the painting. I also decided this was how I would be able to involve the viewer in the process of my forming the work. The viewer could actually see the technique; layering, removal and final result in each of my paintings. I even began to transform the images in front of my eyes by removing the paint and surprising myself with a fresh viewpoint that I was previously unaware of. After much research on the internet and books on painting techniques, I realized I was interested in Sgrafftio Painting. The word sgraffito derives from the Italian word "sgraffire" which literally means "to scratch". Although I began using a palette knife, I started to explore different ways to remove the paint. I have used old credit cards, paper clips, forks, pens and pencils.
I now actually use the scratch marks as the linear elements in paintings. I also sometimes scratch away portions to reveal shadowing. My latest focus of sgraffito is what I refer to as "building and painting out." Layers of glaze and paint are built in steps. I usually end up painting out most of the composition in the last stage of work to reveal what I think of as the final piece. I enjoy the freedom of Sgraffito and each time I create a work, I feel more involved with the composition because I work in stages with the glazes. I am glad I am finally able to show the viewer the process in which I am so interested.