Archive for the Technique Category

It’s All in the Details

Posted in Art, Process, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by scratchyb

Close-up photo of woodburn details

I once had an art teacher call me “tedious Eric,” because I worked over the tiniest details with careful precision. At least, I think he was referring to that, and not my personality.  Anyway, I never broke the habit, as you can see here. This is one tiny part of a larger piece I’ve been working on, and even as I asked myself why I’m focusing so much on this repetitive pattern, I understood that I couldn’t do it any other way. Repetition of patterns is almost meditative, and it allows me to get into a state of mind where I can think through other things, solve other problems even as I focus on the work in front of me.  Of course, when I changed over to stippling further down, it broke the rhythm and I started to feel a little fidgety and anxious.


Crafty Art

Posted in Art, Process, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by scratchyb

I’m counting the days down until the craft fair portion of 50/50 Pilsen, and thinking a little bit about where craft and art meet.  Art almost always involves a degree of craftsmanship, unless it’s purely conceptual. The work I’ve been doing recently involves a medium that puts most people in mind of boy scouts, grandparents, and kitschy outdoor country scenes.  Pyrography doesn’t have the popularity of, say, screenprinting, and it is far more time-consuming without the possibility of mass-production. But there’s a lot of possibility in the medium, because of the range of possible markings, from fine-detail to thicker, deeper burns.

Since the theme of this show is where art meets craft, I’ve been exploring the craftier elements of my woodburning, but really, I’m far more interested in how to incorporate this craft into paintings and drawings. Now, plenty of people consider pyrography a serious art, and so do I, but does it get the same respect as painting or sculpture? This past spring I was at the Art Chicago show at Merchandise Mart, and saw one example of pyrography. I’ve found a few cool woodburn artists trolling around the web, but ultimately, where I draw the line is whether someone is creating original subject matter with a discernible style. I’ll be interested in hearing some of the comments of the Pilsen arts community, because at this show I’ll be focusing almost exclusively on woodburn art.

We’ll see what we’ll see.

A new WIP

Posted in animals, Art, Hybrids, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , on May 17, 2011 by scratchyb

Woodburn artwork in progress

I’ve got to figure out what I’m doing with the center portion.  I’ve got a few ideas, we’ll see what works best.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2011

Citadels burning

Posted in Art, Projects, Technique with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by scratchyb

I’m embarking on a new body of work that reflects the growing interest I have in wood-burning without sinking into kitsch.  Most of the pieces I have planned out will be figurative, although I’d like to try experimenting with what wood-burning can do in a more expressive, abstract form.  While the appearance of the medium lends itself to a meticulously realistic approach, the very nature of working with heat and wood allows for accidents that have the potential to be aesthetic works in their own right.  But abstract isn’t generally my thing, so for now I’ll stick with the figurative, such as the recently finished piece I’ve called “Citadels.”

This was done with a combination of pyrography, ink, and guache.


All images © Eric Battaglia 2010

Pyrography work

Posted in Art, Process, Projects, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by scratchyb

I’ve been quietly slipping into woodburning as a medium, with relatively little fanfare, since it’s largely been an experiment.  At this point, I’d say I’ve learned a few good lessons so far.  On my latest piece, part of the Creatures of the Arboretarium series, I used all the nibs that came with my single-temperature, cheap little burning pen.  Each one has a different effect.

I learned a few little tricks along the way, like keeping the nibs clean from carbon buildup to keep them burning clear and even.  Light sandpaper or a razor generally do the trick.

I’ve also started figuring out what each nib can do, and how to use the different burn styles between them to create new effects.

If you’re careful, you can even use a blade to lighten up some areas that may have been over-burned.

And the finished piece.  It’s a pangolion.  Basically a pangolin (sort of a scaly anteater, also called a living pinecone) and a lion combined.

Hybrids are back

Posted in animals, Hybrids, Technique with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by scratchyb

I’ve returned to the Hybrid series, officially titled “Creatures of the Arbortarium” (that’s an imaginary word, not a mispelling-an asylum for mad trees) for one last time.  While, I notice that my art has often had some kind of hybrid creature lurking in the foreground or background, I would like to get away from these plaques in favor of some other ideas that I’ve been itching to explore.   One major difference between the current animals and my previous ones is that, rather than just working with pen and ink and watercolor pencil, I’ve begun burning the animals with a rudimentary woodburning pen.  Here’s a couple I have so far.



All images © Eric Battaglia 2010

Illustration Friday–Fearless

Posted in Illustration Friday, Process, Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2010 by scratchyb


The stranger stood inert like some kind of giant mushroom.  All around it the earth was barren and dry, maybe from its arrival, maybe because of the nails, or pipes, or roots, it had inserted into the ground.   The people were going to avoid it, and hope that it would die off.   More than a few thought of burning it.  But then some kid walked up to it, and did a funny thing: he held out his hand.  What happened next would change the world.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2010