Archive for Process

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.

Take Frequent Breaks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 23, 2012 by scratchyb

Something I normally don’t need to remind myself of, unless I’m working on an art project. During the sketching phases, I’m distracted and fidgety, but once the idea starts fleshing out, and I’ve tossed out or added new elements, I get into the zone.  And that’s when time slips out from under me, and I don’t snap out of it until I realize that I have to be at my day job in 15 minutes, or that my hand has cramped up, or my shoulders and back have cramped up. This can be bad when I’m burning, because I can forget I’ve got a hot instrument in my hand instead of just a pen.

I’m not one to glorify marathon work sessions. I value the downtime of a break, even a working break. Sometimes, when I’m working intently on some repeated patterns, other ideas emerge that need to be given some rudimentary form, or they’ll nag me all day and night.  So I stop for a while to sketch them out, and then let them sit for a while.

But the most important thing is to know when to get back to work.

Break’s over.

Further Experimentation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by scratchyb


I have also been playing around with the engraving nature of pyrography.  Here’s a clock I did that I then painted over with gold paint mixed with a little black, to create a brass color.  Then I cleaned up the details with a dry, stiff brush to bring back the fine lines.

The Value of Tedium

Posted in Art, Process with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by scratchyb

I’ve been working on a project that requires some very repetitive detailed patterns. After a couple of hours, I’ve realized I’ve completed 10% of what I need done.  In short, it’s a very tedious process.

I’ve always been detail oriented to a certain degree. When I first envision an image, the detail pops out at me, but what comes out in the initial sketch is usually just a basic outline. That’s mainly from the haste of getting the idea out on paper. Then I can solidify the actual patterns and particulars during the execution of the actual piece.  And sometimes I end up committing myself to a pattern that is more than I had originally anticipated, and can eventually become very time-consuming and dull to replicate.  I almost always like the end results, provided I didn’t take any random shortcuts along the way.

There’s a number of artists that inspire me to carry on with my process, and take it even further.  For years, I’ve followed the work of Richard Kirk, who uses a meticulous and antique process called silverpoint,  which is actually drawing with silver wire on a specially prepared support.  And then just yesterday I took inspiration from wood sculptor Maskull Lasserre, who I discovered courtesy of the Dudecraft blog.

I think there’s a lot to learn from working at the detailed level. It definitely teaches patience, which I tend to run short on, but also the value of perseverance. I know from experience that the work I’m doing will pay off in the final result. And that’s a lesson for life.

My attempts at abstract

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2011 by scratchyb

I don’t know if you can call these properly abstract. I’ve been experimenting a little bit beyond the figurative, that’s weird for me. These are woodburn paintings. I burned in the design and then painted around it with watercolor and acrylic.

I’ve not been blogging lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on anything. I’ve got this Egypt themed box and a few other things up my sleeve that I’ll be posting about soon.

This stuff’s going to be posted to my Etsy store soon.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2011

An Ambitious Project, Take 2

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique with tags , , , , on August 14, 2008 by scratchyb

Either an unexplained error on my part or a bug with WordPress has led to my previous post of a few weeks ago not displaying the series of images I added to the post.  Which led to a bit of weirdness where the captions for all those images became sort of a paragraph in themselves. Let’s try this again.

Here’s the original photo:

The tree that provided the original inspiration.

The tree that provided the original inspiration.

The drawing that I did, based extremely loosely on the tree in the photo.

The drawing that I did, based extremely loosely on the tree in the photo.

Step 1. I did a drawing of the tree I saw, roughly the size of the block.  I tend to work quick and sloppy, because it helps me beat procrastination.  So I traced the original block, and kept my drawing within that framework.  I used a sharpie to try and cut down on my tendency to overdo the details.  Didn’t work.

the outline of the tree.

Starting the cut: the outline of the tree.

Step 2.  After adding the design to the block with transfer paper, I cut away all the negative space around the outline.  Then I started on the inside, where all the details were.  I knew I wouldn’t get them all.

Step 3.  Inking up the design with black mixed with a bit of blue.  I had thought at the last minute that I wanted this to be two colors after all: silver and black.  Unfortunately, since I already started cutting the top, the only place the silver stands out on the tree is at the lower half of the trunk.  I still liked the effect.

The block fully inked.

The block fully inked.

the silver layer.

The first color all printed: the silver layer.

Final Result: I applied the black ink over the now dry silver ink with a paper registering system, basically just an outline of the paper size with an outline of the block on the inside.  Again, registering a print can be intimidating, and I don’t pretend to be a professional at this.  I just let it be what it wants to be.  Hence, some prints turned out better than others.

And here's the result.

And here's the result.

I printed a small run of these that I’ll soon make available at my Old Scratch store on etsy.

An ambitious project

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process with tags , , , , , on July 24, 2008 by scratchyb

This spring I came up with an idea.  I would take on one of my more ambitious block-printing projects and document it in a blog.  I was going to use a block of about 12″ x 18,” which is larger than I’ve ever done before.

I never really documented it as it happened, but better late than never.    I’ll be posting the prints on my  Etsy store soon.  Below is, in sequential order, the process of inspiration/production.

This old and very interesting tree served as my inspiration.

This old and very interesting tree served as my inspiration.The original drawing, inspired by the photo with extensive creative license.The linoleum block, cut around the outline.The blocked completely cut and inked for the first time.The silver layer of the print, the multiple color idea came late in the process.And the end result.

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The Dark Art

Posted in Art, Block Prints, Process, Technique, Uncategorized with tags , , on July 23, 2008 by scratchyb

I’m a relief print nut. I’m not sure why, because they seldom turn out the way I expect and I’m almost always disappointed. But I persist, even though everyone tells me screenprinting might be more suited to my work. I think it’s the process I love. With my drawings, I tend to get more absorbed in the repetitive action and think less about what I’m doing, whereas block printing forces me to pay closer attention. I also break all the rules of the medium, since my prints are in small runs using different colors and paper, and tend to appear different from one another, each just a little bit unique. I do this for fun, and I don’t charge too much, so I feel like I can get away with it.

The two images below show some of my process. I created the print to the right using the three blocks, only registering by eyesight. While registration is an important part of printmaking, there are some times when it simply doesn’t matter. The fish block I had carved before for a greeting card, and the waves and boat I created later as the idea for the current print came to me. This is a run of 8 prints, and I intend to make more runs as soon as I can find the kind of paper I’d like to use.

These three blocks were combined for a single composition.

These three blocks were combined for a single composition.Sample print using three separate blocks to in the composition.

The resulting print using the three separate blocks.

The resulting print using the three separate blocks.

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