Los Alamos Artist Heather Ward. Courtesy photo
By NANCY COOMBS
Originally from Massachusetts, Heather Ward has lived in Los Alamos for more than 10 years. She strives to create highly realistic drawings of animals, both wild and domestic, and pushes her media to the limits to achieve the effects she wants. Preferring to work with dry media, her favorites are charcoal, graphite, pyrography and scratchboard.
Scratchboard is a subtractive medium, similar to carving, where material is removed to create the art. Abrasive tools are used to scratch away the ink on the surface to reveal a white clay underneath.
“I was very reluctant to try scratchboard because I assumed it was very unforgiving – once you make a scratch it’s there for good,” says self-taught artist Ward. “But it turns out that’s not the case at all. By using different tools and adding black ink when necessary, many mistakes can be covered up. It’s not just knife-work either; almost any abrasive tool will work. I use sandpaper, fiberglass brushes, even tattoo needles to get the textures and values I want.”
To see what tools Ward uses, visit http://heatherwardwildlifeart.blogspot.com/2013/02/scratchboard-tools.html. Ward has been using scratchboard for just over a year, and is one of only 43 people who have reached at least Signature status in the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, a juried position that requires a high level of mastery of the medium. Some of her work was just selected to be displayed on the packaging of Brush & Langnickel scratchboard kits. Her drawing titled Zoo Babies won the logo for Run for the Zoo as well.
To learn some of Ward’s techniques, sign up for her class Introduction to Scratchboard at the Fuller Lodge Art Center. Classes meet 6-7:30 p.m. every Tuesday between April 22 and May 27. Signups are required so contact the Art Center at 505.662.1635 to register.