ISSA Scratchboard Art Show success

I haven’t had chance to update the blog in a while simply because I am travelling with my family in the US. We’ve done the touristy stuff in Los Angeles, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and San Francisco, and now we are in Bodega Bay where we’ve been based while the International Society of Scratchboard Artists show has been on.

I had the massive pleasure of being one of the judges of the open category of the show so I got to see everything before the official opening. Well!!! The gallery is a delightful place (ARTHouse Gallery in Glen Ellen, about 80 minutes north of San Francisco in the gorgeous Sonoma Valley). It’s a lovely gallery and well run by Pamela Wallace and she did a great job hanging the show. However, the quality of art literally belongs in the greatest galleries in the land. These artists are spectacular and it was a massive treat to see the works.

Then last Saturday the official opening saw about 25 artists fly in from all over the US with our president also coming from Canada and myself breaking the distance record by flying in from Australia. I have to admit, the ticket was worth it after five minutes of meeting these artists. I knew some from interaction on art forums and others from Skype, especially my fellow board members, but this was the first time I had met them face to face and it was the biggest thrill!! Some of these people have been my heroes for years and I found that not only are they just as good artists in person, they are the nicest bunch of people you could imagine. I got given boards, tools, books, T-shirts, dinner paid for etc etc. it has been fabulous.

After the exhibition we had two days of workshops where artists did demonstrations of their techniques and styles. Rodman, Master Scratchboard Artist did an airbrush demonstration and literally created a masterpiece before our eyes in about an hour, totally from his imagination. I promise to show you all what he did when I can get to a real computer.

Then Lorna Hannett, our president and also Master Scratchboard Artist, completed about one square inch in a similar amount of time. Lorna is an example of supreme patience and creates the most magnificent art with meticulous craftsmanship. She does things with scratchboard art that should not be humanly possible.

Next up was Signature Scratchboard Artist Allan Ace Adams. I’ve admired Allan’s work ever since he started using this medium and he’s a classy and funny character but I was unprepared for how nervous he was. He taught us how to render bark and ground whilst shaking like a leaf. And guess what, his work was brilliant. What a highlight to see what such an artist can do!

Heather Lara taught us how to use colour and that was a real eye opener because she uses it so well.

The second day saw the queen of scratchboard art and another master of our medium, Diana Lee show us how to create shiny stuff. Her demo was a lightbulb and it was amazing how she created the right textures with what looked like simple techniques. I tried to emulate her and failed miserably despite the great teaching.

I was up next doing my squiggles, stipples and another zebra followed by Ann Ranlett, Signature Scratchboard Artist teaching us how she does beautiful backgrounds with unusual techniques.

Finally our exhibition director, MSA and all round good egg Cathy Sheeter taught us about eyes, fur and marketing. This was brilliant and fitting that she finished because she did so much work on the exhibition. In fact, a huge thank you to all my fellow board members for putting together an amazing event while I enjoyed the sun in Australia.

Final mention of congratulations to the winners of the master category (Lorna Hannett gold, Rodman silver and Cathy Sheeter award of excellence) and the winners of the open category (Jonathan Webb gold, Harold Farley silver, Hector Fernandez bronze and awards of excellence to Lorelle Bacon, Tim Roberts and Matthew Jarrett)

Like I said earlier, I promise to put images up later to show you just what these people can do.

Oh, we also made sales!!

This weekend has been incredible and I’ve met old friends, made new friends, met great spouses of artists and had an absolute ball!!!

Roll on Vancouver next year! I’d better earn some money.