RAPID RIVER — Tracy Anderson specializes in what is called scratchboard art. It’s the process of carving away the surface of a board to reveal the artwork rather than drawing on the board.
Scratchboard is a white clay board with black ink applied to the surface. Tools or abrasives are used to scratch the black away to reveal the white underneath.
“I primarily use an xacto knife so many, many teeny-tiny little scratches. It’s very highly detailed which is what I like about it. I also use a fiberglass brush. You can also use steel wool. Any abrasive material can be used,” Anderson said.
Her work is so intricate that people often mistake her pieces for photographs.
Her piece titled “In Good Hands” was a recent WDBC-AM, WYKX-FM and upperpeninsula.biz media award winner at the Bonifas Arts Center’s Northern Exposure exhibit. It is of a young kestrel being held at the former U.P. Raptor Rehab Center in Brampton.
“I used to volunteer at the U.P. Raptor Rehab Center. This was a young kestrel that we had come in. Randy Bruntjens was the director of the center. So, it’s his hands holding this young kestrel that we were rehabing,” she said.
Anderson says she likes the detail that scratchboard art offers. She also admits that it takes a lot of patience.
“I really like the high detail. I’m an artist that enjoys detail. I like the high contrast and value ranges, the black and white of it. It creates very dramatic pieces. I guess it’s what I love about that,” said Anderson.
The process takes time. Anderson sits at a window in her studio that overlooks the woods at her home in near Rapid River.
You can find out more about her artwork at tlandersonart.com. She will be teaching an introductory class on scratchboard art at the Bonifas on Feb. 22. You can sign up for the class at bonifasarts.org.
Anderson also has pieces for sale at the East Ludington Art Gallery in Escanaba.