This infamous photograph was taken in 1945 during the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. This is an image I have wanted to complete for a very long time. About 4 years ago, I attempted this piece on a very large scale for scratchboard art - it was 18x24". I was overwhelmed by the size, and I wasn't happy with the results (see my previous post for a rundown of the Ugly before the Pretty), so I put it away for nearly 2 years. When I eventually pulled it out to finish it, I accidentally ruined the entire board with a batch of bad ink, rendering it complete and irreparable garbage. I cried. I stomped my feet. I threw it in the dumpster, all the while swearing I would never attempt this piece ever again. It was my white whale, and it had gotten away. It won. I lost.
When I received this grant from Creative Pinellas, my husband convinced me that it wasn't enough just to display a new body of work - I had to create a showstopper. At his urging, I agreed to give this image another go. But it wouldn't be 18x24" this time. It would be 36x48". (Thanks, honey.)
I don't know what I was thinking.
In order to look at it with fresh eyes (and an open little creative heart), I had to approach it differently. I decided to create this gigantic scratchboard in pieces. I purchased 35 6x6" squares - 7 across, 5 down - on which to scratch and then mount on wood. Basically, it will be a large grid, each square a fraction of an inch from its neighbor, all projecting from the board by about an inch.
Below are some images of my progress so far. At this stage, I am just past the halfway mark with 19 completed squares. They are not scratched in order. In fact, I have purposely completed them in a random order so as to encourage small differences in shading or technique from square to square, only noticeable once fully assembled. This project has taken up a month of my life so far, and will likely claim all of September as well. It is exhausting. If it is a huge success, I will give my husband a big hug and kiss and thank him for suggesting it. If it is a failure, I will push him down and smack him around a bit. It's really win-win either way.