Barbara Martin’s scratchboard birds are bringing new life to the walls of The Wembley Club at 8345 Woodberry Blvd. in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Her meticulous work is amazing! As an artist myself, I am in complete awe of the intricate marks that make up Barbara’s scratchboard masterpieces. For those new to this fine art medium, and I do mean fine, this is a drawing technique reminiscent of wood engravings. Her blank boards start out solid black. Then Barbara, certainly a Master of this art style, uses a regular X-acto knife to scratch away tiny white lines to delineate features. Quite labor intensive, a small section takes her countless hours. The emerging result is astonishing!
For many years, Barbara worked as a graphic designer in both New York City and Dayton, Ohio. She then returned to college for the required teaching licenses and taught special education and art. After a long, successful teaching career, Barbara retired and moved to Northeast, Ohio. She now works full-time in her studio in a variety of media, from conceptual collage and assemblage to realistic scratchboard “portraits” of birds and other animals. Barbara has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in painting and a master’s degree (MEd) in education. She also held National Board Certification in art K-8. Barbara has won many awards and her artwork has been exhibited in numerous galleries in the Cleveland and Dayton areas. Be sure to visit her website, martinartwork.com for more information.
Barbara believes, “every object that has ever been handmade or manufactured eventually becomes either rubbish or is revered. Both reveal considerable insight into the human condition.” She scours flea markets for discarded “treasures” and tries to instill in them something reverential, some idea worthy of regard. Her scratchboard birds are presented in cast-off, vintage frames. She repairs the frames in poor condition, and believes they elevate a bird’s stature. Many birds sport crowns on their heads. They are meant to be humorous, but also to prod the viewer into contemplating the reverence we have all paid and continue to pay to royalty and those in our society deemed worthy of a portrait.
Barbara takes her inspiration from many sources and often finds insight during her morning meditation. She loves nature and is fascinated by human invention. We are blessed to have her with us here in Northeast, Ohio! I am confident this sneak peek will inspire you to visit The Wembley Club exhibit which is free and open to the public through May 23rd, 2022 hours 10am-6pm daily. Be sure to join Barbara at this gallery for her free artist’s talk starting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 19th, 2022.