How to Scratch like a Chicken

Interview with LifeART student Karen Neuhoff.

  • Q: How long did you spend on this painting?
  • A: Two months of art classes, about 24 hours in total.

  • Q Most people would say that is very long. What would you say to that person?
  • A: It was worth spending the time to get it right. I would actually spend even more time on it.

  • Q: what techniques did you use in this painting?
  • A: Scumbling, ‘Chicken Scratching’, Glazing and Blending.

  • Q: What on earth is ‘Chicken Scratching’?
  • A: Ask Leonie (laugh), its a method that helps to get the paint on the canvass by moving it around with the brush. It is like Dry Brush.

  • Q: Why did you choose Earth Tones?
  • A: It was very true to life. Its also a very easy way, taught to us by Leonie, to paint anything. I used Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Yellow Ocher, Paynes Grey, Ultramarine Blue and White. I chose this palette because it is a very easy method to get tonal values immediately.

  • Q: The Hyena is very realistic , but you chose a different method for the background?
  • A: The looser background makes a good contrast to the more realistic Hyena. It makes the Hyena stand out from the background, but yet be part of the background. It doesn’t distract the eye from the main subject.

  • Q: Did u plan this all before you started?
  • A: Yes, I took the picture myself, and I used the aperture on my camera to the effect of a faded background. Leonie has tough us that it is very important to compose your painting using, division of thirds, tonal value, angle of light, correct choice of colors.  The Hyena spoke to my soul. I needed to paint him.

  • Q: What is the biggest life lesson you learned out of this?
  • A: Patience! Don’t rush. Enjoy the moment, be mindful. I don’t have patience, and I am always busy thinking of what I need to do next. This has taught me to be mindful. I am allowed to have time for myself.

  • Q: Why do you waste three hours out of your week to do panting classes.
  • A: It stills my mind, it is intensely satisfying to create something on a white canvass, to create something from nothing. There is actually no limit.

Art Classes for Adults, with Leonie.e.Brown Artist at