City Geometry and Sgraffito


acrylic on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

City geometry: squares, cubes and intersecting lines. Steps, ladders, grids to organize the chaos of lives sewn together in the string of subway stops. The conveyer belt of lives ascending and descending stairs, elevators, buses, trains. Individuals wandering the same routes each day even as the wide world awaits visitors.

Put it down.  Scrape it out. Sgraffito, a painting technique of scratching into the top layer of paint to reveal areas of the surface underneath. Can you guess where I did that in this painting?


Here’s another demo for the Monday Muse class. Start with a black shape on the white paper.  Let it dry and then paint over it with heavy body paint and scrape out shapes to reveal black or white. If you do more layers, you can get kaleidoscopic effects, which is what happened in class. I still want to try one where I scribble, scribble, scribble! Even the word sounds more like sgraffito.


  1. I’ve always liked this technique. It vaguely reminds me of wood block prints. I also love the square corners of cities especially skyscrapers, so ordered yet contrasted with the mad rush of people going every which way.


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