Unique Scratch Art Wins Awards



Angela Cockle works in the unique medium of scratchboard art. Her focus is on wild animals and family pets and the people at the 2004 Payson Art League Fall Show and Sale loved it. They named her recipient of the first place People's Choice Award.

She also won first place in the two-dimension category for drawing and other.


Angela Cockle's scratchboard works of wild animals and family pets made her the People's Choice at the 2004 PAL fall show.

Cockle explains scratchboard as a technique blending the precision of drawing, the detail of engraving and the hues of painting into a single piece of artwork.

She starts with a hardboard coated with white clay and perfectly inked. With a conte crayon, a rough sketch of the image is made on the board, then using sharp, knife-like tools, the image is defined. Areas between the lines of the rough sketch are filled with hundreds of scratches. Cockle will also sometimes use steel wool to create the image of a rock or snow.

When the image is complete, it is sprayed with a workable fixative to protect the inked areas. Cockle uses a water-based paint called gouache to blend all the colors of nature into her artwork, then the whole piece is varnished for protection.

"I've only done this for five or six years," Cockle said. "In eight shows here, I've won four awards."

Her work was so well received by guests at the PAL Fall Show and Sale last year, she garnered enough commissions for an entire years worth of work.

Cockle's work was also a big hit in the 50th anniversary show at the Phippen Museum in Prescott this year. The show is built around western art, she said, so the people were a little surprised by her wildlife pieces. It was more surprising, even to Cockle, when the judges made the work an award winner.

"It's never too late," is Cockle's advice to aspiring artists. "Find a medium you like. If you've got the gift -- and I think everyone has some gift -- they should follow it through."

She said she told her mother when she was a very small child that she was going to be an artist, and she spent all her free time drawing, but it wasn't until she retired at 40 that she began to pursue her dream. She earned a degree in art from the Art Institute of Minnesota and has worked in oils, acrylics, and pen and ink. But since being introduced to scratchboard by Rock Newcomb, she has devoted all her talent to the one medium. She has even incorporated with the name Cat Scratches.

Cockle's success with the PAL and Phippen shows has given her the confidence to try for a place in one of the most prestigious art shows in the U.S., the Cherry Creek Art Festival in Colorado. However, she is still available to do commissioned work of pet portraits from photographs.

Cockle, a native of London, England, and her husband of 39 years, Mick, first started coming to the Payson area in 1991. They were invited to spend Christmas at a cabin here, but had never heard of the place. Before they left town, they bought their own cabin.

They were part-timers until 1997 when they made the move to the Rim country from Phoenix, though Mick still works in the Valley.

For more information about her work and commissions, Cockle can be contacted at (928) 474-4553 or via e-mail at catscratchesinc@aol.com.


Name: Angel Cockle

Occupation: Artist

Employer: Self

Age: 57

Birthplace: London, England

Family: Husband, Mick; two sons; one grandson.

Personal motto: Everything happens for a reason.

Inspiration: Leonardo da Vinci and Rock Newcomb.

Greatest feat: Immigrating to the U.S. in 1977.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Art.

Three words that describe me best are ... honest, persevering, animal-lover.

I don't want to brag but ... I've won four times in eight PAL show and a first place in the Phippen Museum show.

The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Leonardo da Vinci

Luxury defined: Living in our house in the mountains.

Dream vacation spot: Italy

Why Payson? Because we love it here.

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