Tag Archives: Norristown Farm Park

Scratch Art 1

Well, you remember the class I took earlier this year at the Woodmere Museum (look at this previous post for an explanation and a way to dig into the other work I did in this class) – where we focused on abstract/realism and how they relate to each other, or merge into each other.

In one of the class discussions someone mentioned “scratch art”, and I remembered having done some images on scratchboard a few years ago. Scratchboard is a masonite backing coated with white clay and covered with India ink (for details: Look here). You use various tools to scrape the ink off to reveal the white underneath.

I knew I had a few unused boards somewhere around. Suddenly I felt I had to work with them, and I decided to use them for that week’s homework assignment, which was to use an artist’s work from the German Expressionist movement to inspire your own. There are lots of black and white images done by printing methods that I have noticed from our class presentations, and I figured I’d use the scratchboard as my material and these images as my insipiration.

I chose some photos to work with and found some 6″ x 6″ boards. I’ll show you the results over a few posts. See what you think. I had a lot of fun with it and I ordered more boards so that I could do more work in this medium.

Here’s the first one. It’s a familiar scene to me and you may remember drawings I have done of this building – the Getty Cottage at the Norristown Farm Park. Here’s a snow scene.

And here is the image. I’m happy with this piece. I think I captured the feeling of the scene and I have a good balance of black and white tones here.

Dairy Barn on a Misty Morning

Back and November my husband and I were walking in the Norristown Farm Park very early, just after sunrise. It was a misty frosty morning. I took these photos across the fields stretching over to the Dairy Barn complex.

I think you would never know that right behind us, traffic buzzed along busy Germantown Pike, and that a large hospital building is just across the street. No, when I look at this scene, I can imagine a different time when things were quiet here and the only sounds were that of the land that was resting for next spring’s growing season.

Getty Cottage from all sides

I’ve drawn this building from several angles, I realize, looking through my sketchbook. Let’s get the full picture once and for all.

Getty Cottage is a building at Norristown Farm Park, a place where I often run or walk. I’ve written plenty about the park and its history – short story being that the park was once the farm attached to the adjacent Norristown State Hospital. It was thought beneficial for mental patients to engage in work if they were able, and for decades this land provided food and work for the institution.

Before that time, though, it was private farmland, and this house dates to that period. There are other houses similar to Getty Cottage scattered around the park, all of them in a state of disrepair – Getty Cottage is in the best shape of any of them and is still in use, though I am not sure for what purpose.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the place. Here is a view from the back – you may remember it because I posted this picture some time back. The drawing shares a page with a depiction of the hospital’s power house, located not too far from this house.

Here is the back from the other end of the building, from July 2020.

Here is a view of the front, from June, 2020.

I think I will need to visit this location in the winter, find a different angle, and see what I end up with. What do you think?

Getty Cottage and Powerhouse

Did I show you these before? If so, I apologize. And if not, here they are.

Two buildings from the Norristown Farm Park/Norristown State Hospital. You may remember we often walk in this park, which is the former farm associated with the adjacent state mental hospital. (If you want to see related posts, look on my personal blog, Sometimes You Get So Confused, and search under Norristown .)

In the past, it was thought beneficial for patients to do healthy outdoor work, if they were able. After that practice changed in the 1970’s the farm became a county park (though it is still farmed by contract farmers) and the hospital is in the process of shutting down, though there are still a few patients and many shuttered buildings on the site.

I’ve written many posts on these sites and I’ve done a lot of artworks related to them as well. Here are two drawings.

Getty Cottage is a building near the Farm Park’s entrance dating, I think, from before the land was used by the hospital. I like its simple look.

The power house for the hospital is located some distance from Getty Cottage on the border of the hospital/farm park grounds. For some reason I am fascinated by its austere functional appearance.

I did these drawings in my 8″ x 8″ page sketchbook in May, 2020.

and here is the drawing:

Drawing Getty Cottage-Powerhouse Norr Farm Park 5-20a

From My Everyday Life

I’ve been interested in trees over the past months – can’t say why. They just interest me, that’s all I know.

Here are three paintings inspired by trees in scenes I know. They are all done in acrylics on panel.

This first tree is from my own back yard.


“Backyard Tree”, 8″x 8″, June, 2016.

This scene is from the Norristown Farm Park, a Montgomery County, PA, park not too far from my house.

"Farm Park Road", 8" x 8", June, 2016.

“Farm Park Road”, 8″ x 8″, June, 2016.

This image portrays the field in front of Fonthill, a museum and historic house in Doylestown, PA, about 45 minutes away from home.

"Tree and Row of Trees", 8" x 8", June, 2016.

“Tree and Row of Trees”, 8″ x 8″, June, 2016.