About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

a fine yellow lab from lynn allison starun

copyright and by kindest permission of the artist

What a fine presence this Lab has. I find I think of Labradors as the family homestead of dogs: solid, warm, calm. A dog you can fall asleep with on the couch when nothing else seems to be predictable. Woodcuts are perfectly geared to such honest qualities. Artist Lynn Allison Starun captured this canine acquaintance in all her portly self-assurance using the Japanese method of Moku Hanga. Here's some more from her on her artistic journey, including a bit more on how this excellent portrait came to be.

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I began as a portrait artist and almost immediately animals became part of my work when a subject who was seeing-impaired brought her guide dog to be included in the portrait. I chose not to focus on animal portraiture but I couldn't repress a desire to do more animals as I moved into printmaking. Birds first were a focus because I took bird watching in college and had to learn the different birds by sight. If you look closely you can see their personalities assert themselves so each little etching is a sort of portrait. (Curator: See lovely birds, chipmunks, and other creatures at her Etsy shop here.) I had a lot of fun stalking the birds in my yard to get reference photos. I discovered that if I sat in my car near the feeding area they would ignore me and I could get "candid" shots. I etched little plates and added tone with the aquatint process.

Of course, over the years I've sketched and painted various beloved pets, including a painting of a reclusive cat so that cat sitters would be able to see who they were feeding! (Curator: As a former professional pet sitter, I completely appreciate this effort!) She became bolder in her old age and I have a lovely etching of her striking a pose near the end of her life. My favorite work is of my English Cocker who has since died. She was the ultimate pet but not much of a watch dog. Well, if the thief knocked on the door she would certainly make a ruckus! She was so focused on food so I portrayed her eager pleading expression in "Please, Please…."
"please, please" also copyright and by kind permission of the artist

The yellow Laborador Retriever in the woodblock print was one I noticed with her owner. I was impressed with her runway model demeanor and walk and thought it might translate well as a woodblock print. To do that print I had to carve 5 different plates for the different color areas and of course each time I print the colors are a little different. I enjoy experimenting with color like that. It's printed Japanese woodblock style which means transparent pigment and rice paste are scrubbed together on the plate with special brushes and registration devices are carved into the plate so that each plate is lined up correctly. Paper is laid carefully on the plate and burnished with a baren.
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Wouldn't it be interesting to watch Lynn make a woodblock print? I'm sure you will like her website, too.

1 comment:

parlance said...

Her woodcuts are lovely. I liked the bird ones, and especially liked the one of the place in Firenze.

I sometimes sit in my car, also, and watch the birds in my yard.