Judy Larson always knew she was going to be an artist. She was surrounded by them as a child, and was particularly inspired by her father, a professional illustrator.
Judy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art from Pacific Union College in Northern California, then spent the next 17 years as a commercial artist, illustrator and art director.
In 1988, influenced by her love of nature and animals, Judy devoted her time to wildlife art. Her primary focus in each of her paintings is the animal, with the horse as a recurring subject.
Her unique approach to her work is through the use of scratchboard - a technique that can render magnificent detail but one requiring infinite patience.
Scratchboard, an old, but little used medium
, consists of a smooth, thin surface of hardened China Clay applied to a board. The subject is then painted solidly with black India ink to create a silhouette, and a working sketch (using white chalk) is made onto the dark silhouette.
Now the exacting work begins, engraving the image
into the surface of the artwork. While many artists use steel nibs or engraving tools, Judy prefers to work with x-acto blades, changing them every few minutes to produce as fine a line as possible. Once the subject has been totally scratched, it is a finished black and white illustration, ready for the artist to add color. The methods of adding color are diverse. Judy prefers a combination of air-brush, gouache or acrylics for finishing with frequent rescratching for detail.
Scratchboard is a demanding medium, one that Judy has used masterfully in developing her unique approach to wildlife art.