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Judy Larson Biography Continued:
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 board with a white china clay surface. The subject is then painted solidly with black India ink. A working sketch is traced on to a black silhouette with white chalk.
Now the exacting work begins, engraving the image into the surface of the board. 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 airbrush, goache 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.
Two themes predominate, and often converge, in Judy's "art of concealed imagery": the precarious balance of wildlife in today's environment and the fate of Native Americans whom Larson especially admires for their intuitive understanding of ecological balance.
In addition to limited edition fine art prints, her work has been published in two books, Hidden Spirits: Search-and-Find Scenes from the American West, a children's book, and The Spirit Within.