Judy Larson always knew she was going to be an artist. She was surrounded by artists as a child and was particularly inspired by her father, Clyde Provonsha, a professional illustrator best known for his religious and commercial art.

After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art from Pacific Union College in Northern California, Judy 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. The primary focus in each of her paintings is the animal, with the horse and wolf as recurring subjects. Often, Judy pays homage to Native Americans, their cultures, and their stories and legends, through the hidden elements in her work.

Judy’s 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 Masonite-backed art board. The subject is painted on the art board solidly with black India ink to create a silhouette. Judy then scratches away the dried ink using hundreds of X-Acto® blades, and the result is a magnificent, lifelike image.

Once the subject has been totally scratched, it is a finished black and white illustration, ready for Judy to add color. She prefers a combination of airbrush, gouache, or acrylics for adding rich layers of color, with frequent re-scratching for detail. The time-consuming art of scratchboard is unparalleled in its detail, allowing Judy’s seamless concealment of imagery within her subject.

For Judy Larson, whose underlying message is always passionately ecological, her medium of scratchboard, as well as her “The Art of Concealment®,” allows her “to take the viewer with me.” Explains Judy, “My desire is to engage viewers on three levels: first, by revealing the beauty of animals through intricate detail; second, by concealing a hidden image that draws the viewer to examine the painting more closely and through which I can tell a story; and third, by promoting a deeper awareness of the environment on a level that will hopefully have an impact.”

Judy actively supports a number of environmental endeavors. She is a member of the Society of Animal Artists and is published by The Greenwich Workshop, North America’s leading publisher of fine art limited editions. Her art is the subject of three books. The latest, Horse Indian Wolf: The Hidden Pictures of Judy Larson, won a Bronze award at the IPPYS’s and was a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year competition in the Children’s book category. Judy lives and works in Lake Elsinore, California.

Courtesy of judylarson.com