Artist, Wendy Holsapple
Inspired by nature, wildlife, mules, donkeys, horses, and dogs.
I design and print images by hand in my home studio in rural Montana. I strive to create prints that speak to animal lovers. I love simple designs featuring animals in quiet intimate moments. It's these personal moments which happen everyday that make our lives and relationships with animals so special. I think all animal lovers can relate to that. All my prints have a story. Many of the animals I know personally and have lived or worked with for many years. Others I fell in love with after hearing their stories.
montana mountains & my animals
I live with four mules, two dogs, one horse, and a miniature donkey. We are lucky to live in a home in rural Montana surrounded by nature, wildlife, mountains, and forests. I spend a lot of time with my animals every day, and they are the inspiration for my art.
Misunderstood animals are particularly special to me. Mules and donkeys are often looked at as "stubborn" and "beasts of burden" in the equine world, but they are extremely intelligent and loyal if you treat them well. Pit bulls and similar dog breeds are often seen as naturally aggressive, but they can be the sweetest family dogs around if raised kindly. I want to capture the softer side of these animals in my artwork. Of course, after making some mule and pit bull prints I just had to make some of my other horses, dogs, and donkey too - with an occasional wildlife print thrown in.
Many of the animals that I care for have come from rescues or needed a home for some reason. I think it's important to care for older animals that have worked for you during their productive adult life as well as rehabilitate abused or neglected animals. I believe that it is not only important to treat animals kindly and with respect, but also to give them a "job" or some other mental and physical challenge on a regular basis. All my animals have a job or are in active training for something. Even the miniature donkey can carry a pack saddle and pull a cart. We have plenty to do around our property that they all can help with from dragging logs and packing firewood to giving rides in the mountains. The dogs think they have to help with pretty much everything that goes on. I pack and camp with most of them and have spent many summers exploring the mountains of Wyoming and Montana with my animals working for an outdoor school, an outfitter, and the forest service.
ORIGINAL LINOCUT ART
When we built our home we wanted to surround ourselves with the things we loved. Since we have (and love) lots of mules we looked for mule art and realized that is was difficult to find. We also wanted to purchase some original art, but it proved to be out of our price range. Both of these events started me down a path to create my own artwork.
I have always loved to draw and paint, but I had never done any block printing before. I was looking for a medium that I could create something unique, but also create something handmade and original that was still affordable to many people. I found it in block printing. All of my prints are original, one of a kind, hand-pulled linocuts. They are not digital copies or reproductions. I design, draw, carve, and print each piece by hand. I love the unpredictable nature of printmaking, where multiple copies of each design are unique due to the handmade nature of the prints. In this way original art can become affordable to many while still insuring that each piece of artwork is one of a kind.
I spent a couple of years learning how to print and experimenting with different styles, techniques, and materials. I like every aspect of printing from the design work and carving to actually getting my hands dirty and making the prints. I also like the historical significance of block printing and using simple tools and materials available to almost anyone.
PRINTMAKING WITH A PURPOSE
I wanted to craft a career and lifestyle that could bring together my love of animals and art with my desire to support animal rescue and environmental protection organizations. Animals bring love, companionship, and joy into the lives they touch. Caring for animals helps develop a sense of compassion, which is greatly needed in this world. Nature is awe inspiring, and we can't survive without a healthy planet.
I have volunteered at a number of rescue organizations in the past, but it can be very emotionally draining constantly dealing with abused or neglected animals. I have a great amount of respect for people who can make rescue their life’s work. I wanted to find a way to continue to support rescue organizations that I could sustain. Each year I choose a handful of small organizations committed to animal rescue and environmental protection and donate a portion of my sales. Part of the proceeds from a few prints go to specific organizations, which I describe with the print.
When you purchase a print from Laughing Mule Press…
You get a beautiful original work of art that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
I give part of the proceeds from each print to a rescue organization or charity.