The Majestic Sheep Print

I finished up the sheep print a while back, but I wanted to include some extra information about it here. I normally pretty much stick to canine and equine subject matter, but I wanted to do a print that I could play around with another type of texture (wool vs hair) and some ideas for backgrounds to add some dimension to my prints instead of just strictly portraits.

I love how the wool turned out especially on his chest. I drew quite a few versions before I decided to just sketch him directly on the lino and let the carving bring out the texture of the wool instead of trying to draw it all out. I really like the tall blades of grass blowing in the wind too. The rest of the grass looks nice printed but is pretty similar to fur in a lot of ways. I wanted to try to capture the look of the field blowing and swaying in the wind.

This is the first print I used an oil based ink. I wanted to try Caligo Safe Wash Inks because I have heard so many great comments about them. They are a soy based ink that washes up with soap and water. It was much easier to print the solid areas than with the water based ink I have been using, and I needed a much lighter application of ink too. They definitely stay useable longer so I didn't have to rush as much while printing. They do clean up well, but not quite as easily as the water based inks. Since I don't have a press and print everything by hand they are perfect for prints with large dark areas. I will definately keep using both types of ink depending on the project.

It all worked out well because Chester (the sheep model) belongs to a friend of mine and she wanted a print of him, plus farm animals are cool too. She always calls him the majestic sheep because of how he often stands looking off into the distance with his head held high and attentive. But then the second he sees someone he comes running over to get ear scratches and ruins the whole majestic thing by being a snuggle bunny.

Buster Brown and Becky's Hope Horse Rescue, Inc.

So, I have been putting this blog post off long enough. I haven't been exactly sure what I wanted to say so I've been letting it simmer for a while. I think in the end the best thing to do is to just tell the story. I apologize for this becoming a bit longer than normal, but this donkey has a message. Of all the organizations I have donated to, volunteered for, or followed online, a group I recently donated a print to is exceptionally special, as is the little donkey that inspired the print. 

Buster Brown

Let me start with the donkey, Buster Brown. I see lots of photos of rescue animals and I work directly with lots of rescue animals, but something about this little donkey and the look in his eyes just reached into my soul in a way that I couldn't shake. His rescue group said he was beaten and nearly starved to death when they got him from the Kaufman Kill Pen in Texas. I would totally adopt him in a second (don't tell my husband) - he would fit right in with my herd. I wish I lived closer so I could at least visit. I'm not going to talk about how I feel about people who could do this to an animal. What I really want to talk about is how amazing it is that he can come back from something like that and ever trust humans again. It says a lot about his rescue organization and that kind of resilience is what gives me hope and motivation to continue to work for and with rescue animals. He is truly an inspiring little donkey.

This is Buster Brown. Just look at him! Those eyes. How can he not melt your heart? 

This is Buster Brown. Just look at him! Those eyes. How can he not melt your heart? 

Bubbles and Becky's Hope

I was following Bubbles the Rescue Horse on Facebook when he posted about Buster Brown. Bubbles is a character and has a great story of his own so you should go check him out too, but this story is about Buster. Becky's Hope Horse Rescue, Inc is the organization that rescued Buster Brown and they are the greatest group of folks ever. I follow a number of rescue groups and I have to say that Bubbles' page is the best. He is funny, articulate, serious, educational, KIND, focuses on simple joys, and never makes you feel bad. I very much appriciate that. I don't like to feel guilty or horrified after visiting a site. When I visit Bubbles' page I feel refreshed and wanting to find a way to help. There are no superior attitudes, just love and thanks. 

All of these photos are from Bubbles' and Becky's Hope Facebook pages and really show the great progress he is making. They have clearly showered him with an extreme amount of love and kindness. Definitely go check them out and read what they have to say about him and all their other rescues - I'll warn you - they have an extremely cute baby donkey right now that will suck you in! 

Here are some more photos of Buster getting all kinds of love!

Here are some more photos of Buster getting all kinds of love!

Here is Buster Brown with Bubbles during filming a special for RIDE TV

Here is Buster Brown with Bubbles during filming a special for RIDE TV

Making the print

After I saw those first two photos I immediately started to plan a print of Buster. I wanted to send it to him for Valentine's Day, but I didn't quite get the frame done in time. I was also testing out a new kind of linoleum, which was nice to carve, but not quite as thick and durable as the grey kind so it took me a bit longer than normal. The photos below show the work in progress and a few photos of the final print. I don't think this really looks like Buster as much as it could. I got his ears and face too short, but my goal was to make him look happy grazing in the Texas sun. I named the print "Buddy the Donkey" because Bubbles called him his buddy in a post.

Drawing the image onto the linoleum, carving it out, and prints hanging to dry.
 
 
A few different views of the finished and framed print.

Donating

I have donated prints to a number of rescue groups, and I always get thanked, but this group has been so generous with praise I have been overwhelmed by it. They are clearly extremely kind people with huge generous spirits. They did a live video on Facebook when they received the print. I was almost embarrassed when I saw the post - not because of my artwork or letter, but because donating a print seems so small in comparison to what they do every day all year long. I have volunteered enough to know that it is really really hard, not only because of the time and hard work it takes every single day to care for the animals they save, but also because of the ones they have to leave behind when they drive away from the sale barn. It breaks my heart just to think about it in a general sense, and I don't have to look into the eyes of those that get left behind. I really don't know how they can do it, and I have the greatest respect for those who can make rescue their life's work.

 

So, I will end this by saying thank you to Buster Brown for showing us the great resilience of abused and neglected animals along with the joy you bring to so many and to Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue for showing us the power of kindness and education - both of these things drive the desire to give and help out in any way you can. Donate, volunteer, or adopt - even if what you can do seems small, it all makes a difference. And finally, in the words of the great Bubbles himself…

"In a world where you can choose to be anything, be kind."

—Bubbles the Rescue Horse

 
 

"Saving one donkey won't change the world, but it will change the world for that one donkey."

—Karen Davison

(I think this has been changed slightly from the original quote about dogs, but the sentiment remains)

Daisy, the Princess Bulldog

I actually have a series of three prints of Daisy planned. This is obviously the first one. Here are photos of the sketching, carving, and test prints of different colors.

These are the original sketches to get the layout and work out some of the details. The last one is the drawing in reverse on the lino with marker.

These are the original sketches to get the layout and work out some of the details. The last one is the drawing in reverse on the lino with marker.

I spent four days carving her out! 

I spent four days carving her out! 

This is the first inking of Daisy. I used marker on the lino for the carving so its harder to see the ink.

This is the first pull of the bulldog print. I did some touch up carving after this before the final prints but it looked pretty good.

Bulldogs in burnt siena, dark brown, and black. It's fun to see the difference.

Bulldogs in burnt siena, dark brown, and black. It's fun to see the difference.

Here is one of the final prints signed and framed.

Here is one of the final prints signed and framed.

A print of a different kind

I decided to do a print of my friends Border Collie with a different style than I have been doing recently. I wanted to do something more cartoony than I normally do. He is a sweet, super snuggly dog but he always has a goofy look in his eyes. My friend says he always looks stoned. His eyes are very bright blue in stark contrast to his black and white fur. I also printed it in blue ink and made the floor boards in the the print slightly slanted just for fun. I hope you like it.

Blue Border Collie Art Print
Blue Border Collie Art Print

Final Carving & First Test Print of Granny

Here are photos of the final carving before the first test print, inking the lino for the first time, and the very first print. I will need to do some touch up carving before the final prints can be made, but it's looking like a good start. It looks like I need to lighten up the shadows below the eye and on her cheek.

Granny Linoprint Final Carving