bear bird wildlife scratchboard aniimals art sandra haynes

Wildlife Woman — The Artwork of Sandra Haynes

bear bird wildlife scratchboard aniimals art sandra haynes

Bear and the Bird, wildlife scratchboard art by Sandra Haynes of Heppner, OR

Wildlife Is a Way of Life for Sandra Haynes

The unusual nature of Sandra Haynes’ childhood is best evidenced by her baby blanket: a bobcat hide from an animal her mother found raiding the family hen house. As a little girl, Haynes’ first pets were domesticated, non-descented skunks (“They were pretty easy-going except in the winter when we left them to their semi-hibernation, undisturbed, as they were usually pretty cranky by then”) and a pet fox that she befriended by standing in a clearing, very still, and proffering biscuits.

By the age of four, she had learned to move slowly, talk softly, and keep her eye contact brief.

born wild horse foal animal sandra haynes duralar art

Born Wild, colored pencil on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

“I was raised in Molalla, a timber town on the west side or Oregon,” the wildlife artist says.

“Being around wild animals was just part of my life as Dad and some of his brothers — all woodsmen — spent a lot of time in the heavy timber teaching me everything about the life of its inhabitants.”

Her favorite uncle, a government trapper, frequently brought an unknown animal to Sandra, then about eight. He enjoyed quizzing  her on what it could be and how it would live:

“He would ask me to tell him about it based on its fur color pattern, where it lived in the forest based on its anatomy, what it ate after examining its teeth, jaws, and claws, whether it was nocturnal, and was it likely to live mostly alone or in a group or herd.”

Later, a mountain man friend taught her how to sneak up on herds of 350 cow/calf elk pairs while remaining in their plain sight. Haynes also learned how to climb the sides of a cliff to feed apples to wild Big Horn Sheep rams.

Hunting Wildlife with a Camera

foxy lady graphite duralar wildlife animal fox sandra haynes

Foxy Lady, graphite and pan pastel on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

Yes, it was an unusual childhood, and it’s not surprising that Sandra — who started drawing at the age of three — grew into a wildlife artist, capturing deer, elk, bears, cougar, moose and more in oil paint, pastel, graphite, watercolor, and scratchboard. Now residing in Heppner, OR, Haynes travels throughout the Pacific Northwest — especially its most remote spots — to photograph the animals she eventually turns into artwork.

“Hunting wild animals to photograph outside of animal parks is a difficult and far-from-guaranteed adventure, and is the reason why most artists who do their own photo reference gathering go to game parks or farms,” Haynes says, explaining that while she does visit animal parks, a photographer friend and she take the time now and then to go into the wild and do things the hard way. Accompanying them is Zora, Haynes’ Doberman bodyguard who more than once has kept her mistress from harm.

“One time my photographer friend and I were close to a herd of wild horses. We decided to walk to the other side of a pond when much to our surprise, the entire herd of about 12 horses decided to follow us.”

fire cat puma cougar wildlife animal sandra haynes scratchboard

Fire Cat, by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

When two especially aggressive stallions sidled too close, Haynes and her friend bent to pick up rocks to chuck when Zora streaked past them and scattered the herd in a rush.

“After that, she went back to her playing without a glance at me or them. She knew she had done her job and did not expect a praise-filled fuss. But that showed me she had what it takes to protect me in any circumstances.”

Jumping into Scratchboard

Haynes’ medium of choice is scratchboard, a technique she first encountered 16 years ago when an artist friend gave her a small board and told her to get something sharp and scratch out an image.

“That was the end of my training.”

She persevered, found she loved the fine, etched lines that brought out details, and went on to enter shows and win awards with her work. A short list of shows includes the Phippen Western Art Show in Prescott, AZ; the Western Heritage Art Show in Great Falls, MT; Montana Charlie Russell Days; the Oldfield Art Show in Puyallup, WA; and the Western Art Show and Auction in Ellensburg, WA.

Haynes is a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, and has published a series of scratchboard instructional books, as well as stories on her adventures as a wildlife artist.

In the Studio or Out in the Wild

It’s hard to tell where she is happiest — in the studio or out in the wild — but in both places she feels very much at home. The child who loved to draw, immersed in the world of wildlife and the woods, has grown into a mountain woman herself, one who shares, through her art and through her wisdom, the beauty of the world she knows.

“Art, to be good, only has to touch you in someway,” Haynes says. “Maybe it reminds you of someplace you have been or would like to be, or it makes you smile.

“For me, creating a piece that makes that connection is what it is all about.”

Wenaha GallerySandra Haynes is the Featured Art Event from Monday, September 23, through Saturday, October 19 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring bead weaver Alison Oman and Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

horse equine painting chocolate chip zippo debbie hughbanks

Animal Lover — Horse & Wildlife Paintings by Debbie Hughbanks

horse equine painting chocolate chip zippo debbie hughbanks

Chocolate Chip and Zippo, equine horse art by Debbie Hughbanks

She was the little girl who was certain, every year, that she would get a horse for Christmas.

That she lived in town was no obstacle to Debbie Hughbanks, who now, as a grown-up, specializes in creating wildlife, equine, and domestic animal paintings.  Now also — as a grown up living in the country — she does own a horse (two, actually), and the dreams she had as a child result in artwork celebrating country living, western art, and the “cowboy lifestyle.”

coyote wildlife animal painting art debbie hughbanks

Coyote Winter, wildlife animal painting by Debbie Hughbanks

“I am extremely passionate about animals,” the Loon Lake pastel, scratchboard, and acrylic painter says. “I feel that animals are an extremely important part of our existence and should be treasured and celebrated by human beings, and that is what I attempt to do through my art.”

Frequently exploring a particular theme — ranging from cowboy boots to birds and glass bottles — Hughbanks enjoys creating a series of pieces, seeking to elicit a strong emotion in connection to each image. Connecting with viewers on universal or shared emotions, Hughbanks feels, is one of two-dimensional visual art’s major strengths: nostalgia, poignancy, pathos, joy, wonder — art is capable of evoking a full range of human feelings.

A Forgotten Animal Toy, Always Remembered

“One painting I did, Long Forgotten, is part of a series based upon forgotten toys/things — it shows a toy once well loved, played with often, then left behind and forgotten as the child becomes older and moves on to more grown up toys,” Hughbanks says.

long forgotten childhood baby pull toy blue elephant debbie hughbanks

Long Forgotten, a childhood animal toy that tugs on the emotions, by Debbie Hughbanks

Belonging to one of her grandsons when he was a baby, the blue elephant pull toy in the painting had a smile on its face when it was brand new, “but I imagined his toy heart was breaking as he sat abandoned in the corner, so I turned his smile upside down.”

Another work, Kindred Spirits, featured a happier ending for the subject matter. Selected for the Trail of Painted Ponies three-dimensional painted horse sculpture contest, the work was eventually licensed and sold through Dillard’s Department Store and turned into a collectible figurine.

“That little pony went all over the world!” Hughbanks marvels.

Animals Traveling the World

Not only the little pony, but Hughbanks’ art portfolio travels the planet, some of the more far flung venues embracing collectors in Australia, as well as a piece selected for show at Qingdau City, China, as part of the Artists for Conservation International Exhibit. A member of numerous professional organizations, including American Women Artists, Women Artists of the West, and the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, Hughbanks is accepted into many prestigious shows each year, and in addition to painting the works, she has become an expert at packaging and mailing them.

sleeping on job cat feline painting debbie hughbanks

Sleeping on the Job, feline cat animal painting by Debbie Hughbanks

“I am kept fairly busy shipping work to shows and collectors,” Hughbanks says. “A good box is ‘key’ to shipping successfully . . . I wrote an article, Shipping Pastel Paintings for the Faint Hearted, that addressed shipping if you don’t purchase one of the professional art shipping boxes.”

Hughbanks’ resume of awards and publications in which she has appeared is long, with Best of Show, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Honorable Mention, Juror’s, and People’s Choice Awards ranging from the Kittitas Fair Poster Award of the National Western Art Auction in Ellensburg to making the Top 40 in the Wyoming Conservation Stamp Competition in Cheyenne, WY. Her work has appeared in Wildlife Art, Western Horseman, Cowboys and Indians, Western Art Collector and Art Chowder Magazines, and was cover art on The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

serengeti african wildlife elephant debbie hughbanks painting

Out of Serengeti, wildlife elephant animal painting by Debbie Hughbanks

Crayons for Grown-ups

It’s a lot of activity generated from a former children’s bedroom turned into studio, and Hughbanks retains the enthusiasm of a child when it comes to her full-time vocation as an artist. She loves using acrylics, because they dry quickly, which is the same reason why she finds them such a challenge. And when it comes to pastels, well, they’re like crayons for grown-ups:

“I LOVE the immediacy of the medium, as well as its tactile nature. Since I do most of my pastel work with my fingers, I do become quite literally involved with every piece — very connected.

“At the end of the day, I am usually covered from top to bottom with color. But what fun!”

Horse, Wildlife, Elephant and Fun

It is fun, the dream day job that incorporates the things that mean most to her, and fulfill the yearnings of that long ago little girl who faced every Christmas morning . . . without a horse. It  took awhile, but now she lives that dream come true.

“I just want to paint the subjects that I am passionate about, and in doing so, I hope my work will bring a little joy or happiness to those who view it.

“I hope my paintings make people smile or possibly remember fond memories.

“Good times — things like that.”

Wenaha Gallery

Debbie Hughbanks is the featured Art Event  at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, January 2, 2018, through Saturday, February 10, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Wildlife Woman – The Scratchboard Art of Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron by Judy Fairley

There’s something mesmerizing about scratch art.

Many of us remember, as children, coloring a sheet of paper with wax crayons, then, once we filled the entire piece with hues, finishing it off with a black crayon over the entire top. Using a stick or sharp implement, we created magical pictures by scratching a design into the blackness, revealing the color underneath.

Such an experience is not limited to childhood.

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Coyote Winters, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“I love this medium because of the fine detail it affords me,” says Judy Fairley, a Clarkston artist who has taught scratchboard for nearly four decades at the Clarkston campus of Walla Walla Community College. Portable, economical, but labor intensive, scratchboard for adults involves a thin layer of clay on a Masonite or fiberboard backing, which is then coated with an application of black India ink. The final image emerges as the artist scratches through the ink to the white clay below using an arrow point tool, X-Acto knife, or scalpel.

Often, Fairley applies watercolor or colored inks to tint the exposed clay before covering it with black, resulting in a full colored scratchboard painting. A signature member of Women Artists of the West, a professional organization that focuses on the promotion and development of female artists, Fairley specializes in wildlife art, creating intricately detailed portraits of wolves, coyotes, bears, deer, moose, and more. Her reference photos she takes herself, many from zoos and wildlife rescue operations.

“There was a woman near Hamilton, Montana, who had a wildlife rescue, and I would go there to get photos,” Fairley remembers. “She was the closest to a mountain woman that I could imagine, with skin as brown as a leather saddle and twice as worn, but she had the formulas to bring any wild creature back from the brink of starvation.”

Brown Pelican, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Brown Pelican by Judy Fairley

One time, when Fairley was having promotional photos taken for a brochure, the rescue professional suggested posing with a grizzly cub, comfortable with humans because he was part of an educational presentation for children.

“So I went, thinking, ‘what could possibly go wrong with this scenario?’”

When Fairley entered the cub’s pen, “he took one look at me and came running at full speed. When he got to me, he proceeded to climb me like a Ponderosa pine tree.”

The photos, capturing “this complete panicked and frantic look” on Fairley’s face, were unusable, but everyone but Fairley enjoyed the show. “He’s never done this before,” the rescue professional told Fairley. “He must really like you.”

Most of the time, creating artwork is not so dramatic, although even the most mundane of actions results in surprises.

“I had an incident when the person watching me do a bobcat, sneezed on the piece,” Fairley says. “It lifted the ink on all the areas of black that the phlegm landed on, creating a speckled pattern.

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“So I put the bobcat in a snow storm . . . actually I liked it better.

“But, I make sure to tell people to please don’t sneeze on my work: everything can’t be in a snow storm!”

Fairley works out of two studios, one in her home, and one at the Dahmen Artisan Barn in Uniontown, 16 miles away, where visitors are free to watch – but not sneeze upon – the artists at work. In addition to the teaching Fairley does at WWCC, which also includes pastel drawing, the artist recently offered a scratchboard workshop on a Princess cruise ship from Seattle to Alaska, and is presently looking to organize another cruise workshop to the Mexican Riviera.

Thanks to the portability and inexpensive nature of the medium, Fairley packed supplies for 20 students, along with a personalized tote bag for each, in a roller suitcase.

“I tell people when I am doing demos, that the only cheaper method to do in art is drawing with a pencil and a piece of paper.” Cheaper, she adds, does not translate into faster: some works take months to do, and the concentration required is demanding.

With work in collections from England to Australia, Fairley participates in numerous shows, from those sponsored by the Women Artists of the West, which span the country, and the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (February’s show is in Australia), to events closer to home, including the Snake River Showcase in Clarkston and the Oldfield Western Art Show in Puyallup.

It is the perfect blend of travel, teaching, learning, networking, interacting and creating. Just so long as nobody sneezes, or mistakes her for a tree.

Wenaha GalleryJudy Fairley is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artists from Monday, August 29 through Saturday, September 24.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.