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Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Article by Heathery Fraley, Bugle Magazine


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Article by Heathery Fraley


Linda Short woke up with the birds every morning on a ranch near Vida, Montana, where her father raised and trained horses. She had her own horse before she was tall enough to reach the stirrups. She solved that dilemma by jumping on bareback with no bridle. Short has been drawing horses since she was four years old, which she would send to her great-grandmother instead of letters.


 Her art remained focused almost exclusively on horses for two decades, once prompting her youngest son to ask if she could draw anything else. She finally branched out to wildlife. Her first subject was the mascot of her alma mater, Montana State University, a bobcat.


 She works hard to capture the right mood in every piece, and sometimes does up to 20 sketches before she’s satisfied. “I usually work with the eyes and the head first, and if I don’t get the mood, I stack of sketches in the trash,” she says.


Short either engraves on scratchboard or coats the surface of clayboard with ink. With clayboard, only the top lay of clay absorbs the ink. She then uses X-ACTO blades, tattoo needles, wire brushes and sandpaper to scratch away the ink in strategic places, revealing the white clay underneath. This etching technique creates striking contrast and detail. After finishing an etching, she can either leave it black and white, or color it with alcohol ink to add an extra dimension.


 Short has worked in a number of different mediums, but says scratchboard is now the perfect fit for her. She discovered it by chance in 2016 while building her dream house and studio. All her pastel supplies were packed in boxes, so she tried working with a small piece of scratchboard a friend had given her. She’s never looked back. “I just fell in love,” she says.


 In Challenge Accepted, a magnificent bull elk splashes across a stream to face a rival. A vibrant background emphasizes the animal’s bold attitude. The piece was Short’s first time capturing the attitude and essence of rutting bull. Her inspiration came from a chance encounter in Yellowstone, when the sound of defiant bugling woke her at dawn.


 “He just says, ‘I’m coming for ya, and you better be ready.’”


 by Heathery Fraley --Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - BUGLE MAGAZINE

Taken Care of Business.jpg

Art With an Edge

Article By David Lynx,

Yakima Herald-Republic

Some of the tools artist Linda Short uses in her work include X-ACTO blades, scalpel blades, tattoo needles, tips made by Speedball, small fiberglass brushes, wire brushes, sandpaper and steel wool. The current exhibit at the Clymer Gallery, “Art with an Edge: Doing it with Blades, Knives, and Needles,” shows this technique.



Of course I have a passion for lynxes and bobcats — note my last name — so I immediately felt a connection with the work “Taken Care of Business,” an engraving on clayboard. The bobcat’s mission to find its prey is of primary importance; it ignores its thick paws deep in the snow and powdered snow dotted on his face.



The technique used to create this work is to cover the surface with ink, then use sharp tools to carve away the ink and reveal the thin layer of China clay below. This process can be used to yield a highly detailed, precise and evenly textured artwork.



Values within the artwork are achieved by scratching more or less of the black ink off of the board. After black ink has been scratched away Short may consider it completed, or she may choose to color her work.



The artwork can be colored with watercolors, airbrush, ink, color pencil or acrylics. Transparent media are generally used, as they fill in the white scratches without affecting the black ink left on the board.



After an area has been colored it can be scratched again, revealing more of the white clay. The color can be applied with paintbrush, airbrush and even cotton balls.



Short will be demonstrating her technique during a free reception at the Clymer Museum in Ellensburg on Friday, June 1, from 5-7:30. The event will also have appetizers, live music, wine and beer.



“Art with an Edge: Doing It With Blades, Knives and Needles” will be on exhibit through June 30. Also on exhibit is “Michael Lewis: Echoes of Hanford Reach.”




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