Etchings, Linocuts, and More

As a part of the natural world, the beauty I see around me-- every leaf, every rock, and every feather⎯ fascinates me. I began depicting birds when I was captivated by the graphic patterns reflected in their feathers. However, as my work has continued, I began using my images to explore issues beyone birds’ appearances. My works now allude to the metaphorical meanings birds convey, such as wisdom, cleverness, resourcefulness, freedom, peace, and resurrection. My images also evoke the fragility of life, and the elusive nature of beauty. The birds I depict are the Northern California birds that I can observe around me, and I represent them as individuals, each with it’s own spirit, curiosity and apprehensions.

I work across a number of printmaking platforms, including linoleum, etching, dry point and photogravure. I particularly enjoy working with linoleum as it allows me a tactile, almost sculptural approach, to a two dimensional image. As I cut away the negative space, I release the image. The result reflects the more graphic patterns of birds’ feathers and other features. In my most recent work, I have begun to employ more thoroughly the more illustrative qualities of soft-ground etching and aquatint. These etchings reflect and restate scientific illustration techniques, while alluding to drawings of old masters and historic natural history texts.

I have been inspired to create bird imagery, in part, because I volunteer at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility, WildCare in San Rafael, California. I work with songbirds in the Bird Room throughout the year, assisting with sick and injured wild song birds, and helping to feed baby birds during the breeding season. This work has given me ample opportunity to learn, to observe the bird patients and their behavior, and to appreciate their beauty, individuality and place in our world.

- Barbara Stikker




All artwork © 2008 Barbara Stikker. Website by Ryan Humphries.


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