Holly Ruggles

Gyotaku Watercolor and Collage

Holly Ruggles.


Gyotaku is a Japanese method of printing-making using real fish to create an image.  I combine this traditional printing technique with collage and watercolor to create underwater worlds of fantasy and mystery.  I include a variety of media, including handmade papers from all over the world, dried leaves and flowers, natural fibers, and even tiny sand dollars.  My inspiration comes from East Asian art and culture, and my interest in promoting the conservation of oceans, rivers and lakes.  Moreover, the fish as a Christian symbol for Jesus Christ, and adds additional meaning to my paintings.
I have taught several gyotaku watercolor workshops to teachers and adult students, most recently presenting at the Ohio Art Education Annual Conference.  My watercolors are in private collections in Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, and South and North Carolina.
I received my BFA at Wittenberg University, and MA in art education at Wright State.  I have been fortunate to receive several grants for additional graduate work in art and art history, allowing me study and travel extensively in Italy, China, Japan, and South Africa.  I am a former National Board Certified art teacher, and taught art in Ohio for 35 years.  I was honored to be the Central Ohio Art Education Association’s Outstanding Art Teacher of the Year in 2005,  including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study Italian Renaissance Humanism in Florence, Italy, a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Grant, to study in Japan, and two Freeman Foundation Grants for both East Asian studies, and participation in a National Consortium for Teaching East Asian Studies in China.  Now I am retired from teaching, and I am enjoying the time to concentrate on my watercolors and collage work.  I hope you enjoy seeing my paintings as much as I enjoy creating them.

Note * IHolly only uses rubber cast fish, no fish die for her paintings!