Dinah Bowman

A fish print – almost perfect, so distinct, such detail. The Japanese call it “gyotaku.” Technically, it’s a relief monoprint. Dinah Bowman calls it a fish rubbing. Whatever you call it, this type of art is the mainstay of Dinah Bowman’s business.

While her rubbings are great, Bowman is by no means a one-dimensional artist. Her scratch boards and water colors are also beautiful. The first Scratch boards she did for the Texas General Land Office, entitled “Texas Wetlands”, won an international award for best educational poster. Which then led to a second commission for “Texas Dunes.” Dinah is currently working on a proposal for a third piece for them, “Texas Submerged Lands.” The scratch boards are my favorite – authentic, realistic and perfect in every detail. They also take an incredible amount of time to complete. Several months go into the planning and sketching, another month or so for actually “scratching” out the design. A scratch board is a piece of cardboard coated with a smooth plaster, usually black. Bowman then scratches and scrapes in the texture and tints, sometimes with colored pencils. She has done three such works for the Navy and is researching a fourth piece, “Search and Discovery.”

Her water color prints are also special. She has done many underwater scenes, posters and other commercial projects. Her poster done for the City of Port Aransas has led to a contract to illustrate cranes in Wisconsin this month. She is also working on some 60 to 100 illustrations for a book for the Corpus Christi National Estuary Program.

Bowman opened her own gallery in Portland in 1979. She owes her start in the business to a woman in South Padre who got her doing decorating. To hear Dinah tell it, “She gave me a lot of work and I became instantly solvent.” No small feat for an artist just starting out. And decorating is something she still enjoys and takes great pride in. As she says, “I’m dependable, and I provide good quality work for the right price.”