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“Through the eyes:” Pet portraits by Staunton artist on display downtown

By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press

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Image courtesy Oyunaa Waskin.

STAUNTON — While customers sip coffee and eat sandwiches at The By and By Café downtown, paintings of animals and a woman’s portrait decorate the walls around them.

“I’ve always loved animals and pets,” said artist Oyunaa Waskin. “Painting and drawing pets — it’s very interesting, because they talk to you through their eyes. And show expression through the eyes.”

Born and raised in Mongolia, Waskin’s travels around the world brought her to Staunton in 2019. She said summers in Mongolia gave her opportunities to visit the country where she had a horse and rode her horse.

Waskin 3
Image courtesy Oyunaa Waskin.

“Staunton is a beautiful place to live. I love the Shenandoah Valley,” Waskin says. She lives in Staunton, with her husband, Skip Waskin, an American diplomat, and their son and daughter.

A Juried Member of the Society of Animal Artists, the Oil Painters of America and the International Guild of Realism, Waskin is also an active member of the Portrait Society of America.

In 2021, her work was selected for the Juried Spring and Fall Salon Exhibition shows of the International Guild of Realism. Her work has been published in a special edition of Artists Magazine.

In 2020, she was a finalist of a members-only competition of the Portrait Society of America, a 1994 finalist and exhibited in the Children’s Art Competition in China and a 1991 silver medal award winner in the International Children’s Art Competition in Japan.

Oyunaa Waskin
Image courtesy Oyunaa Waskin.

“I’ve always been painting,” she said. As a child, she painted walls in her family’s home, including a scene of the ocean on the wall by her father’s desk.

Waskin also draws humans. She studied with famous American portrait artist Robert Liberace, who was commissioned to paint 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Waskin also studied oil paintings with American artist Patricia Rice to help her better understand the medium.

When she lived in Mongolia, Waskin studied graphic and inter-design. Waskin said she plans to continue to study art, because she wants to improve in her craft. She would like to paint pets and birds in their natural settings.

Twelve years ago, Waskin began painting pet portraits.

“My neighbor asked me to paint her kittens,” she said. Her neighbor loved the painting and told others of Waskin’s work.

Waskin said she loves pets. She had two dogs, a cat and two rabbits when she lived in Mongolia.

In her art, she hopes that viewers will experience “the moment of emotion of the animal.”

“They have emotion,” she said. “Each cat, each dog is very individual. They look similar. But they are each different.”

For more information, visit www.oyunaawaskin.com . She can be reached at owaskin@gmail.com.


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