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Renton residents get a lesson in fish rubbing

Sherry Lee practiced the Japanese art form of gyotaku or fish rubbing for residents of Spencer Court on Monday.  - Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter
Sherry Lee practiced the Japanese art form of gyotaku or fish rubbing for residents of Spencer Court on Monday.
— image credit: Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter

Renton resident Sherry Lee entertained Spencer Court residents with the Japanese art form of fish rubbing, Monday afternoon.

It's called gyotaku. Lee, a self-taught artist, has been doing this form of fish printing for 20 years. She started after she read about the technique, which dates back to the mid-1800s, she said.

"I did it in Baja, Mexico as an alternative to taxidermy," Lee said.

Fishermen would bring the artist their catch and she would paint the bodies of the fish carcasses and press rice paper to their scales. Using colors to match their scales, the acrylic paint would outline and detail the fish shapes. Lee then paints and draws in the eye detail.

Lee has painted for clients in Texas, Washington, California and Mexico. She gets her fish from Uwajimaya grocery store and her rice paper from a retailer, with stores in Seattle and Bellevue.

"It's an art that's perfect for the Northwest," she said. "There are some gorgeous rice papers."

On Monday, Lee also exhibited 126 pieces of her art, including portraits in oil on canvas and mixed media.

For more information, call 503-206-9423.

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