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Posts Tagged ‘printmaking techniques’

I Think Printmakers Have Whinged Enough

Behemoth and Leviathan

“Behemoth and Leviathan,” a print by William Blake

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

Printmakers Like Rabbits Stunned in Headlight Beams

At left, “Behemoth and Leviathan” by William Blake–Fine-art printmakers today are facing challenges of sea-change magnitude. The very existence of printmaking as we know it is at stake. The issue, of course, is digital and we should have seen it coming. In fact, many of us did but remained inert, like rabbits stunned in headlight beams. “Digital” has been everybody’s issue since the electronic scientific calculator replaced the slide rule in the mid 1970s. Computers changed everything. They brought us an ever-growing set of delightful mod cons but along the way they took a terrible toll on printmaking, threatening print artists’ livelihoods forever.

Thanks to digital innovations artists who have always made their livings creating and selling hand-pulled prints must now compete with images created in inexpensive unlimited series using digital copying technology. The operative word here is “copy,” though funnily enough it almost never appears in the sales pitches. There the digital copiers prefer to refer to their ware coyly as “giclee prints.” The term “giclee” is a recent invention, essentially meaningless hype when applied to fine art, but to the uninitiated it sounds chic in the way “call girl” does when referring to whores. Read more…

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The Nicest Comment Ever

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

Cathy Naro and Maureen Booth at work in Maureen's printmaking studio in Granada, Spain

Cathy Naro and her husband, Mike, were here for two weeks last month and when they got home Cathy wrote a comment on Maureen’s Printmaking Courses in Spain blog which was the sweetest thing anybody ever wrote about Maureen and her workshops. Let’s share it here:

To any painters and writers, as well as print-makers – if you are considering a creative holiday at Maureen and Mike’s, DON’T HESITATE! After a 2 week stay last summer, I brought my husband back with me this April, and he couldn’t believe I didn’t rave about the experience more (actually I did, but seeing is believing!) Both Maureen’s light filled studio and the workspace in El Gallinero are perfect for inspiration and production. Maureen is an inventive, creative, supportive teacher and, in short, is my favorite art collaborator (I miss you already!) Yet it’s not all about the work, there are buses to transport one to Granada or the mountains, there’s the full moon over the uninhabited mountain view from the terrace, and there’s a sleepy little village a 5 minute walk away. A favorite last memory is a long (4 hour!) lunch in the sun there by the river… Come for a stay with your projects, your music, and your ideas and you will be glad you did. Best, Cathy and Mike Naro, Chicago, IL

So, our thanks to Cathy Naro, lover of the siesta, the salt-water spa and the four-hour lunch!

Is My Husband Clever or a Lunatic?

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

Maureen Booth's new printmaking videos site

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Or Both? Which is Most Likely the Case

Mike has made me another blog. It’s called Maureen’s Printmaking Videos and you can see it here: http://maureensprintmakingvideos.com. “But I already have a blog for my videos,” I protest. “No matter,” he says, “you can never have too many.” He always says that. To him websites, blogs and social networking sites are like store fronts; the more you have the more doors are open where clients can walk in. “Besides,” he says, “I discovered a new WordPress theme (Sundance) which is specially designed for displaying videos and it has some cute little buttons.”

The Cute Little Buttons in question: "little buttons"So, your guess is as good as mine. Why has he created me yet another blog? Is he an Internet-strategy genius? Or was it the cute little buttons?

The Story of This Print: El Último Día/The Last Day

The last day of waiting for Reyes

This is a very simple little print but I’m fond of it, perhaps because it’s based on a sketched portrait of my dear friend,  Reyes Hernández, perhaps because it came back to life after 35 years. I did the sketch in 1975. Reyes was visiting me at home. She was nine months’ pregnant, and  found herself uncomfortable sitting at the kitchen table where we were drinking tea, so she stood up and walked into the dining room where the window light illuminated her gently. “Don’t move,” I said, and went running for a sketchbook. Reyes gave birth to her first son, Raúl, the following day. And then that sketch lay dormant for more than three decades.

A couple of years ago I was flipping through the drawings in a drawer in my studio when I came across the Reyes sketch and decided to make a small edition of solar prints of it so I could give her one. In the end I added some dry point to give it a bit of texture. The color is a mix of magenta and primrose yellow, with a touch of black.

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

The Story of This Print: “El Patio del Harem”

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

"El Patio del Harem" Liquid-metal print by Maureen Booth

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Back at the Alhambra

I’ve started on a series of medium-sized liquid-metal prints on Alhambra themes. Granada’s medieval fortress and palace has been for centuries a source of inspiration for artists, writers and photographers, so much so that today it’s difficult to get an original take on it. This time I’m relying on the inherent looseness of the liquid-metal technique to try to achieve Alhambra images with some originality.

I had one of those wonderful printmaking experiences at the beginning of this project. The first proofs I pulled from the first plate, El Patio del Harem, looked frankly great and I thought, “This is it, I’ll print up an edition.” But before I could start, I took a close look at one of the plates from which I had just pulled a proof. In the ink residue left on the plate I could still see beautiful detail. So I rubbed a light layer of yellow ink into it, rolled some fresh silver ink on top and put it back through the press, making a “ghost print.” I was shocked to see how superior the ghost was to the live one. I have placed the original print at the top of this post, the ghost below. See if you don’t agree with me.

"El Patio del Harem-Ghost" Liquid-metal print by Maureen Booth

This print was done with liquid metal on an old, previously-etched copper plate, a still life with fruit. I put the cold solder on with a palette knife and when it was still quite sticky I drew into it with a stylus. I didn’t press any texture elements into it until about an hour and a half later. I left it overnight to harden and printed it on 600 gr. handmade paper. The ghost print was printed on 375 gr. Paperki handmade paper. I like this one better.

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

Mel Strawn’s Theoretical Observations on Solarplate Printmaking

Mel and B Strawn in the studio with Maureen in February 2010Mel Strawn and his lovely and talented wife, Bernice (“B”), spent three weeks working with Maureen in her studio during last February. Mel and Maureen worked mainly on solar-plate techniques using Dan Welden plates. While Maureen is eminently intuitive, Mel, a lifelong art professor who started making digital prints in 1981,  likes some theoretical grounding. So when he got back home to Salida, Colorado, he started thinking about what exactly the two of them had been doing with the solar plates. Here are his preliminary conclusions. Read more…

The Story of This Print: “Chichirriqui”

Maureen's best-loved dog, Chichirriqui

Our best-loved dog was a magical toy-terrier bitch, one of the first after our changeover from big breeds (great danes, and Spanish mastiffs) to little ones (pekes, yorkie crosses, shih tsu halfbreeds). I never fully forgave Mike for naming her Chichirriqui. He thought it was a playful name. I thought it was disrespectful for such a serious little person as Chichi, who could sit on a chair with her chin on the table and keep everybody enchanted just by cocking her head, rolling her eyes and flicking her ears first in one direction, then another. She was a delightful little one-dog circus with a wide repertory of such techniques for keeping people’s attention properly centered on her: bundy jumps, pa’ ca pa’ yas, spin arounds and shivers. Read more…