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Archive for August, 2012

Maureen paints in what little spare time she can find.

Maureen Booth, Master Printmaker

Fine-Art Printmaking as Cottage Industry

Maureen converted a stone cottage in Spain into an international fine-art-printmaking business. It took her 34 years and an Internet connection.

Granada, Spain, September, 2012—When artist Maureen Booth moved with her husband and two children to an Andalusian village 40 years ago, fleeing from a suburban British all-mod-cons existence, they were seeking a simple, authentic lifestyle. They didn’t have a car, a television, a washing machine or a phone.

Today Maureen reigns over a multi-faceted fine-art-print operation which spans the world. “The changes weren’t really that complicated,” says Maureen, “keeping in mind that they took place over a long period of time. They were driven by a combination of curiosity and the creative restlessness the Spanish call “inquietud.” Beyond that it was just a logical evolution from painting to printmaking and, of course, an Internet connection.

Maureen’s “evolution” has taken her from a little painting studio in a converted goatshed to the international etching studio of the Rodriguez-Acosta Foundation in Granada where, at the end of the 70s, she was selected on the basis of her drawings to spend three years studying printmaking. When the foundation closed Maureen bought one of their etching presses and set up her own printmaking studio at the bottom of her garden.

There followed years of making prints, editing her own and other artists’ work and running printmaking workshops in her studio and other places around Europe. Today she creates highly-personal hand-pulled fine-art prints in limited editions on a variety of exquisite handmade papers. (All of Maureen’s work is original; she does no digital copies.) She has also had time to raise three children and exhibit her work worldwide. Three years ago she converted a onetime chicken house into a rustic apartment for artists who come to do workshops in her studio. Word spread and her Gallinero (Chicken Coop) residence was soon well booked by artists from more than a dozen countries who come to participate in Maureen’s workstyle and lifestyle. Her latest initiative, started last summer, is Printmaking Master Classes, a collection of printmaking tutorial videos for download.

“Ironically,” says Maureen, “it was Internet that made my recent projects possible. I say ‘ironically’ because in 1999 when my husband Mike offered to make me a website I replied, ‘What for? I’m an artist.’ How little I knew then! Today I’ve got a website and two blogs of my own, plus participating in a half dozen other sites. It was through Internet that I got my first international print commission, a print of the Torre del Oro in Seville for a California medical association that was holding a convention there. The commission was concluded in a single afternoon exchanging three or four emails. I’m still amazed.

It was also through Internet that artists began to come from abroad for my workshops and collaborative work in printmaking. It is so rewarding for me to work with print artists from far-off places. They’ve made me realize that printmakers form a fellowship that knows nothing of national boundaries. It’s as if they were all from the same place with the same concerns and aspirations.

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Deborah Maris Lader in a mellow mood

Deborah Maris Lader of the Chicago Printmakers’ Collaborative

Last week’s mystery image was one that should have been easily identifiable by most any printmaker. In the end it was Deborah Maris Lader of the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative who correctly identified it as ink drying. The photograph below, which shows the ink tin, makes it easier to read. Congratulations Deb. Come and get your chilled summer wine. And if you arrive before September first we’ll include a chicken dinner.

Ink drying in a tin

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Zahra Buali in the studio with Maureen Booth

Zahra Buali is a painter and printmaker from Saudi Arabia. She came to my studio earlier this month for a printmaking workshop. I’m not sure what I was expecting but Zahra exceeded all possible expectations, both as a person and as an artist. Everything Zahra says or does is permeated by sincerity, earnestness and a vast capacity for delight. That, along with her academic preparation–a Canadian art degree–and years of work in her own studio in Saudi, made her an ideal collaborator in the studio, as you can see by the samples of her production in the photo album below.

Thanks for coming, Zahra, for being so appreciative of everything, for learning so enthusiastically and for making us that wonderful meal of Saudi Arabian kabsa. Don’t forget us and come back to see us whenever you can.

What we were listening to: http://youtu.be/2oX2FSv4Rys

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Have a guess: What’s this?

What's this a picture of?

Think you can identify it?

The prize: A chilled summer wine on Maureen’s terrace.

The answer: Next week.

What we’re listening to: http://youtu.be/IxuThNgl3YA

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