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by Mike Booth

In an Intensive Workshop with Maureen

New Zealander, Wendy Kerr, is an experienced printmaker. She also likes to travel. She showed up in Granada recently for an intensive week of collaborative printmaking with Maureen.

They worked together on refining Wendy’s solarplate techniques. In the beginning Wendy was worried about the suitability of her drawings. Maureen said to her, “Don’t worry about your drawing, let’s just have fun.” Thus unchained, Wendy began to make prints, to play with inked crumpled newspaper (previously used for cleaning plates) and to experiment with chine collé (The Italian term is more fun: “fondino.”) and other creative printing techniques.

Towards the end of the week Wendy said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun making prints,” adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever worked more intensely, either.”

When I dropped her at the Granada train station I said, “Come back and see us when you can.”

Her answer: “I’ll be back next year.”

Here are a few photographs.

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I recently received this lovely note from Wendy. I’m proud to share it with you:

Back in New Zealand and now remembering the wonderful printmaking experience I had with Maureen (and let’s not forget Mike)’.

Her marvellous richly resourced studio is a printmakers heaven. All those goodies stashed away just waiting to become someone’s best print ever. Most printmakers are lovers of paper and Maureen’s collection of wonderful print papers, as well as her ‘museum’ of tissue and other interesting papers and materials for chine colle etc are an inspiration to creativity.

Maureen’s skills and talents are a rich resource for the visiting printmakers too. She gave freely of her wide experience and guided me to create some very good work.

I loved being ‘’ín residence”. The accommodation is delightful; peaceful and picturesque, and just a skip down the steps each day to the studio.

Thank you Maureen and Mike. Hope to see you again next year. Wendy.

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Good morning Frances

I found this note below written in my visitors’ book a few days after Frances and Mike Parker left. It made me so proud I want to share it with you.

Teachers are born with a gift and you have this gift in bucket loads.

How can I ever thank you enough for your energy, talent, passion, wisdom and generosity? I have learnt so much from you in such a short time. Not just about technique and process, much deeper lessons in how to live an artistic and creative life, lessons that I will take with me and draw on to enrich my work and relationships.

The studio space, the adorable Gallinero, the village, the river and most of all Mike and your hospitality and generosity have made our visit so memorable.

Frances & Mike Parker

Thank you for your too-kind words, Frances. I wish you and Mike the greatest success wherever you go, whatever you do. I suspect you’re going to etch a deep mark on Australian printmaking.

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Watch This Young Artist

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One day in 1770 when Captain Cook was sailing past a little island on the northeast coast of Australia his compass started misbehaving. He presumed it had to do with deposits of magnetic minerals found there and named the place “Magnetic Island.” (Those were the days when the Brits could name and claim territories just by sailing past them.) In the end it turned out not to be magnetic, but never mind. 

Two and a half centuries later Chelsea Candy was born there and grew up to be one of the most authentic people we have ever met. Her effortless manner of just being herself makes the people around her feel more like themselves, a delightful event when it (seldom) happens. Twenty-nine years old now, she’s built a studio beside her house and has decided to become a printmaker. After working with her for 10 days I’m sure she will succeed.

Chelsea showed up here a couple of weeks ago to extend and polish her printmaking skills. I have seldom seen an artist so well centered and hard working. Driven by an overriding enthusiasm to learn as much as she could Chelsea was in the studio every morning and afternoon turning out traditional acid etchings, solarplate and liquid-metal prints (See below, though her best prints, made on the last day, missed getting photographed.)

So busy she was making prints that she didn’t even get to see the Alhambra, the one excursion here that nobody misses. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ll see the Alhambra next time.”

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More Photographs from IB Bremen’s Printmaking Workshop in Granada with Maureen Booth

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They Arrive as High-School Art Students, but I Think They Leave Feeling a Little Bit More Like Artists,

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Like half of the artists who arrive at my studio affirming that they can’t draw, many of Brenda’s students were shy about their drawing skills. So I dispelled that doubt at the very beginning. “Don’t worry about drawing, ” I said, “Just make some images on these acetates and we’ll burn them onto solar plates. You can used textures, impressions, text, and you can even draw! The results were gratifying both for them and for me. These extremely attentive and polite Bremen young people took immediately to printmaking like ducklings to water.

Mike, who was also the cook, made these photographs on their last day. As there are “too many photos” he has suggested publishing half of them today and the other half tomorrow. He doesn’t want you choking on them.

(Click on an image to enlarge it and open a slide show.)

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In all my years of teaching printmaking Chika Niinuma has been a solitary case for me. It started with a brief email:

Hello,

I just want to ask you if I can experience a copperplate print while I am staying at Granada. Do you have any class for beginners? I just arrived in Granada and am planning to stay here 4-5 days.

I saw some copperplate print art in Nerja and am very interested how to make such a beautiful art.

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon,

Chika Niinuma (from Japan)

I said sure, come on out and we’ll see what we can do. Chika, tall, slender, pretty and with that endearing Japanese manner punctuated with little bows, appeared in my studio the next morning. I asked her if she had done any printmaking before. “No, she replied, “I have never done any kind of artwork before.” So we began. “This is a copper plate.”

Over the next three days Chika metamorphosed from a timid, uncertain absolute beginner into a blossoming printmaker. She thought she couldn’t draw. I convinced her she could. From there it was all downhill for her. Best of all she seemed to be enjoying the experienece immensely. She was almost another person. After a long first morning´s work and lunch I suggested she have a rest. She awakened three and a half hours later. “I don’t normally sleep that well,” she said, “and never during the day.” I told her, “·Mike says the best medicine for insomnia is happiness.” “Oh yes,” she said, “I was so happy this morning!”

Here are some photographs:.

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“Rest? Nooo… We want to get some work done!”

And so they did. If they had been beavers they would have dammed the Thames in two weeks. Hillary, recently retired as the head set designer at the National Theatre in London, is the methodical one and Phil, a theatre director and playwrite, is exhuberant. They are also serious printmakers. This is the sixth workshop they are doing together.

I usually try to find ways of challenging the artists who come to my workshops, but these two challenged me. With their print experience and their formidable talents they had quite clear ideas of what they wanted to achieve and were constantly posing questions, suggesting their own solutions, generally keeping me on my toes.

It was a marvelously intensive two weeks for all three of us. Phil even participated in our village’s annual painting contest. They are leaving on Sunday, and are taking home with them enough prints to mount a small exhibit, should they decide to do that.

It’s been great working with both of you, Hilary and Phil. I hope you come back soon.

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