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Homenaje a Maureen

Somos Pineros

Homenaje a Maureen.
Hom

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We’ll Be Going Back Next Year–Maybe We’ll Be Lucky and Coincide with Karen

After booking a two-week printmaking workshop with me last month it occurred to Karen Urquhart to consult Google to see if there was any activity during her stay in Granada in her other passion : swing dancing. As it happened the fourth edition of the Monachil Festival of Swing was on during last weekend, the first three days of her stay. Monachil is a mountain village about five miles from us as the crow flies (which by road converts into 15 or 20 kilometers down our valley and up theirs). We had never heard of their swing festival so we asked Karen if we could driver her over there and check it out. Mike took along his cameras.

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The Printmaker from the Oakland Ghetto

Maryly took advantage of a tour of Andalusia with her writing group to tack a workshop with me on the end. She’s glad she did, as together we explored the surprising possibilities of solarplate printmaking and the creative printing of the resulting plates. Maryly was serious about it; she took copious notes.

One of the many stories Maryly had to tell, one that I found extremely interesting, was about her printmaking studio, located in a renovated neon sign factory turned into artists’ studios. It’s located in the middle of what she refers to as “the Oakland ghetto.” Asked if the neighbors were “artist friendly” she affirms, “The whole factory is walled and gated, and there’s space inside to park cars, so the artists don’t have much contact with the locals.” From here it sounds like an interesting setting for creative work.

Here are a few pictures Mike made during Maryly’s workshop.
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The Importance of Having a Great Assistant

We talk a lot about the creative part of printmaking but there’s another aspect which is also creative, but somewhat less: the production side. If you’re going to sell prints you have to edition them. Depending upon the numbers involved–I try to keep my editions under 50–editioning can become a trudge.
Enter the assistant, who can make all the difference. I’ve had a few. When Rodrigo, who was excellent and had worked with me frequently for a number of years, went back to Argentina, I was left on my own. Then an old friend of ours, Maria Jose Braojos, wife and co-producer of Juan Carlos Romera, the video producer who has made all my videos, offered to help me out. I was delighted.
Maria Jose and I have been working together for more than a year now and she has proven to be the ideal helper. It’s not just for her technical ability and her punctillious character, which keeps print quality highly uniform. It’s also because she’s great company, always cheerful and optimistic, always generous with her time and discreetly helpful with her suggestions. Maria Jose’s great, and I want this post to be an homage to her. I asked Mike to make some pictures of us working in the studio yesterday and he kindly said yes. (If you ask me he went off the rails a bit, but he’s entitled to his creativity, too.)
I hope you enjoy this photo essay on a morning of editioning in my studio. Better yet, come on over and we’ll do some work together!
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Revolution, Rain or Shine

As some of you may already know Mike is digitizing his archive of black and white negatives from the old days. Besides the photos of our pueblo going back to 1969 (which he is publishing on a website SomosPineros.com) he has also unearthed family pictures which we had forgotten even existed. It’s a lot of fun. Here are some pictures he made of me participating in an anti-NATO demonstration in Granada’s Plaza Bibarramblas on a rainy day in 1984.
Did we manage to stop Spain’s entry into NATO? No but, 30 years later, we have the satisfaction of knowing we tried.
P.S. I’ll fill out this slide show with some portraits Mike made around that same time of the wonderful left-wing poets, painters, journalists and academics who usually participated in those Quijotesque political demonstrations.

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Gina Miller Granada

Gina Miller (ne Magalotti) and my husband Mike were classmates at university in Michigan. Like so many others they revived the friendship via Facebook a couple of years ago. She had worked as a teacher in the US and Canada, married Australian Ross Miller, moved Down Under in the mid 70s, and was able to realize there her ambition of teaching art. She recently retired. After Ross, a hard-travelling Aussie with an art degree, moved back to Melbourne he had a distinguished career as an art teacher and school administrator. He had the unique experience of being commissioned to create a school from the ground up. He left the project eight years later as principal with more than 2,000 students and 200 staff.

“I was worried about Ross when he retired,” says Gina. “He’d had such an intense professional life. What was he going to do in retirement?” Gina need not have worried. Ross built a sculpture studio in the back yard and started going out there every morning. His latest exhibit in Melbourne, with more than 40 pieces, was a sellout.

Gina had been yearning for some time to do a workshop with me and when their daughter Danielle announced her wedding in the UK, Gina and Ross programmed a week’s layover in Granada. The idea was for Gina to do the workshop while Mike and Ross went rambling round the nearby mountains and the city of Granada. But Ross stepped into my studio on the first morning and never left. Have you ever seen the otters at the zoo playing on the water slide? That’s what Ross and Gina were like in the studio. “This is just what I was needing,” said Ross. “It’s a perfect complement to sculpting!”

Their plans now are to return home and set up a printmaking studio. I’m sure it will be a great one. Here are some pictures that Mike made on the last day of the workshop.

From the visitors’ book:

Maureen,

A truly enlightening experience from the very first moment you step into the studio. Maureen, like all good teachers has an ability to instill self-confidence and adapt to your own artistc themes, style and concepts.

Her personal success and experience as an artist is considerable, but she willingly shares her vast knowledge and experiences of technical processes and aesthetic values. Our folio production over three days seems equal to weeks of work. Thank you so much for an inspirational journey.

Saludos,

Gina and Ross Miller

Selby, Victoria, Australia

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Carmen Cano is the sister-in-law of my assistant, María José. She lives in Almería, a province adjacent to Granada. Carmen is a fine-arts graduate and she teaches art in an Almería high school. Eager to encourage her talented 13-year-old daughter, Elena, in all things arty, she contacted me and asked if they could come up for a couple of days and get their feet wet in solar water. They left this morning and they are both solar converts. “We’ll be back soon,” says Carmen, “and for a longer stay.” Here are some pictures Mike made.

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