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Posts Tagged ‘Maureen Booth printmaker’

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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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Homenaje a Maureen

Somos Pineros

Homenaje a Maureen.
Hom

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In recent months a couple of my galleries in Granada have been asking, “Could you make us some miniature prints?” These are my first proofs.

 

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Your first portfolio is a milestone. This is the point where you’ve practiced enough printmaking techniques to make a respectable showing with your first formal project. Your confidence has grown to an almost viable level—along with an equally-heightened case of nerves and apprehension. This is the big time. What subject should you choose? What techniques should you employ for this first effort? If I may offer my advice, choose a subject that is familiar to you, something you love and is close at hand. As for techniques, keep it simple. You’re just starting out. There’s plenty of time to get fancy as you go along.

Shall I tell you about my first portfolio? It was 1978 and my maestro, José García Lomas (Pepe Lomas to his friends), suggested that I might be ready to make my first portfolio of prints. I had been studying with him at the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation in Granada for more than two years. Pepe  offered to guide me through process of making the portfolio. What a luxury that was.

He was delighted when I told him I had chosen a nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, by the English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet, Edward Lear. This was a poem that, for some reason, I remembered vividly from my childhood. Pepe agreed with me that it offered splendid visual possibilities.

I must confess that the five plates that I created for The Owl and the Pussycat were not precisely simple. I worked on them for six months, pulling untold proof prints. Encouraged all along by my maestro, who wanted to see me show off the techniques he had taught me, techniques that I had practiced every weekday morning for more than two years, I went to work enthusiastically. So the etched zinc plates incorporated line work, aquatint, and soft ground. The Rodríguez-Acosta workshop had a wonderful big aquatint box with paddle bellows and we were still in the age of immortality. I suspect we all breathed a lot more resin than was good for us.

Before I even touched the first plate I did sketches for all five of them. Any comments Pepe made were always limited to technical considerations, as he always scrupulously respected his students’ artistic criteria. I started by varnishing five zinc plates and lightly etching in the basic drawings, then working the plates all up together starting with the aquatint. Though all the plates were different, this approach insured some degree of coherence across the whole portfolio.

We decided on an edition of 50 portfolios and 50 loose sets. Multiply that by five etchings plus a cover illustration and it adds up to 600 prints. Pepe insisted that the whole job be done by Angel and Pepillo, the workshop’s two printing technicians. The artists at the Foundation seldom touched the etching presses. While they did that I went off to find an offset print shop to print the cover text and colophon.

I presented The Owl and the Pussycat along with other work in an exhibition at Granada’s wonderful Palacio de la Madraza, the 14th-century building opposite the cathedral. La Madraza housed Granada’s first university and belongs to the University of Granada today.

This was the most successful portfolio I ever did.

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“I’d like to go back home and teach these techniques…”

Jess is a lovely girl and was a pleasure to work with. She seemed to have a sense of purpose beyond her 20 years, learning the techniques of creative printmaking very fast. I was able to let her do her own printing after a few days. She has a lot of natural charm and also very keen to learn about solar plates and the liquid metal technique. Jess left with some very interesting prints which we made together and also a lot she created on her own. She also loved the city of Granada, where she would go lots of afternoons using the local bus service. We will miss you, Jess. Come back when you can.

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.From the visitors’ book:

I will always remember my time here with joy. I have learnt so much about art, Spain and myself. It’s an experience I will always treasure. Maureen, you and Miguel have been more than accommodating during my time here. So thank you. You have taught me such a mass of things. Perhaps I will see you in New Zealand!

Love, Jess — Keep in touch!

17 August 2015

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Mel & Bernice Strawn, Salida, Colorado, USA

Mel and Bernice Strawn are a young couple whose entire lives have been dedicated to art. He taught at universities in Michigan, Colorado and, I think, Chicago. She is a painter and sculptor with a long trajectory of incredibly imaginative and delicate work. When Mel retired from teaching they made their home outside Salida, Colorado, high in the Rockies, where they still live. Mel has the honor of being one of the world’s very first digital artists.

He and B came to the Gallinero and my studio in February of 2011 to work on solarplate prints. Mel had already done some solar work but, tireless researcher that he is, he wanted to delve further. Working with them was a delight and a learning experience for me as Mel questioned and experimented every step of the way, while B did what she is: pure creativity.

We’re still in touch via email and Mel is still experimenting with new solar plates. (The manufacturers should supply him with plates and pay him for  publishing his findings!) Thanks for coming, Mel and B. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you. You’re two wonderful role models for the creative life.

Here’s a longer article on the Strawns from the Colorado Central Magazine.

From the visitors’ book: “My husband, Mel, and I have stepped out of the cold February weather of Colorado to enjoy the sun on the little deck to draw, work on prints and sip a little afternoon wine.  The view across the valley to the south dips to the River Genil  and then up the steep terraced hillside carpeted with green and glowing with blooming almond trees. The Booths have cultivated an exotic garden here which immediately captivated me.  The local nopal, prickly pear cactus clumps, are fascinating and I did several prints based on those forms. In Maureen’s studio you can try out different approaches to printmaking and with her help you can find one that relates to the direction of your art. Maureen and Mike are very generous in their concerns for your comfort and the success of your art goals. We couldn’t have asked for more caring and attentive hosts.

Bernice and Mel Strawn, March 2011

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Fran Ramírez, Madrid, Spain

Fran Ramírez is a talented and dedicated artist. We have been doing collaborative work together in my studio for more than 10 years. As you can see from the images below, Fran has his own particular view of life in Spain plus a unique vision in his paintings and prints.  He has recently finished the restoration work on a new studio in Madrid for himself and his photographer wife, Marta. It also includes a discreet exhibit space. We’re anxious to see the work they hang up there.

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Dave McConnell, Boston, USA

Dave McConnell was a special person and it was a privilege to have him in my studio for a  week’s collaborative work in photogravure solar plate. To begin with, a few days after he returned home to Boston he turned 90. He was accompanied on this trip to Spain by his son, a banker with the Boston Fed. Dave, who had spent his working life as a photographer at the Boston Globe, was the quintessence of the charming Irishman with a young heart, excellent humor and that glint in his eye. His project was to make a four-color solarplate photogravure print from a color photograph he had made many years before. This was new territory for me; we both learned a lot from the experience. And we had a grand time in the process. Here’s some pictures Mike made.

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Beatriz Taillefer, Málaga, Spain

Beatriz is from Málaga, an authentic Andalusian provincial capital located at the edge of one of the world’s biggest tourist booms, the Costa del Sol. She had been primarily a portrait painter (one of Andalusia’s finest) for years when she decided to expand her repertoire and, along with her compañero Eduardo Guille (see below), came to my studio to try printmaking. Already an accomplished artist she quickly started turning out colorful and creative solarplate prints at a professional level.

Shortly after returning home she and Eduardo exhibited in Málaga the prints they had made with me. Not only was the show successful in terms of print sales, but it resulted in a series of commissions for editions.

 

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Audrey Feltham, Deer Lake, Newfoundland, Canada

Audrey and her husband Jim were here for just a few days but in that time she did some interesting prints and we learned a lot about the Canadian northeast. Jim told some wonderful stories of his experiences as a high-school teacher and basketball coach in a village on the northernmost coast of Baffin Island, which enjoys low winter temperatures of 40-50 degrees below zero. “How far is it from the nearest town?” I asked. “About an hour,” he replied. “By road?” “No, by plane. There aren’t any roads.” And like that. Here’s wishing the Felthams well, and do bundle up, won’t you! (more…)

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