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Posts Tagged ‘printmaking Granada’

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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Abbie Luck, London, UK

At the time Abbie came to my workshop, in 2005 I think, she had just gotten a job as art teacher at a fancy girls’ school in London and was eager to expand her repertoire of techniques. She took naturally to solarplate printmaking and did some interesting work while she was here. She liked solarplate particularly as it was something she could teach her students without getting involved with acid and resins. She quickly made friends with Karoline Piedra, the American artist from Massachusetts who was on holiday from her day job in Switzerland. That’s the two of them below, captured on a day that Mike and his mate, Curro, were doing some electronic flash tests that somehow got mixed with a wine tasting. That’s probably why the two girls seem to glisten in the photograph.

From a comment by Abbie on my Printmaking Courses in Spain blog: “Thank you for everything. I am leaving with a wealth of knowledge, but also wonderfully relaxed. You have been so welcoming. I have come to feel really at home in your studio and in Granada. I couldn’t have asked for a better working holiday. I will most definitely be back to visit.”

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Maureen etching press

Here’s What We’ve Been Up To for the Past 15 Years or So

Mike and I were reminiscing the other evening about all of the wonderful people who have come to Granada to work with me in my studio over the years when he said, “Why don’t we do a multí-chapter post that is a tribute to all of them? Do you have samples of their work?” That’s how this project was born, and it’s turning out to be a fascinating stroll for me through years of printmaking, teaching, and collaborative work with other artists. I hope it will be that for some of you, too.

What follows is the first chapter in a retrospective virtual exhibit of work done by the artists who have worked with me in my studio over many years. They have come from all over the world, from Canada and the U.S.A to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Australia, and many places in between. They appear here in roughly chronological order. Their work includes a wide variety of techniques: traditional acid etching, collage, variations on solar-plate printmaking, liquid metal, photogravure, linocuts, etc. The photographs used here of the artists and their work were mainly done by Mike while they were here. Where available we have included excerpts from the messages they left in my visitors’ book as they were leaving. Let’s start at the beginning.

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My first portfolio, The Owl and the Pussycat, 1979, edited at the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation

 Photos by Mike Booth

Painting Came First

I was a painter for 16 years before I started studying fine-art printmaking. Like many nice things in my life it happened in a serendipitous way. I had known for some time that Granada had a private art foundation that selected artists from around the world for training in their exclusive printmaking workshop, but I was convinced that I didn’t quality to apply there. I had seen an exhibit of etchings done there and they seemed to me like sheer magic. I thought, “How on earth did they do that?”

Then one day I bumped into my English painter friend, Louise Waugh, and she was over the moon because she had just been accepted to work at the Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta, the printmaking foundation created by Granada artist and philanthropist, Miguel Rodríguez-Acosta. “How did you manage that?” I asked her. “I just presented a portfolio of sketches.” The following week I showed up trembling at the door of the Foundation’s workshop with my portfolio under my arm. A couple of weeks later I received a note instructing me to show up at the taller on Monday morning ready to go to work. I couldn’t believe it.

Pepe Lomas, the Heart and Soul

Pepe Lomas Miguel Rod.-Acosta

José García Lomas (left) and Miguel Rodríguez-Acosta in the Foundation workshop

The heart and soul of the Foundation printmaking workshop was José García Lomas, the maestro grabador.  Pepe had been formed as a master printmaker in workshops in Italy and in Barcelona and was a meticulous teacher, respectful of his students’ own styles and creativity, always conscientiously avoiding the imposition of his own. I worked under Pepe’s guidance for two and a half years, until the Foundation workshop closed. I thought I was there learning to etch. But now that I have my own workshop and work with artists I realize that my maestro was also, at the same time and by subtle example, teaching me to teach. For that I am eternally grateful.

If Pepe thought you were serious he was lavishly generous with his printmaking knowledge. As I was usually the first one to arrive at the studio and was very keen, Pepe went out of his way to see to it that I was given a proper formation in etching. We would have breakfast together most mornings—café con leche and pastries– at the Sibarí bar on the corner. And when my husband Mike came to pick me up at midday we would all have a couple of wines together at the tapas bar halfway down the block. I was in my element; those were good times.

There weren’t more than a dozen active artists at the Foundation and rarely did more than three or four of them show up at one time. Many days I had the workshop, the maestro and his two assistants all to myself. I felt privileged, like an apprentice in a Renaissance etching studio, only better. I didn’t have to sweep up. Looking back I can conceive of no greater luxury. The norm at the workshop was three or four working proofs per plate. But if Pepe saw you were onto something he would let you keep on pulling proofs for as long as you needed. I say “pulling proofs,” but the truth is I never printed a single plate in all my time at the Foundation. That was always done by one or the other of the two studio assistants, Pepito and Ángel.

The All-Important Atmosphere

Miguel Rodríguez-Acosta

Miguel Rodríguez-Acosta, the workshop’s founder, at work

Whether by luck or by design the Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta studio was an ideal setting for making prints. The walls were lined with benches with individual lights over the work spaces. Except for the light over the big motorized etching press, that was the only illumination and it created an almost monastic atmosphere of seriousness and purpose.  There, under Pepe’s watchful supervision I made my first plate. On it he taught me to use different tools and chemicals to achieve the principal traditional etching techniques: acid etching and aquatint, soft ground, sugar lift, carborundum and dry point, along with something Pepe called “craquelado,” “crackling.”

My maestro was a meticulous artist and teacher and he made me meticulous. He was a stickler for the preparation of the plate, scrupulously polishing the surface and beveling the edges. Sometimes, even today, I’m shocked to see printmakers come into my studio with rough, ragged-edged plates, and I always think of Pepe.

Some of My Early Work

Stay tuned for more to come in Part II

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Accompanied by the voice of José Carreras

Do you think this video is calculated to seduce you to come to Granada? You’re right.

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What’s a “gallinero” and why should you want to stay there?

Goodbye to Brenda Eubank-Ahrens and her marvelous group of art students from the International School of  Bremen, Germany

I say “artists,” rather than “art students,” as these young people from Brenda Eubank-Ahrens’ art class at the International School of Bremen functioned with all the maturity, concentration, enthusiasm and talent of fully-fledged artists. (Have a look at some of their solarplate work in the album of photographs which follows. This is only the monochrome work from the first two days. We didn’t print their color stuff till the last day and Mike didn’t have the chance to shoot it, as he was busy preparing the big  end-of-course barbecue.) This was the third year running that Brenda has come to Granada with a group of 17-18 year olds, and it was, again, a great pleasure to work with them.

If a  picture is worth a thousand words, here’s about 60,000 words on our three-day solarplate experience in my studio in Granada:

What we were listening to: http://youtu.be/GypIrhqmv3o

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

Cathy and Maureen review one of Cathy's new prints in Maureen's studio in Granada

In my Liquid Metal Printmaking video I use a two-tube epoxy adhesive (“cold metal solder”) called “Nural 21″ sold by a Spanish firm called Pattex. As it turned out, this product is not available in the U.S.A. and some American artists have been frustrated trying to find a suitable substitute. Now Cathy Naro has found it. I’ll let her tell you about it: (more…)

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California Society of Printmakers Newsletter--Homepage

Barbara Milman, an ex president of the California Society of Printmakers was here recently making solarplate prints with Maureen in the studio. When she got back home she published this report on the society’s newsletter. Thank you Barbara, for the plug! Here’s the link: http://caprintmakers.wordpress.com/

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