Posts Tagged ‘printmaking studios’

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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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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Anglo-Spanish artist, Maureen BoothGranada, Spain, August 25, 2001–With her soon-to-be-released collection of Printmaking Master Class download videos, Granada-based Anglo-Spanish artist, Maureen Booth, is taking the next step in her 30-year career as a fine-art printmaker, editor and educator. “For the past couple of years, ever since we built my Gallinero creative residence, I’ve been teaching more printmaking workshops than ever,” says Maureen. “Artists arrive from around the world to do workshops and one-on-one collaborative printmaking projects with me. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time for me to attend everyone. Also, as my studio is located in rural Spain, I’m a bit out of the way for many artists who want to perfect their printmaking techniques. So these videos are a way of reaching those people.”

The first step in the Printmaking Master Classes project was to shoot the first five videos and a trailer in Maureen’s Pomegranate Editions studio, located in a village in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Granada. The trailer will be posted on YouTube and other online video platforms with free access in mid-September, 2001. The full-length videos will be offered for sale as downloads. “If these first five videos are successful,” says Maureen, “we can make more. Every time we do a video recording session new ideas arise.”

Maureen Booth, master printmakerThe five videos are entitled:

  • Make Prints Like the Old Masters–Traditional Printmaking, Part I
  • It’s Easy to Make a (Bad) Solar-Plate Print–Solar-Plate Printmaking Secrets
  • Nice Plate, How Are You Going to Print It?–Creative Printing
  • The Fine-Art Printmakers Logo–How to Make a Chop
  • Turning Epoxy Solder into Art– Liquid Metal Printmaking

The idea for the Printmaking Master Classes project came from filmmaker and video producer, Juan Carlos Romera. “We’ve been friends with Juan Carlos for many years,” says Maureen. “A few years ago I played the part of an English printmaker who falls in love with a Spanish fisherman in Bive, one of Juan Carlos’s short films. So, a few months ago he shows up with an ambitious new project to make printmaking instruction videos and offer them as downloads on Internet. One cup of coffee later we were partners.

Maureen Booth, from Manchester, U.K., has been making fine-art prints in her Granada studio since the early 1980’s. In those 30 years she has passed through all the stages of a young artist’s progress from beginner to master printmaker and editor. “I was lucky in the beginning,” she says, “to be selected to study in the etching workshop of the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation in Granada. I was actually doubly lucky as I worked under the guidance of the maestro José García Lomas. Pepe Lomas was the ideal mentor, a gentle soul and a true European master, formed in the some of the finest Italian and Catalan print studios.

Maureen's presentation for her "Making a Chop" videoAfter the Rodríguez-Acosta Foundation workshop closed in 1981 Maureen had the opportunity to purchase one of the etching presses with all the trimmings—custom-built tables, flattening press, drying racks, rollers, inks and papers—and set up her own printmaking workshop in her painting studio at home. Printmaking soon took over.

Maureen’s desire is that these new videos might be useful to both amateur and professional printmakers, and that they might make a small contribution towards extending printmaking culture among artists and art lovers around the world.

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