The Printmakers Council was formed in 1965 a group of artists including Julian Trevelyan, Michael Rothenstein, Anthony Gross, Stanley Jones and Agatha Sorel who saw the need for a society that would promote new developments within printmaking. Since then it has consistently promoted the place of printmaking in the visual arts. More about the history of the Printmakers Council here
In 2017 the Council invited artist printmakers to submit works for the Print City and Mini Print exhibitions which opened on November at the Morley Gallery in Lambeth London. The exhibits showed the breadth of UK printmaking including silkscreen, etching, linocut, lithography, solar and plastic engraving. I submitted a mini print (19×19) of an inkjet print on pastel paper – Welsh Bowl with Mermaids Purse, Sheep’s Wool and Rabbits Tail. The Mini Prints are a portfolio that will be held by the V&A Print Collection. I met Michael Pritchard from Staffordshire who had his digital prints in the city exhibition that sat alongside plastic engravings by Louise Hayward and Guy Butters Underground Surveillance that hung in on of the windows which are included in the slide how of iPhone pictures from the opening night.
The gallery is nearby The Imperial War Museum which was particularly dramatic that night with a bright moon low in the sky.
Museum of the Moon is a new touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram.
Measuring seven metres in diameter, the moon features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.
Moon Story, Drawing and social media.
The original drawing was begun when the artist visited the Museum of the Moon exhibition and spotted a ‘moonlight’ in the corner in the dark expanse housing Luke Jerram’s massive moon. On a closer view the moonlight was a table lamp beamed on a book being read by Steve to an entranced family. The illuminated reader and family provided a strong composition to base a drawing on. The artist took iPhone pictures, transferred them to an iPad, into adobe procreate and using an apple pencil the drawing was created through a number of states. An early version was posted. on Instagram channel where Museum Manager Jessica spotted it, showed it to Steve who was surprised and impressed. Jess used Instagram to contact the Artist to let him know Steve would like a copy if possible.
Once the drawing was finished proofs were made on a high quality Cannon inkjet printer on to a range of papers before an edition of 5 were printed on 300 gsm aquarelle off white paper. Two months on from the Saturday encounter in the Museum of the Moon the 2nd print of the edition was presented to Steve who along with Jessica enjoyed seeing the mounted fine print. Of course it quickly appeared on the @thinktankmuseum feed.
Presentations from Day 1 at Loughborough University Fine Art Department in this slide show.
Following an introduction to Drawing / phenomenology: tracing lived experiences through drawing, by Conference Organiser and host Deborah Hartley, a diverse and insightful series of presentations covering intensely local to expansive global drawing projects ….
Deborah Harty: drawing is phenomenology?
Jane Cook: Drawing the Domestic: a practice-led phenomenological study through–drawing investigating notions of the experience of home.
Martin Lewis: Perfunctory Acts of Drawing.
Marion Arnold: The Sensing, Knowing Hand: a Phenomenological Drawing Tool.
Eleanor Morgan: Fixing the ephemeral: the materiality of sand-drawings.
Phil Sawdon: … feel my way … outline judgements … I made some pictures
…… there was a choice of 4 workshops for the afternoon session.
I selected the intriguingly titled : Gained in Translation:Drawing Art History presented by Sarah Jaffray from the Bridget Riley Foundation at The British Museum. Surprisingly this was a participatory session where we were encouraged to draw from the collection of British Museum prints inc great masters and more recent drawing works. Beginning with quick draw exercises to get us loosened up we worked through pictures at speed and then on to a longer 10 minute drawing session. My selected drawing for this longer session was Michel Thevoz in the library of the Art Brut Museum, Graphite by Ariane Laroux. This longer focus on ‘copying’ or ‘Re, Representing’ a drawing enabled me to begin to understand the flow of the drawing through the artist’s eyes, by copying her drawing with intense attention to detail to honestly copy and represent her drawing.
The drawing captured the subject, but left much of the subject out. Much of the paper remained white and untouched. Following the drawing from head to hand seemed to reveal decisions made by Ariane Laroux to draw her subject, which may have gone unnoticed without the attention to detail required to copy her drawing. This seemed to confirm the thesis that faithful copying from original art is valuable to the copier in terms of dexterity, skills and insight into the artistic process.
I was not attempting to make better the original, but to replicate it honestly to the best of one’s ability to make a genuine copy. I felt the process of drawing Ariane’s Drawing brought me closer to her process to draw her subject. It was no longer an exercise, but an engaged desire to be true to her drawing, and to be with her, in her mark making and her decisions to draw parts of her subject that illuminated her whole subject. I did not know or see her subject before her, as I did not know the Ruben’s or Leonardo’s subjects, but with licence and dedicated time to draw from her picture I got to know the subject and even closer to the artist’s representation of the subject. Whilst being drawn into the process and giving as much as I could into the timeframe I felt I wanted to talk to Ariane about her drawing choices, in this portrait, because I thought I ‘knew more’ than when I began.
Sarah Jaffray’s workshop focussed on translation, which is wholly pertinent, however I took from it ‘the right to copy’ as an educational, skills and insightful process of value. She, through the Bridget Riley Foundation, encourages drawings of the drawings, for the benefit of of the contemporary drawer.
This process encouraged me to question where Drawing and Phenomenology meet?
The workshop abstract :
Gained in Translation: Drawing Art History
Drawing from drawing is as old as the artist’s workshop: students drawing from their master’s work, tacked to the wall of a studio, began their journey to mastery through faithful copying. Today however, in the wake of post-modernism’s reaction against authority, copying from a ‘master’ feels outdated and has thus been erased from contemporary arts education.
For the past three years the Bridget Riley Art Foundation at the British Museum has worked with over 1,000 university art students to revive and interrogate the value of drawing from drawing as a contemporary research method. In the process of over 150 workshops we found that students who initially dismissed the practice as ‘servile copying’ began to legitimise the process with the language of translation.
Building on this qualitative research, our workshop will examine the practice of drawing from drawing through the lens of translation theory. We will discuss translation, in the manner of Walter Benjamin, as a mode of cognition that allows the translator to critically interrogate their own artistic language. Working through a series of drawing exercises from (reproductions of) drawings in the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings collection we will actively explore the question: what can translating teach the translator
Those interested in drawing from the collection can make an appointment at : www.britishmuseum.org.
The Artworks used from the British Museum collection:
1. Paul Cézanne, Study of a plaster Cupid, c.1890; graphite. 1935,0413.2
2. Bridget Riley, Untitled 2 (Circles with verticals), 1960; Pencil, blue ink and gouache paper. 2013,7097.2
3. Vincent van Gogh, La Crau from Montmajour, France, May 1888; Pen and brown ink, over black chalk and graphite. 1968,0210.20
4. Ariane Laroux, Michel Thevoz in the library of the Art Brut Museum; graphite. 2001,0929.12
5. Théodore Géricault, Study of Soldiers fighting Civilians, 1823; Graphite over red chalk. 1920,0216.3
6. Sol Lewitt, Untitled, 1971. Pen and yellow ink. 1981,1003.27
7. Antoine Watteau, Studies of a woman standing, seen from behind, a half-length woman with head in profile to left and women’s hands, 1684-1721; Red and black chalks, 1857,0228.213
8. Peter Paul Rubens, Mary Magdalene, c. 1620; Black chalk, heightened with white. 1912,1214.5; H16
9. Frank Auerbach, First drawing for ‘Ruth’, 1994; graphite. 2013,7059.48
10. Leonardo, The Virgin and Child, 1478-80; Pen and brown ink, over leadpoint, the lower sketch in leadpoint only. 1860,0616.100, P&P 100
11. Barbara Hepworth, Sculptural forms, c. 1938; ink on paper. 2008,7082.1
12. Honoré Daumier, Clown playing a drum, c.1865/7; Pen and black and grey ink, grey wash, watercolour, touches of gouache, and conté crayon, over black chalk underdrawing. 1968,0210.30
May 10 th arrives and the 30 Printed Portraits will be revealed to all and those who feature on the walls of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
In the morning I was attending to final details including briefing the wonderful front of house team and remaking the nameplates with larger type and a Shrieval coat of arms. A gentleman came into the space and after a while focussing on the pictures I asked what he thought. He had seen the exhibition advertised on the BMAG Whats on listings and had travelled in especially from Telford in Shropshire to see it.
We talked about the how he is semi retired and visits galleries near and far to get a sense of artists work close up. We discussed portraits, photography, art before taking a picture of each other. He asked if he could take my picture in front of the Portrait of Eileen Wright as it is his favourite because of the ‘glint in her eye at her age’, as well as the big buttons on the phone she used to take he 97th birthday call.
Mike had been to the TATE in Liverpool to see the Rossetti Monna Vanna portrait and had taken a celebratory picture. I pointed out that next door in Gallery 17 is a beautiful picture by Rossetti of Beatrix. He thanked me and went to see it, quickly returning with glee and after one last tour of the portraits made his comment in the book.
As the normal viewing day came to a close a group of women came into Gallery 16. They viewed the portraits with interest and consideration, sharing their views to each other about the portraits and the subjects. They enthusiastically reflected, and nominated their top three! Top of their favourites was Eileen Wright.
I heard later that evening at the private view that as they left the Museum they met Eileen’s daughter and husband on the gallery entrance doorsteps and eulogised about the portrait exhibition and in particular the one of the older lady making her birthday phone call. Wonderful
There are many clever, precise skills and crafts required to hang a 30 frame exhibition. Especially as I wanted a very aligned approach. Getting the balance right between the 3 different sizes of frames to provide an equality of status for each portrait, while a unity across the 4 walls was a priority that Dr Rob achieved to perfection with his attention to detail at every stage. Rob also suggested not using the traditional ‘mirror clips’ to hang the show, but to use security picture fixings. These have the benefit of being hidden from the view as the frames ‘magically’ hang on the wall. In addition the spring locks are secure and prevent the frames being removed with out the ‘special lever. Lawrence at the Framers was able to supply.
Click on the gallery below to see pictures of the process.
Dr Rob Top tip : If the walls are not necessarily flat – you end up with rocking pictures. This can be remedied with a slice of cork behind the frame, but it can become uneven to look at on the oblique view which matters if the galleries are big.
My twosome, double up 4 colour silkscreen has been included on the ON PAPER artists submissions site.
ON PAPER is a project to promote the art of printmaking and develop connections between printmakers around the world. It is based in Barcelona and run by an art association with Nuria Melero as a main organiser.
ON PAPER contest : 3rd ANNUAL ‘ON PAPER’ INTERNATIONAL PRINTMAKING AWARD 2017
The shortlisted artists for the On PAPER Award 2017 will be exhibited in The Chicago Printmaking Collaborative, Chicago USA, from July 8th – August 31st 2017. More information here :
There was a great breadth of printmaking knowledge and history from Andrew Bell’s 17th Century 540 copper engravings for the Encylopedia Britannica through to present day digital, laser and 3d Printing at Edinburgh Printmakers.
As a contribution to the place of Scottish print and politics Dr Lucinda Lax, from The Scottish National Portrait Gallery delivered a paper on ‘The Bonnie Prince in Print: Sir Robert Strange, Allan Ramsay, and the origins of the ‘Everso Missus’ portrait.
This was a fascinating insight into the background, context and process to make the portrait of the Bonnie Prince Charlie before he led the ill-fated army South.
Dr Lax quoted the letter sent to the artist inviting him to come to the Prince at Hollyrood : ‘Sir, you are desired to come to the Palace of Holyrood House as soon as possible in order to take his Royal Highness’s picture” The word ‘take’ seems to come from a future practice of Photography rather than a request to a traditional portrait painter.
Dr Lax thesis suggests the portrait was required to be made at speed before the Prince went south. This may have led to the use of the word ‘take’, rather to ‘paint’
Scottish Society of Art History.
The symposium was organized by SSAH and Dr Lax is looking forward to publish her paper through the Society.
Dr Lesley Logue, University of East London.
A Study of the Role of the Master Printmaker at Edinburgh Printmakers. The Master Printmaker is an artist in their own right, a technician and a collaborator.
David Faithfull presents Ed Ruscha’s books as part of his presentation on Palindromes.
David Faithfull and Dr Ruth Pelzer-Montada take questions to conclude the Symposium.
The programme at Edinburgh Printmakers
The Printmaking Workshop
10.05 – Alastair Clark, Master Printer and Studio Director.
A tour of Edinburgh Printmakers studio as an example of printmaking workshops in Scotland and more globally. He will illustrate printmaking practise through a lithography print demonstration of work by Andrew MacKenzie. Printmaking Practitioners
11.25 -Artist Andrew MacKenzie discusses his artwork, and how introducing printmaking into his methodologies changed his artistic practice.
Process & Possibilities
12.10 – Lesley Logue.
Curators talk on the exhibition Process & Possibilities and insight into Edinburgh Printmakers print archive. Printmaking in Scotland, Panel discussion
14.00 – Panel discussion concerning the history and way forward for printmaking in Scotland today.
The programme at the Scottish National Gallery on Saturday 4th is as follows: Early Development and Training
10.05 – Ann Gunn, University of St Andrews.
‘Five Hundred and Forty-two Copperplates’: Andrew Bell’s illustrations for the Encylopedia Britannica 1771-1797
10.25 – Jonathan Macdonald.
Printmaking at the Foulis Academy (1775-1773)
Scottishness and Politics
11.00 – Dr Lucinda Lax, Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
‘The Bonnie Prince in Print: Sir Robert Strange, Allan Ramsay, and the origins of the ‘Everso Missus’ portrait
11.20 – Mary Modeen and Nel Whiting, University of Dundee.
‘Groups of the manners in Scotland: David Allan – The Process and Politics of Printmaking
11.40 – Murdo Macdonald, University of Dundee.
Printmaking and Scottish Literature in the Nineteenth Century Print Collecting
13.45 – Arthur Watson, Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture.
Print, Press and Cabinet
14.05 – Dr William Rough, University of St Andrews
Print Collecting in Dundee: Orchar, Haden and the Dundee Fine Art Exhibitions 1879-1881 Process
14.40 – David Faithfull, Visual Artist.
PALINDROME, REFLECTIONS IN THE SCOTTISH LANDSCAPE: Their physical and spiritual manifestations in printmaking process and concept, with particular focus on David Young Cameron’s ‘Ben Ledi’
15.00 – Dr Lesley Logue, University of East London.
A Study of the Role of the Master Printmaker at Edinburgh Printmakers
15.20 – Dr Ruth Pelzer-Montada, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.
Leaving the Frame: Print in Contemporary Scottish Art
This is my first post for this new site. Working on my first 4 colour silk screen for ‘twoasone’ Eleonora Bruno’s print exhibition with Claudio Lici’s music performance on the 28th at Birmingham School of Art.