Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Printmaking Pizzazz!

The printmaking studio at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia is the most amazing workspace I have ever experienced: exciting, overwhelming, intimidating, and stimulating all at once.  I was there for a weekend workshop in monotype and chine colle with Lisa Hamilton, an inspirational teacher.  Just seeing all the various kinds of work areas, with different tools, equipment, requirements, and safety precautions, was a reminder of the broad sweep of the many different techniques and methods just within printmaking alone.

I was happy to discover that oil based inks didn't give me migraines if the clean up was with vegetable oil.  Apparently it was the solvents used for clean up in the old days that made me think I had to stick with water based inks.  It was a pleasure to work in such a conducive environment.  By the second day I felt warmed up and was able to grow in new directions. I'll post the new work when I get it back from the photographer.

I don't quite understand my fascination with printmaking.  It challenges me in so many ways.  Being dyslexic it is hard to think backwards and in reverse (although on an intuitive level perhaps it comes naturally.)  I am frightened of all the flammable and toxic things in the studio, for printmaking methods where I will never venture.  Yet there is an enduring fascination, that has remained over many years now.  I am hooked on the joy of lifting the paper off the press and never quite knowing what I'll see!  Sometimes the surprises are best of all.