Our featured artist for November is Mary Faust Carradine who has chosen print making as her chosen form of artistic expression. I have found that using the term “print” can frequently be confusing to the uninitiated (including myself, sometimes) so I decided to do a little research into what exactly does “print making” involve. I want to give credit to Wikipedia and Venice Beedenbender of Washington Printmakers Gallery, as well as Metropolitan Museum’s “Heilbrunn Timelin of Art History” for the information below.
For most of the history of man, images were rarely seen by anyone other than the wealthy. However, around 1400 the first forms of printmaking began to develop giving man the ability to print thousands or more of the same image, opening the visual image to become an art form as well as a means of communication.
Items referred to as “prints” are not to be confused with reproductions of originals. An original print is an impression produced from a block of wood, stone, plate (such as linoleum) or screen which the artist has created. If using a fine art medium such as oil paint, watercolor, or ink, the artist can make a series of originals, each hand done by the artist. There is usually an inking, wiping, and printing of each copy in an edition.
The artist will usually determine how many of these “hand pulled” prints will be in an edition. In recent history, the limiting of these editions increases the value of each piece in the edition. The artist generally signs the print with the number of the print in the edition and the total number to be printed in the edition indicated as well.
When talking about print editions, the term “artist proof” is used and designated with “P/A”. These are the first 5-10% of prints pulled by the artist as he or she works through trial proofs to create the process for the “final proof”. These artist’s proofs record the creative process of the artist and are considered to be valuable because of this. The final proof is called the “bon a tirer” and is considered the ideal.
There are several general types of prints:
1. Relief printing started in China around AD 105 and showed up in Europe in the 15th century
Predating printing, the Chinese used stone rubbings to made holy images and create texts. Lines were carved into the flat stones, wet paper pressed into the stone, and ink was applied. The image was white lines on a black background. When they applied the images and texts to the same paper, it was called block book printing and was the foundation for printmaking today.
Woodcuts were the first form of printmaking starting in China in the 9th century, was widely used in Europe during the Middle Ages with German artist Albrecht Drurer bringing it to an expert art form. It was further developed to high art as the Japanese used woodblock printing in daily activities such as newspapers and flyers but also developed incredible wood block prints influencing well loved artists such as Manet, Degas, and Van Gogh. The design is carved into the wood with the part sticking up or in relief treated with the paint or ink. Each color used has a separate plate carved in the design that is to be inked and printed. Then the paper is printed in layers of each color to give the final design.
One of the gallery artist who does woodblock prints is Daryl Howard. Daryl studied in Japan with the masters and is well known as one of the premier American woodblock artists. As Daryl lives in the Austin area, we are very fortunate to be able to offer her work to our customers.
Linoleum cuts are a relief print carved into linoleum rather than wood. As the linoleum does not take the more delicate cuts known in woodcuts, it has a more poster like or blocky look and is generally not as valuable as a woodblock print.
Engraving is a form of print making in which the artist uses a hardened steel tool called a burin to cut a design into a metal plate. It is characterized by a deliberate look and clean edges. This technique was started in Germany by goldsmiths.
Etching was begun in Germany by Daniel Hopfer in late 15th/early 16th century but Duhrer was the first to have a dated one recorded. It is considered to be easier than engraving and became more popular because of that. It is opposite of a woodcut in that the raised portions of the etching remain blank because the ink goes into the crevices. The artist may coat the plate with a waxy or acrylic ground and then carve into that ground. These exposed lines are then dipped in an acid bath which then leaves the lines on the plate.
Collagraphs are made with a combination of relief and print. A collage of materials is made on a plate, usually linoleum, building the relief which is then printed. Gallery artist Kathleen Stafford uses this technique in her editions of prints showing the peoples of Africa where she has lived for most of her husband’s diplomatic career.
Our featured artist for November, Mary Faust Carradine, prints lithographs, serigraphs, and monotypes:
Lithography is based on the chemical repulsion of oil and water and dates back to 1798. The image is drawn on a porous surface, usually limestone and covered with a greasy medium. When acid is applied to the surface, the grease transfers to the surface, burning the image into the surface. Then the surface that is not covered by the drawing medium is sealed. When water is applied to the stone, it only adhers to the surface not covered by the greasy medium. Oil ink is rolled on the surface where it adhers to the greasy parts. Paper is applied and the image is transferred using the pressure from a printing press. Some of the artists using this method include Van Gogh, Toulouse-Latrec, and Willem de Kooning.
Serigraphy, also called silk-screen printing or screen printing, was developed in the 20th century in America and was introduced as fine art at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. While the origin of screen printing may have been in Japan, the term “serigraphy” was coined by Anthony Velonis of NYC. He was head of the Fine Arts Project in the WPA. Unemployed artists were hired by the government project to produce commercial works, mostly posters and mass media work. He noticed that the artists were suffering from depression and lack of self-esteem so he worked with a gallery owner and came up with the idea for the artists to do creative work that was differentiated from the commercial applications and called them serigraphs. This was successful in elevating the feelings of the artists.
Serigraphy in its simple concept is forcing ink through a stencil that is attached to a silk or mesh screen. The thick ink is forced through a tightly stretched screen and deposited on the paper. A separate screen is used for each color and then hung to dry.
Monotypes or Monoprints refer to any print made in a particular version but incapable of being exactly replicated. They can’t be editioned and are unique prints or variations on a theme. The designs are applied directly to the plate using a slow drying paint. The image is transferred before the ink dries and is printed with a press or by hand. There is only one strong impression made. The ink may be reworked but the next print will not be an exact replica.
Photography also refers to its final product as prints. There are various levels within that definition. Some photographers print unlimited copies of the same image using commercial printers. These are usually much lower priced that those photographs printed in editions and by the artist himself or herself. These limited edition and artist select prints are much higher in value. David Johnson is one of our artists who prints his own work himself in limited editions.
Many of us own framed items that we may refer to as “prints” but, in actuality, they are “reproductions” made digitally from a photograph of the original. They may be printed on paper, canvas, metal, or any printable surface and sometimes may be hard to distinguish from the real thing. It is important that the art collector makes sure they know what they are buying before they pay a high price for a piece of art labeled “print”.
Roy Brown has been involved in the Arts for more than 40 years. With a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University, he has pursued his passion for pottery and its elevation to an art form. This has been through a continuous process of past and present influences from his surrounding environments and its impact on his work.
He has expanded his work to include metal that is hand forged to fit the designs of his pottery. From finials on lids to bases for his larger vases and platters, Roy searches for the forms that will enhance his work.
After moving from New Mexico, he now lives in Texas on a 200 acre farm and ranch where he draws new ideas from his surroundings.
A CONVERSATION WITH THE ARTIST
Tell us a little bit about your life before you became an artist.
I was raised on a farm and ranch and didn’t do much of any art until I went to college.
I took my first ceramics class along with painting and jewelry making classes while in college at SMU. I was more fascinated with clay than painting or jewelry. I entered a juried exhibition my second semester for a show in Denver and was accepted. It took off from there. I have a BFA from New Mexico State and an MFA from SMU.
Where do you get your inspiration for each piece? How do you approach your work?
My inspiration comes from the local areas where I have lived. My work requires me to challenge it, hence the addition of hand wrought metal and mosaics to my pieces. I have an eye for design as well.
A CONVERSATION WITH KATHY CALLAWAY
Tell us a little bit about your life before you became an artist.
I grew up in Texas: El Paso, Odessa, and Houston. I swam competitively and was always horse crazy. I got a horse for my 11th birthday in Odessa, trained and showed him all over Texas and the US. We moved to Houston and I graduated from Kinkaid High School. I attended SMU getting a degree in Early Education and Art. After graduation, I married Charles and had two sons Clayton and Blake. I was a stay at home mom and moved to Austin living there while our kids were in school. We purchased property in Fayette County in 2000 and built a home moving permanently in 2004. We purchased horses and I showed them until health issues made that impossible to continue. I started painting there and am happily settled.
Did you do art or “artsy” things growing up?
Always! I loved drawing horses especially! The only painting I had done was for a play room that we added to our home.
In high school, we had a well known sculptor, Pat Foley, teach art. We had a 4 hour 6 week class in sculpting and I loved it. He taught us about expression, gesture, movement, and stories in a piece. We used wax that was hard on our hands. I later found classic clay which is part wax and part clay. It is still hard but easier to work with. After having my children, I had decided to sculpt them. But what really occurred is that I see something, some event, that sticks in my head and I think that I want to sculpt that. Sometimes it’s a long ago event that I remember and work out how to produce in clay what I see in my head. The challenges are fun and sometimes frustrating. I love the finishing challenges of mounting the pieces creatively.
When did you start to paint and why or how did you make the decision to do this?
I began painting in 2011. I had met Mary Quiros and been invited to a girls’ week in Steamboat at her house. She had a studio there also. I watched her paint—it looked so easy and fun. She asked if I would like to try and, of course, I said “Oh, yes!”. So she put together a local workshop and I am hooked.
I also found out that it just looks easy when Mary paints. It is challenging, invigorating, amazing, frustrating, exciting, and flexible. You can achieve looks that can only be created with water and no other medium. It would be impossible to copy as every time that you paint, it comes out a little different. Above all I love color! And I love the brilliance, transparency, and the mix of the colors. Watercolor is also easier and more cost friendly than sculpting. As Mary says, “It is only a piece of paper.”
Who was your first mentor or person of inspiration?
I would say that my father was my first person of inspiration. He was General Counsel of El Paso Products Company and he travelled the world negotiating and writing oil contracts. He loved art. When he traveled he always went to museums and galleries and loved to walk the streets where artists painted. He would buy art, oil paintings mostly, and bring them home, hang them, and explain what he admired about them.
Then came my love of sculpture. Where we lived in Houston, there were quite a lot of large outdoor pieces that fascinated me. Around the same time as that I got to know a cutting horse trainer named Jim Reno, who happened to be an amazing horse sculptor. He sculpted Secretariat, most of the AQHA trophies at that time, and pieces that were in numerous galleries in Houston and around the US. He explained a lot about movement to me.
Who is your favorite artist?
As far as painting, my first favorite is Jerry Ruthven who paints gorgeous Texas landscapes. Mary Quiros, of course, because her colors and compositions are vibrant and engaging. There are so many others around here, it is hard to decide—Bill Anzalone, Mark Kohler, Kenny Minzenmeyer, Karen Vernon, Sally Maxwell. I very much admire and appreciate their work.
As for sculpture, I adore every piece that Jim Reno has ever created.
Where have you studied or learned to do what you do?
In sculpture, initially it was Pat Foley. He taught us but also let us help him with his life size pieces. At Kinkaid, there are a few sculptures of children. He allowed us to watch and help apply initial wax, all the while instructing, explaining and giving direction.
Painting has been all Mary Quiros. Her lesson plans, ideas, techniques, directions, and encouragement have been amazing. Her kindness and time are unrivaled. No one is luckier than our class.
Where do you get your inspiration for each piece? How do you decide what to paint? Tell us a little bit about how you approach a new piece and the process that you use to work through one.
I have talked some about how an event or memory can inspire a new sculpture.
In painting, it is sometimes from pictures I have taken or places I have been. Pretty flowers always draw me and art magazines give me ideas. I draw on the watercolor paper and refer to the photos. I try to balance my colors, warm next to cool, making sure that the colors are repeated throughout the painting. I utilize different techniques to create interesting areas that are unique to watercolor and I include complementary colors. Other times, I am more experimental and pour colors, letting the paint flow, blend and mix. I also use some of the interesting techniques that Mary has taught in class.