A whirlwind of new friends, printmaking techniques, and portfolios plump with finished prints, flooded the Art Depot last week when Oehme Graphics held a Young Printmaker's summer camp. This was a week filled with a healthy mix of hard work and fun.
We began our week with watercolor monotypes, and moved quickly into more complex processes such as drypoints, collographs, linoleum relief blocks, reductive inkings, and hardground etchings. It is hard to believe that we made it through so many methods of image making in our short time together!
With each process it became clear how multifaceted the art of printmaking can be. We began our further exploration by layering plexiglass drypoint plates and watercolor vellums.
With this process in mind we did a similar technique of layering reductive inked plates with watercolor vellums. This introduced the students to thinking about their work in a sophisticated way, as well as introducing the constant dilemma of: when is a piece complete?
We took advantage of our location next to the Yampa River by allowing time to paint watercolor vellums of the surrounding landscape.
We also collected bouquets of foliage, flowers and grasses for collograph plates. Elements were glued onto the plates separately with acrylic medium and left to dry for a couple of days.
For the linoleum blocks the campers drew from observation, focusing on the train caboose located behind the Depot. When finished, the campers learned how to flip and transfer their drawings onto their plates.
Carving the blocks became a collaborative effort for some as the block took a bit of patience and muscle to complete.
Even while doing all of this printing we still found time to have fun outside.
Each day we walked to a different park for lunch, where there was much more playing than eating!
Here, the students learned how to flatten their prints. They were also taught how to etch their hardground plates in the acid bath. After lunch we went up to the gallery where Sue shared, with the campers, some of her favorite personal works as well as collaborative pieces.
Both the collograph plates and the etched plates were printed on the large professional press.
We had a final discussion on Friday where all of the students laid out their work. They talked about which prints were their favorites, which ones they had the most trouble with, and which processes they would want to use in the future.
Finally, the students learned that the very last thing an artist does is sign his or her prints. And like the professionals, this is how we finished our week! Each student walked home with a full portfolio demonstrating a wide variety of printmaking techniques.