Not long after Susan Cook finished her Art Course here at Atelier88, http://www.atelier88.es/category/susan-cook/ I received a call from a man asking if I could offer the same art course for his wife. What was so pleasing about this phone call was that we had been recommended by a guest who had enjoyed her time at Atelier 88, equally pleasing was our studio was to be a surprise gift for a very special birthday.
Before I set off to pick Sue Graves up from the airport we asked how we would recognise her if our sign failed to be in view amongst the many drivers picking up customers from their flights. Sue said she would be wearing Pink Trousers so no problem in recognising someone among the many. Well, I think that there was every shade of pink trousers was landing that day but we did meet and all good as they say.
Sue said in the car on our way to Alcala La Real that she had not picked up a pencil since secondary school but she was determined that now was her time and she was ready to learn from scratch. Back to basics is often the best place to begin. To get someone back into the visual thought processes of creativity and it is necessary to ease themselves into the lessons slowly. Starting from the very beginning of things is always daunting, it is necessary for a student to gain confidence and strength of purpose. We only had four days and the clock had started ticking.
The first evening we talked about ideas and looked at a few artists work and some of the work made by other artists here at Atelier 88. This helped us focus on the right structure of the course to suit Sue’s needs. We had decided on still life and the everyday objects that surround us. We started with a typical Andalusian jug, a shape out of a Matisse painting.
Henri Matisse, Still Life with Shell, 1940 Succession H. Matisse/DACS 2017
We also looked at Spanish Bodegones painting of the 17th /18th Century. Such as Francisco de Zurbaran
Photo credit: Prado Museum
Francisco de Zurbaran: Bodegón con cacharros (Still life with vessels), Prado Museum, Madrid
Ca. 1650. Oil on canvas, 46 x 84 cm.
And Luis Meléndez a century later;
Photo credit: Prado Museum
“Bodegón con peritas, pan, alcarraza, cuenco y frasca”, Luis Egidio Meléndez, 1760
Sue made her first tentative steps but soon became more and more confident. From hesitant drawings, a new braver bolder Sue emerged. From the first observational drawings
to the discipline of measured drawings.
She was a great student learning rapidly and taking on board advice and direction but now more able to make her own decisions.
Now it was time to utilise the drawings and take them into a different medium.
First was a dry point drawing of a little enamel jug that Sue said she began talking to because she had drawn it so many times. Dry point is drawing directly onto a zinc plate (small 6 x 8 inches) and then inked up with etching ink and printing with the press. Once this had dried later we printed the colour over the top as a mono print. A mono print is, as the name suggests, a one off print but after printing there is often a ghost image so you can re paint and print but no two are exactly the same. The shiny zinc plate in the photo is the residue of the colour over the dry point.
Now that Sue was on a roll so speak, we started to get adventurous and work on the Mokulito process, see http://www.atelier88.es/mokulito-printmaking-drawing-atelier-88-april-2017/
To recap this is a process of drawing onto a prepared plywood surface with grease based crayons or liquid to replicate a lithography process but with the look and feel of old wood cut like printed images because the grain of the wood comes through the inking and printing process. First Sue had to make a few drawings that explored light and shade.
Here are a few of Sue’s prints from the third day of the course.
Entering the fourth day Sue’s progress was so good that she felt confident to start working with colour, making as small series of coloured mono prints.
We are so pleased with the work Sue has made here at Atelier 88 that we had to keep at least one of each of the beautiful black and white Mokulitos of the jugs.
Great stuff Sue Graves well done keep the creative fire going.
Saludos Atelier 88