At Imprint Gallery in Cannon Beach, there’s more to do than admire the intriguing paintings and sculptures on the main floor.
There’s an opportunity to create art, and by doing that, to develop an appreciation of the artists’ prints covering the walls of the gallery’s second floor.
Tucked upstairs is a studio where gallery visitors can drop in on weekends or reserve time a day in advance to try their hands at linocut or drypoint printmaking. But if a 45-minute afternoon workshop isn’t enough to satisfy the inner artist, the gallery is offering several one-, two- and three-day workshops in the fall.
“This will be a tour of printmaking techniques,” said Jane Brumfield, who owns the gallery with her husband, Mike.
In addition to sessions on linocut and drypoint, the fall workshops will also explore silk aquatint, electro-plate etching with saltwater, stencil silkscreen, softground etching, reduction linocut, monotype and chine colle and multiplate drypoint. Linocut holiday cards will be the focus of workshops Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 and 18.
For a full description of each class, the instructors and the schedule, see the gallery website, imprintgallery.com.
“The full-day workshops are introductory, and the two- and three-day workshops are more intermediary and advanced,” Jane Brumfield said. However, she added, even those with no printmaking experience but who are familiar with art materials and drawing would enjoy the workshops.
Although they are open to all ages, children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult participant.
‘A magic quality’
During a recent Saturday afternoon workshop, participants learned how lines chiseled on a linoleum block could become a personal work of art.
Instructor Alisa Vernon led them through the basics of linocut printmaking, from how to use the various cutting blades to encouraging them, even when they carved a line in the wrong direction, to “roll with your happy accidents.”
Lynn Murray Albright, of Cannon Beach, began work on a sea star, carefully outlining the star-shaped legs with the blade making the wider lines, and filling in the legs with smaller lines.
“I go out and look at the wall display (of artists’ prints), and I have a greater appreciation of their work,” Murray Albright said.
The class had been on Kathy Carrier’s to-do list for a long time, and the Arch Cape resident brought her Portland friend, Terri Churdash, along.
“Cannon Beach has needed something like this,” said Carrier, who etched a cup with rising steam into her linoleum block. “I had my art therapy today.”
Meanwhile, Churdash, a quilter, knitter and weaver, created a quilt pattern resembling the inside of a butter churn.
After the blocks were carved, Vernon demonstrated how to prepare the ink to be rolled onto the block. Wearing rubber gloves, Vernon put down a strip of soy oil-based ink on a glass plate, dipped a roller into the ink and rolled the ink onto the plate.
She listened as the roller went over the plate. As the ink adhered to the roller, Vernon said the sound was like “skin pulling off of a hot leather seat.”
Once the square of ink on the glass reached a velvety sheen, Vernon knew the roller had a thin, even layer of ink and was ready to roll over Murray Albright’s block. The block was then placed on the platform in front of the press.
Next, Vernon took a square of cotton rag paper, rough on one side and smooth on the other; the paper easily absorbs the ink on the block. She placed the rough side over the block, covered the block and paper with heavy felt and turned a handle on the press that moved a large roller smoothly over the felt and the block. When Vernon uncovered the paper beneath the felt, she revealed a print of Murray Albright’s sea star.
“It has a magic quality,” Murray Albright said.
“It’s like a surprise,” Carrier added.
‘Positive and negative space’
Once Churdash rolled the ink onto her roller and pressed the paper onto her block, she seemed pleased with her product: a large square containing 54 smaller squares and thin lines within the squares.
The workshop was a learning experience for Churdash.
“It reminds me to keep thinking about positive and negative spaces, especially the negative space,” she said. “You have to think where you want the ink to go, and where you want no ink to go.”
An elementary school teacher, Churdash said the technique would be fun to try in her classes.
“It would be a really cool thing” for students to do to illustrate what they learn about Oregon history, she said.
“They might be able to draw a whale beached up in Cannon Beach — wouldn’t that be cool? Or Fort Clatsop, a canoe, an elk, or salt cairn buckets (used by Lewis and Clark’s corps). Wouldn’t that be a great display on the wall?”