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Consider the Luxury of Collaborative Printmaking

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

One Plus One Equals Three Point Five

Lou Netter and Maureen Booth working together in her studioWe usually think of fine-art printmaking as a solitary endeavor, and until recently it has been that for me.  But after years of yearning I finally got my Gallinero artists’ residence built, my husband Mike did a terrific job of introducing it on Internet, and artists started coming from all over the world. Most of them arrived by themselves to work together one on one. This was a relatively new experience and it has opened my eyes to new ways of working and new joys in printmaking.

I have done a lot of workshops, both in my studio here in Granada and around the rest of Europe, and always enjoyed the experiences. But there’s no denying that to work along with another artist is something different, a luxury for both. Clearly, two heads are better than one. Then there’s the mutual understanding which the Spaniards call “compenetración.” Working together intensely establishes a joyful dynamic where images and ideas get bounced around , and suddenly creative things begin to happen.

Las Putas de la Casa del Campo, Madrid--etching by Lou NetterAll artists bring different ideas, experiences and ways of working to the studio, and it is in one-on-one working and learning experiences where these factors can best be brought into play. Instead of a straight teaching experience the workshop becomes an exercise in teamwork where both participants learn, enjoy, and produce something beautiful together.

What are the drawbacks to this artist-coaching approach? It’s more expensive. Or is it? A lot of artists are deciding that the one-on-one creative printmaking experience is so much more productive, so much more rewarding, that the difference in cost is actually negligible. And the benefits are great. There are lots of flavors of luxury. For some people it’s sitting in the back of a limousine or lying on a beach. For others it’s getting inked up to their elbows and marveling over subtle lines on plates. If you’re one of the latter, maybe we should talk.

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

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