Mentorship in Lithography
Theo Tremblay, left and Terry Johnson at 'Litho Friday' Workshop
Having a friend that is forever discovering interesting and fascinating events and intriguing artistic people is certainly an advantage in one’s life, so when fellow artist, Jill Booth, recommended a mentorship with master printmaker Theo Tremblay I had no hesitation in having a look.
The day I 'looked' and met Theo Tremblay, discovered his eclectic studio of sublime papers, silky inks, earthy stones, metal plates and presses, as temperamental as any artist, I was hooked.
Theo Tremblay is certainly a treasure himself. He is an endless source of advice, guidance, direction and the devil’s advocate in lunchtime discussions amongst the collection of artists from around the world, who have discovered this guru of print and sought a place in his 'Litho Friday' workshops.
And so it came to pass that every Friday from early morning to late afternoon I found myself fully engaged in the world of lithography. My first stone was beautiful, clean, white and unblemished, polished smooth, the perfect blank canvas upon which to work.
Of course, the small problem of thinking like a printmaker and creating ones work upside-down and backwards so that your work is printed correctly was to me, as a painter, a mental challenge.
Unlike my free style of painting, in lithography each mark placed upon the stone, which I wanted to be spontaneous, required deliberation and well placed application, plus the stone was unforgiving of greasy finger prints, misplaced marks, or markings either too light or too heavy-handed.
Alas, these quirks of the trade were not stumbling blocks but, firstly, challenges, which, over time and with familiarity, turned into the unique and wonderful challenge of understanding lithography.
Here each stone, each type of paper, every ink, sticky or thin, black or coloured, has its own nature, equally as attention-seeking as the mixture of acids to etch the ink onto stone, the workings of the press, the humidity in the air, and how many coffees you had during the day.
Together these ingredients became the mixture that produced a poor or a great print.....and I loved it.
The series I have created with Theo reflects the nature of the stone itself and is based on the concept of looking after our natural environment, our beautiful country villages and our dearest friendships.
I loved the creation of these works and it is my hope that they will speak to the viewer as they did to me in their making.