Elaine Watts
Watercolourist and Printmaker


(posted on 28 Apr 2014)

Well, I can see by my calendar that I really hit the ground running when I returned from my annual walkabout! So many things going on that I needed a kick from one of my favourite people to say "Just Blog--do it!" Without further ado, as they say, I'll get you up to date with some of the things I've been getting up to!

Firstly, to wrap up the Australian tour, I thought I'd show you some of the inspiring printmaking studios and people that I visited. I wanted to see as many as I could in preparation for getting something going "up here"--looking at the layouts, the equipment, how they functioned for courses and really networking with some of the artists.

The first one I visited was my friend Ulrike Sturm who is an art professor and printmaker in beautiful Noosa, Queensland. I had a great afternoon with her in her home studio ( www.edition9.com), and although I didn't take any photos we talked about having an international print exchange with her printmaking students & mine here in Canada. Now all we need to do is get a theme, and a time frame, and maybe some show venues! Very exciting and inspirational!

I also visited the Warringah Printmakers Studio which is in a big centre in Manley Vale, Sydney, and spent a morning with the head of the club, Susan Baran, who was teaching a class. She told me that Canada was well-known in the printmaking circles, and had done some work with Canadian printmakers both in Sydney and in Eastern Canada (www.printstudio.org.au).

Here's her happy group working hard!

Another Sydney venue I visited to see my amazing 3 year instructor, Seraphina Martin, doing a 20 year retrospective of her printmaking skills, was the Hazelhurst Art Gallery, Gymea. I was privileged to be shown into the printmaking studio to see their amazing collection of equipment, and the excellent facility. (www.southernprintmakersassociation.com) This was courtesy of my friend Elizabeth Atkin, who has a printmaking and bookbinding studio where she teaches, just southwest of Sydney, called White Waratah Studio. As studio tour artists, printmakers and watercolourists we have a lot in common!

Here she is in her gorgeous studio, showing us her precious hand-made books (all wrapped up for preservation purposes).

So, I returned to Canada with lots of great ideas to find that the Shatford Centre in Penticton has started to put together a printmaking room, with 3 presses available. This is the press I'm most hopeful about getting going on when I can get a few more people to join in and get some more supplies and equipment together.

Looks pretty good, eh? They also have a huge lithographic press which I'm told needs some work, some parts, and most certainly an experienced lithographer to get running--if you know anyone who fits that bill send them my way!

Next up is a course in block printing (or linocut) which is being held at the Summerland Art Gallery, as long as enough people register. I'm looking forward to expanding my repertoir as a printmaker, although linocut seems a bit basic, this will be the first course I've had on it since Grade 8 (and that was some time ago!!)

Meanwhile since the Summerland Studio Tour Artists have cancelled the event days due to the impending move of the Art Gallery to temporary (18-month+) lodgings, we are merely putting out a brochure listing artist studios in the area and encouraging tourists to visit, I needed to develop some more venues to show my art. With that in mind I have submitted 3 small prints to BIMPE on Granville Island, in Vancouver, for jurying into their biennial miniature print exhibition which is slated for the fall. I hope to hear back soon--that I have been accepted!

I've started to frame some of my work from this year, including this little piece below:and was delighted to find another of my prints had been sold in the Summerland Gallery Gift Shop.

Speaking of the Art Gallery, the annual street banner program is a favourite of mine and here's the banner I just completed. It will be hanging on a pole somewhere in town (look out for it) and goes up for auction to benefit the Art Gallery in the fall. If you want to put a bid on it, contact Karan at 250-494-4494!

The theme for the banners was "What am I doing tomorrow?" and the title of my banner is "Loving the Life!"

I've also got 3 paintings on exhibition at the Shatford Centre in Penticton for their "Drawn Together" show, on until the end of May.

I won't bore you with all the other bits and pieces of things I've been fitting in meanwhile, except to say that we are preparing for another nomadic trip across Canada in the summer. We'll be gone for 3 months (so the studio will be closed, of course) and intend to go all the way to Newfoundland (although probably not with the trailer which we will leave in Nova Scotia when we take the ferry). I'm hoping to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with one of many lobster dinners on Prince Edward Island, July 31! And then see my favourite band, Blue Rodeo, play at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival "Rock the Boat" on August 2. I'll take my sketchbook along, and some paints, and see what views of Canada I can share with you along the way.

In the interim, here's a lovely panoramic shot of Okanagan Lake on a spring day--I can hardly wait to jump in!

Hope you're enjoying your life as I am mine! That's it until next time--Cheers!