The Art of Printmaking

This week we will turn our attention to the art process known as printmaking.  Learning Module #5 introduces you to a number of different printmaking techniques or processes.  As you look that material over and examine the images within the context of the PowerPoint file and the reading focusing on printmaking, think about the following statement written by Vincent van Gogh and let me know what you think of printmaking as an art medium.

“The act of printing has always seemed to me a miracle, just such a miracle as the growing up of a tiny seed of grain to an ear – an everyday miracle, even the greater because it happens everyday. One drawing is sown on the stone or the etching plate, and a harvest is reaped from it.”

Tamarind Institute Master Printers Brooke Steiger and Aaron Shipps


Developing Visual Literacy: Painting

Simonides, a 5th century B C poet, quoted by Plutarch in his 1st century A D publication De Gloria Atenesium, made the following observation:  “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”  What are your thoughts of Simonides’ notion of the art of painting?

Winslow Homer, The Artist Sketching

What is ART?

Over the centuries many learned men and women have tried to “define Art” but their efforts have fallen way short of the mark.  This week we are going to cast our collective gaze toward an understanding of what ART is and is not.  I ask you to consider the following statement on the presence of artistic genius by the English author William Blake:  “If art was progressive we should have had Michelangelos and Raphaels to succeed and improve upon each other.  But it is not so.  Genius dies with its possessor and comes not again till another is born with it.” (Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynold’s Discourses, c. 1808).  Your thoughts?

Should an artist master description or the spiritual in a work of art?

For generations of time, there has been a sustained argument among artists (and art patrons!) between those who support the Law of Description over the Law of the Spiritual in art making.  This battle over aesthetic issues accepts no cultural or political boundaries.  The 10th century Chinese aesthetician, Ching Hao, wrote:  “Resemblance reproduces the formal aspects of objects but neglects their spirit.  Truth shows the spirit and substance in like perfection.”  Should an artist faithfully copy nature and offer us a mirror reflection or should the artist delve into the mysterious and spiritual as the foundation for art making?  Where are your sensibilities and preferences on this fundamental issue?

Jackson Pollock and his “unique process” of applying pigment onto the canvas