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I had signed up for two Linocut courses at Cascada Studio. The first was the weekend "Basic Linocut" course - which turned into a Lino Reduction weekend! Then I was supposed to be doing a Lino Reduction course, from Tuesday to Thursday.
So, I went back to the studio on Tuesday morning, with a slightly different agenda to what I'd originally envisaged.
On Sunday, Nina and Kit had needed to complete their work, so they used the press to produce their prints, while I worked on the cutting of my lino reduction plate and a second small print also.
On Tuesday I wanted to complete the first reduction edition that I'd started over the weekend, so I could start on the next print that I had planned.
I thought that there would only be me and Mariann in the studio, as the other two students who had signed up, hadn't been able to come after all. So it was a nice surprise to find another student there also; Milagros is a local artist, who makes etchings. She had come in for the morning, to try lino printing.
Milagros making a Valentine
Milagros worked in the studio for two mornings and produced some great little lino prints. I really enjoyed having her company, as well as Mariann's.
Meanwhile, I was back at work on my "Reflection" print.
This was the result of my printing at the end of Sunday afternoon. I had printed the first two colours - light grey and dark grey (which meant that the white, light grey and dark grey areas were all there), so I just needed to complete the cutting and printing for the final colour - black.
There wasn't a great deal of cutting left to do, as the dark grey was just for definition and shadows on the guitar and the man's clothes. However, it would make the print look finished.
Working on the shading for the man's sleeve and hand - inking up part of the plate and using a spoon to print proofs.
Proofing the finished hand shading before printing the final colour.
My completed print. The final colour looks like black, but in fact it was a very deep blue. When printed over the dark grey layer, it looks black, but gives a less harsh effect than a true black would do.
By the end of Tuesday, I had finished all the prints of my first Linocut Reduction edition. However that left me with only two days to design and print my next one!
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On the way home, I took some photographs, to help me with the idea I had for the following day.
There was a lemon tree outside one of the houses on the way back to my apartment. Mariann had suggested I should choose a Spanish theme for my print - something I wouldn't find at home. At home in England, other than in a heated conservatory or greenhouse, I'm not likely to find fresh, ripe lemons still on the tree! Lemons and oranges really mean "Mediterranean" to me and these were lovely ones; so that was what I chose for my print.
Wednesday and Thursday were hard work, but Mariann was very supportive and helped me to work out what I would do for each colour - white (which is not printed, just cut out of the plate, to leave white areas of paper), lemon yellow, light green, brown and dark green.
I had completed the design, drawing and cutting, then printing of the yellow prints by the end of Wednesday.
This left Thursday to cut and print the other colours, so I arrived at the studio on Thursday morning prepared for a day of hard work! The day was spent cutting away the areas that were to be kept in the colour just printed (ie. for the lemons to stay yellow, I had to cut away the lino plate where the lemons were etc), then printing the next colour on top, cutting away the areas that should remain light green, then brown, then dark green, before printing the next colour layer.
It was quite a day! Mariann was great, helping me with colour choices for my print and with proofing the different layers.
She also made me a fab lunch. Did I mention that she took great care of us while we there and made sure we had lovely lunches? We all went out for lunch on Sunday - to a great local cafe, where we ate tapas; on Tuesday to Thursday I took a few bits with me, towards our lunch and we shared what Mariann had in the fridge also, then we sat and chatted over coffee and shared the washing up duties.
But on Thursday, Mariann made the lunch while I was working, sent me back to work once I'd had a bit of a break, then brought me coffee at my desk. (I think I should live at Cascada Studio, because my "lunchtime chef" doesn't make me salads, with yummy ham, eggs, fish, bread, olives... I just get sandwiches at home! )
Anyway, after lunch, I got down to cutting and printing the final two colours and Mariann gave me a hand with printing the last colour layer. We were finished at 5:55pm - five minutes before we were due to go out for the evening - and I was so pleased with the results!
"Spanish Lemons" - one of the finished prints!
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And the going out bit? I was so lucky - there was an exhibition in Marbella, at the Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo, of entries and prizewinners of the National Engraving Competition. Mariann was going, with two of her friends and she invited me to go too (how lucky am I?!).
This was a temporary exhibition, but we were also able to see the permanent exhibition of printmaking and other art works, by many Spanish artists, including Tapies, Chillido, Miro and Picasso.
I enjoyed it so much - it was the first time I had seen any original work by Miro and I was excited to see how his work was put together. I had only seen it printed as reproductions, in books or magazines, where the depth and character of his work is lost. You really need to see it "for real", to see that there is much more "there" than you can see in reproductions.
And it was wonderful to see Picasso's work - there is always so much to learn from Picasso.
I don't often get the chance to see an exhibition like this, so I really enjoyed wandering around the galleries, seeing the wonderful variety of work on display. Thank you Mariann, for a fabulous opportunity!
We then went looking for a cafe or restaurant, to have some dinner and ended up at a pizzeria. For Mariann and her friends, pizza is a treat, as there isn't a real Italian pizzeria/ trattoria in Mijas. It was a very good meal, with great company - I had the best time and it was a lovely end to my wonderful week!
I slept like a log... then there was plenty of time on Friday morning, to get up and have breakfast, tidy up, pack my stuff and be ready for a lift to the airport (I'm so spoiled, eh? I didn't need to take the bus!!). Mariann delivered me to the door of the Departures area and very kindly wished me a safe journey home.
I felt so lucky to have been welcomed so nicely and made to feel special. All the people that I met during my week in Mijas, were really lovely and friendly people. Mariann's friends were also welcoming and friendly to me - even though they were friends of Mariann, I wasn't made to feel left out. I do hope I will go back to Cascada Studio some time soon(ish!) and see Mariann (and some of her lovely friends) again.
Thank you Mariann and All, for a wonderful and memorable week in Mijas!