March 2, 2018
Barbara Kelley - Printmaker & Painter
Barbara Kelley, Moon Catcher Studios, has locations in both Santa Rosa and Sea Ranch. She is a printmaker and painter working in oils and encaustic. Barbara's first exhibit was in the 1980's.
Barbara's pride and joy is a 1380-pound full size etching press once owned by Elizabeth Quandt who signed and dated the press with a dremel tool.
Printmaking dates back to handprints on cave walls, invention of paper in China in 105 AD, etching process in Germany 1400 to 1500 AD and letter presses in Europe from 1500 to 1700 AD.
Although there are many forms of printing, Barbara says that most printmakers focus on one to three styles. Barbara specializes in linocut, drypoint, monoprint/monotype and mixed-media printing.
Different effects can be achieved by printing on different papers. Barbara's work is often influenced by Eastern culture and she enjoys printing on imported Japanese paper. She also prints on canvas. Barbara often signs her Asian inspired prints with chops (seals). She had these custom made in Asia - one with her name and the other for "Dream Catcher".
Tools can consist of different sized rollers, sponges, palette knives, brushes, q-tips, matboard, toothbrush, hand carving tools and stencils such as antique lace and found items. Barbara suggests first pressing things like leaf skeletons with newspaper to remove liquids that might stain the print. Since print making is an additive/ reductive process the tools can be used to add, take off or manipulate the ink or paint on the plate. Stencils can be used to emboss with no ink. Watercolor can be used on plates instead of ink. The watercolor paint can dry and will be re-activated with the damp paper.
Barbara uses a variety of plates such as metal (copper or zinc) for drypoint etching, linoleum for linocut, and acrylic for monotype. She suggests beveling the edges of the plate so as not to tear the paper or blankets.
Barbara recommends wearing gloves while printmaking for safety and mess management. She mixes the inks on a glass table, applies and manipulates the ink on the plate, puts the plate in the press, adds the dampened paper, adds the blanket, adjusts the height of press bar, and turns the crank to produce the print. Desired effects can be achieved with the changing the saturation of the ink. A ghost print is produced by pressing a second print from the same plate. Prints can be dried by using felt pads and paper and stacking under a heavy board. The paper is changed out as necessary. Another method is to hang prints on clips to air dry.
As with most artwork, not all prints come out as desired. Barbara will sometimes either hand paint these or use cropped portions in her encaustic work.
We appreciated Barbara sharing her print making expertise and perspective with us. To learn more about Barbara please visit her website: mooncatcher.info