Lithographs

Until the Fall of 2012, lithography existed only vaguely in my mind, as a beautiful, inconvenient, archaic practice that other artists did, often in the company of technical wizards whose job it was to translate painterly impulse into layered, reproducible form. Good for them, but not very relevant to me.

And then: I showed up for a weekend Stone Lithography course with Alasdair Clark, at Edinburgh Printmakers. This hadn't been my original plan at all, but I was away from home & it was a way to get into the studio around the corner, without waiting forever, and why not?

The multi-step, materially-complicated image-making schemes of the world attract me intensely, and somewhat mysteriously. Why should it be so much more interesting to draw a picture of a hand on big blocks of limestone, in multiple layers, over several days, rather than to just do it directly, in a fraction of the time, on a piece of paper? I think part of the answer lies in the dialogue with chemistry, materials, time, and chance. There's also the chance to see multiple different variations of the same image - like being able to have different versions of the same conversation and then consider them side-by-side. And the stones themselves are magical: each one has carried so many images, been ground down, and started anew, again and again. They're cumbersome, of course, and will kill your back in no time flat if you're not careful, but even that seems good. You're handling something millions of years old. Slow down. Celebrate. It just might work.

The first lithographs I've made are based on the mudras (teaching-gestures) of the directional Buddhas. All prints below are in editions of about 6, measuring roughly 15x11" each, and are on acid-free rag paper. You can click on on the titles below for larger versions of the images.

South - varada - generosity, bestowing blessings

 

East - abhaya - fearlessness

 

North - bhumisparsa - steadfastness, touching the earth

 

West - dhyani - contemplation, union

 

Center - dhammacakka - understanding the way things really are