Chatting with a printmaker, a photographer, and a painter

September 26, 2014 by Jess

Waterworks Artist Talk

Artists tend to be visually oriented, more comfortable with shapes and colors than sounds and words, which means that many of them view talking about their work with a certain trepidation.  But yesterday three of The Umbrella's resident artists took the challenge and stepped forward to share the inspirations, stories, and processes behind their artwork.  Printmaker Lonnie Harvey, photographer Sing Hanson, and painter Lois Andersen all banded together to create Waterworks, a show currently on display in the Concord Free Public Library's second floor gallery.

"We were all good friends until yesterday, when they said I had to talk first," Andersen joked as she started off the talk.  Twenty-five people, both from The Umbrella and from the greater Concord community, pulled up chairs around the library gallery as the three artists each took turns discussing their artwork.

"I encourage people to look at something real, because when you look at something and have to convey it to a 2D surface, you're constantly learning," Andersen told her listeners when she was asked if she works from photographs.  Her paintings, deep landscapes layered with light, depict scenes from her native home of Norway.  This series was the first time she stepped past her aversion to painting from photographs, stretching herself in order to capture the images that meant so much to her.

After Andersen was finished, Hanson picked up the thread and described her own visit to Norway.  She pointed out that one of her photographs is almost the exact same angle of the same mountain in Norway.  "I'm interested in flow, in all things," she explained as she told the story of a river that was dammed while she was growing up.

Harvey was the last to speak and as a monoprintmaker she spent the most time discussing process.  "A print to me is never finished in one go," she told the fascinated listeners.  She described leaning out of boats to take pictures of water, or even stirring the water with a stick to make more interesting ripples. Then she prints the photographs works them through her printing press, layering and adding as she sees fit.

The audience participated the entire time, asking questions and throwing in their opinions.  Many commented on how well the work went together.  "Sometimes at group shows, the pieces all seem to be competing against each other," said one audience member.  Andersen agreed and mentioned that she was pleasantly surprised while they were hanging the show to find that nothing fought with anything else.

"That's what I love about The Umbrella," said Harvey.  "Just having people around to feed ideas off of."

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