Demonstration at Bluerock Gallery

There is nothing I love better than an afternoon spent in an inspiring space, talking art with people.

Yesterday I was scheduled to do a printmaking demonstration at Bluerock Gallery. I drove an hour-and-a-half from Canmore, through the gorgeous foothills and ended up in Black Diamond, Alberta. If you’ve never been to Bluerock Gallery, let me introduce you: it’s housed in two 90-year-old small-town buildings on Main Street. It carries the work of over 150 Alberta artists and artisans, and has a collection that is hard to believe in this town of about 2,300 people. (My recent blog with owner Karen Gimbel, tells more.)

I had the blessing of a lovely February day. Those who live here know that the weather in mid-February can be anything but friendly in this area. But today, we were lucky … the sun was shining, the roads were dry, and the little skiff of snow on the surrounding fields was hardly going to be a problem.

LINDA COTE-Packed up

Printmaking is an ancient art form, but it’s one that is definitely not mainstream in my neck of the woods, so when I get a chance to get out in public and show how it’s done, I jump at the chance.

Taking my craft on the road is fun, and after a few times doing this, I find it’s an easy thing to say yes to. So, Saturday morning, I packed my few cases and brought my portable printmaking studio to Bluerock Gallery.

LINDA COTE-Ready for demo The beautiful thing about printmaking is that it can be scaled down to a small size, perfect for demonstrating in the gallery. This time, I added a perfect piece to my portable set up — a clothes drying rack that is compact and perfect for hanging wet prints.

LINDA COTE-Postcard backBefore I came, I prepared my art. I planned to demonstrate a simple black & white design of fields and farm buildings (so typical of this agricultural area) and print them on postcards, a new item in my roster. I hand-stamped the back with a vintage postcard mark, and added a stamp with my website and company name on it.

LINDA COTE-CarvingAt the demonstration I was both carving and printing. We had a steady stream of people through the gallery — it was a typical busy Saturday. Many customers stopped to watch me carve a block and print my postcards, and always there were lots of intelligent questions about how it’s done, what tools I use, and what was the best method for printing. (My favorite was from a young girl who asked me, “Why are you so passionate about printmaking?”)

I even had a few fellow artists who had tried printmaking come in specifically to ask me technical questions about inks and block supplies, and where they could best source materials. Supplies for this type of art can be tricky to find — even in the bigger center of Calgary — because many of the mainstream art stores carry some, but not all, of the printmaking supplies I use. I was happy to share my go-to suppliers, and my love of printmaking. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon.

LINDA COTE-Printing

My block is inked and ready for printing. Isn’t this a gorgeous place to create art? I got to pause and look at all the inspiring art surrounding me all day.

LINDA COTE-Postcard pulled

Here I am pulling a print of the postcard. Between talking and sharing my art, I was able to print about 30 postcards during the afternoon. Some were even “dry enough” by the end for people to take home as a free gift.

LINDA COTE-Hanging postcards

The postcards are drying on the new clothes rack. It worked perfectly, and held a lot of postcards!

LINDA COTE-Coffee

One moment, about two hours into the demonstration, I turned to find a delicious espresso coffee and biscotti laid on my chair by owner, Karen … in a beautiful, artful mug and plate. Listening to Karen chat with customers over the afternoon was such a pleasure. She’s a knowledgeable curator of art, and takes such good care of everyone — even her artist doing a demo!

LINDA COTE-Field PostcardHere is the finished printed postcard: spring fields in Alberta. It was so fun to create these tiny pieces of art … dreaming of a time when the clouds are fluffy and the fields are plowed and ready for spring planting. Not so very long now!

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15 responses to “Demonstration at Bluerock Gallery

    • Thanks, Deb! I also love that about it … the bold simplicity of printmaking really captures my imagination. (As a thanks for following my blog, send me your address to: artist(at)lindacote.ca and I will put a postcard in the mail to you!)

  1. Thanks, Sue! Clouds are sure challenging in black and white, but these did roll! (If you want a copy of the postcard, email me at the address I put in Deb’s comment reply above, and I will throw one in the mail to you as well!)

  2. I’m sorry I missed it Linda, but thanks for sharing in this blog. Looks so cool. I wonder if you teach? Would you think there may be a group who would like to have an artistic weekend retreat doing this kind of art???

  3. Hi Pat, sorry you missed it, too. I’d love to meet you — Karen speaks very highly of you and the Diamond Willow Retreat. I have taught small groups, and am definitely asked about doing this from many who see my demonstrations. Would love to chat with you more about this. Send me an email to artist(at)lindacote.ca. Or, I will get in touch with you! Thanks for reading the blog!

  4. Looks like you had an excellent day! It’s great that you are so willing to share your process and do demos. Love your postcard and the stamps on the back!

  5. Before I started reading the comments I wanted a post card too!! Would you consider a trade? I’ll mail you my latest bird greeting card and you can mail me the postcard!! You’ll have a bit of Florida and I’ll have a bit of Canada!! What do you say?

    I totally enjoyed this post and the idea of making the mini prints right in a gallery!! Just very nice!!

  6. I just wanted to say to everyone that Linda’s postcard looks AWESOME in person!! I was very excited when I received it and just kept examining the lines, the ink, and the perspective. Isn’t it amazing how the artist’s view can give us this little tangible pleasure!! Thanks so much it is just beautiful!!

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