Egg tempera is a painting process that uses egg yolk to bind pigments. On this 5 day course (Tuesday 4th to Saturday 8th September), participants will learn from Jon George how to make gesso and prepare a board to receive the egg tempera. Then there will be a session of sketching preparatory drawings outdoors, then making a painting from the sketches. The paintings can then be exhibited along side the exhibition of work by Jon George. The course will be 10:30am to 5pm each day. The fee is £130, which includes materials. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place. More info here.
We were fortunate to have the pleasure of Jon George sharing his expertise and castprinting technique in the workshop at the gallery 24-28 September. All the places were taken up and everyone enjoyed themselves and worked hard.
This post has photos from the workshop. I’ve included at the end a list of all of the equipment and materials needed for this process. It isn’t a full explanation of the process, but just intended as a reminder for if we run the course again or any people who attended. And the photos are roughly in the order of the process except for the prints that I have included next to their glass painting or cast block for comparison purposes. Clicking on any image will enlarge it and allow you to scroll through the set as a slideshow.
Some of the items needed laid out at the start of day one
Jon explaining what the technique can produce in his own work
Demonstrating the first step of preparing gesso and painting on to glass
A hive of creative activity in the gallery
Glass painted with image by Bill Swan
Printed image by Bill Swann
Plaster cast blocks just after pouring
Washing off the plaster cast to remove clay and gesso
Inking up the roller
Laying on the paper
Rolling the paper on to the inked block
Peeling off the paper to reveal the image
Glass painted with gesso by Ann Hickebottom
Inked plaster block by Ann Hickebottom
Print by Ann Hickebottom
‘Baranyini’, hand-castprint 50×56 cm (20.5″x23″) copyright Jon George
For this printing process you need:
Ingredients for gesso – chalk and a water soluble binder
A small water bottle with suitable lid for allowing small drops of water
A piece of glass to paint your image on, bigger than the image you want to make
A smaller piece of glass or tile to mix the gesso on
Another piece of glass to roll out your ink on at the printing stage
4 pieces of wood the same thickness, bigger than the image you wish to make
Palette knife (knives) to mix your gesso
Paint brushes to paint your image with gesso
A handful of clay to seal the wood on to your glass as a frame to then pour plaster into
A bucket to mix the plaster in
2 cups – one to measure the dry plaster the other to measure water – preferrably with handles
A wet area for washing off plaster from any buckets and cups and washing the gesso of the plaster cast
White spirit or turps (to clean off the oil based ink)
Rollers for the ink and for pressing the paper on to the cast block
Lots of cloths and newspaper for cleaning up
Jon George is working on a book about his work, life and the castprinting process. We hope that he will be able to return to the gallery next year and run some more workshops on this technique and also painting with egg tempera. If you are interested in any of these things, please contact us (if you are not already on the mailing list for updates) or check back on this website regularly.
We have the exciting opportunity to learn from Jon George about his Castprinting technique in a workshop running over four afternoons (24th-28th September not including Sunday) at the gallery. The workshop will be along the lines of the workshops he runs regularly from his London studio.
The Castprinting Technique
Castprinting is a new block printing method, which Jon developed when wanting to ‘reinvent woodcut with brushes.’ In most relief printing methods the image is carved in the block. However, in the Castprint block it is derived from painting – not cutting.
The three basic stages of Castprinting are:
Making artwork on a plate of glass.
From the artwork a plaster block is cast.
Print impressions are then taken from the block.
In our case the timetable is 2-5pm each day, as follows:
Saturday 24th and Monday 26th Sept will be making the artwork on the plate of glass.
Tuesday 27th Sept artwork to plaster block.
Wednesday 28th Sept print impressions from the block.
Character of Castprinting
Castprinting is a successful form of printing. People of all kinds love its simplicity and find working with gesso as a painting medium appealing. While the final results in the print faithfully render the brushwork in surprising and unusual ways. Castprints share those qualities expected of block printing, such as solid deposits of ink and colour that one wants to touch.
It has a tonal quality
Due to a subtlety of relief depth in the Castprint block, a wide variety of ink deposit creates the equivalent of tonal variation in the final print. This is new to relief printing.
Mirror imaging is solved
A typical relief print produces a mirror image, as it has but two phases A-B. But the three phases of Castprint: painting, casting and printing make it an A-B-A process and so the print emerges right-handed.
It is a viable printing method
The hard plaster of the printing blocks, make them capable of producing any number of prints.
The workshop will be fun and can be experimental
Castprinting courses are always interesting and challenging and different groups have brought new approaches leading to innovations. An example of this was with some art students in Morocco who insisted on using toothbrushes to flick the gesso to get a textural half tone effect. Jon said it probably would not work – but it did and their work was lovely.
Workshop fees, materials and equipment.
The cost of the full course is £60 plus £5 for materials which will be provided. It would be best to try to come to all 4 sessions to have the chance to see and try out all steps in the process and produce your own art work with the technique. But if you are only able to come to one the cost is £15 for each plus materials used. Please wear appropriate clothing for getting messy.
Here is a video about the technique, of a workshop at Jon’s London studio. This workshop will be taking place at St John’s Hall Gallery Barmouth, which is a different set up.
Fancy being a Puppet Master? We are experimenting with creating a Giant Puppet Dance Group, to perform, initially, at the Puppet Carnival on July 23rd. The aim is to create simple round dances that can be performed by these giants. Hard and hot work, but could be a lot of fun.
First meeting will be on Friday 15th July at 7.30pm in St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth
Every Thursday from 11am to 5pm in St Johns Hall Gallery. Parking is available.
Artists who wish to be involved in the Atelier Days can make contact by telephoning Bernard at 07767862382, emailing to email@example.com or, better still, visiting the gallery and booking your working area. First come, first served. There will be space for about 6 artist.
Each artist should bring along a piece of work they are currently involved in, or they may begin some new project. Bring easel and paints or whatever materials you use, whatever medium. We will provide a good working area, as much advice and help as we can give, a kitchen for drinks etc. We have a proto-library of art books and reference material and will soon have access to the internet. Work on video art is possible with the equipment we have.
The idea is to work towards a group show in the gallery next summer. The artists may wish to work individually or in groups.
During the day visitors may wander in from the street to look around the gallery, which will remain open except during any life drawing sessions we may wish to organise. There will be opportunity to interact with the public and fellow artists, and a time will be set aside at the end of the day for a general critique.
On Monday 18 August, poet Bernard Young led two poetry writing workshops at the Gallery. This was a new activity, kindly funded by the National Theatre Wales TEAM, which meant we could offer the workshops for free.
The first workshop, 11am to 1pm, was aimed at family groups. We had a disappointing turnout of just one family of mother, father and 4 year old daughter (3 in total). But the workshop went ahead anyway. Bernard performed some of his songs with guitar (videos will be on the Gallery YouTube channel soon) and read example poems and then worked with the group to write their own, a short one was then read out and recorded.
The second workshop 2-4pm was aimed at adults. This had better attendance. 9 adults in total, 4 who had never written any poetry before. All ‘locals’ not holiday visitors. 1 came by train from neighbouring village. Bernard read a few of his poems then did some short writing exercises and each person read out what they had written. Then they wrote a poem about earliest memories. Then looked at pictures in the gallery and postcards as a source for inspiration. They again read out their pieces. All seemed to enjoy the experience of both writing and performing to others.
It’s hard to know whether the poor response to the morning workshop was a result of marketing not being targeted right or lack of demand. We discussed it and feel that if aiming at holiday makers in future then maybe towards the end of the week (Thursday or Friday) is better, as there is generally a weekly turn around of visitors arriving on Friday or Saturdays, so that would allow time to see the marketing. But we suspect the tourist population visiting Barmouth in the school holiday season are more interested in beach-based activities and we may have more success aiming at locals out of season.
If you would be interested in more regular activities like this at the Gallery, please comment below or use the contact details on the contact us page.
On Thursday 28 August Jan Wolf is leading a writing workshop. The two-hour workshop, starting at 2pm, will involve techniques to get the pen rolling. The writing will be for fun and self discovery, with the accent on enjoyment of the creative process. Jan talks about what she plans to do in the workshop in the video below.