G.W.Bot ‘A Life with Linos’ workshop

Residency Dates: 5 – 9 March 2014 | Workshop Dates: 2 – 4 March 2014

“Creativity is an act of uncertainty- the image is not done until it is created, so take the plunge, take a risk, find your own TOUCH and just do it.” (G.W.Bot)

Conversing with G.W. Bot throughout the workshop gave us an insight into how her art reflects her philosophical approach to life.  She said “Print of each other’s DNA”…”my stories, my space; I am the artist”. We were encouraged to see linocut as an extension of drawing.  G.W.Bot started the workshop with a conversation about the different “degrees of touch”, referring to the different marks that can be achieved on the lino using the same tools.  Each artist has their own touch: Matisse produced some simple linocuts that show the same line in different forms – harder pressure on the lino tool created a higher sound while softer pressure created a lower sound. This approach contrasted against Durer woodcuts that showed a more controlled realist approach.  Different approaches of mark making created different signatures of the artists.

G.W. encouraged students to work at their own pace, we could just spend the 3 days carving if wished or, as the majority of students did, carved 3 linocuts and printed non- stop……keeping G. W. on her toes for 3 days. She also encouraged us to experiment and let each print determine the next step. For me, I enjoyed the calm approach, first exploring dry embossing on previously printed images, a great technique with lots of potential for artist’s books. Second, I painted onto the lino with acrylic paint with a broad brush in a Motherwell/Tapies style and then carved the lino, a technique that created a more organic design.  I also used the soft and hard pressure applied to the roller and enjoyed the simplicity of hand rolling with the wooden rolling pin. Overall, the 3 days went fast and beautiful prints were produced, either as part of an ongoing process or as final.

Written by Karen Landt-Isley, photography by Jo Lankester & Umbrella Studio

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An Interview with G.W. Bot

In your opinion what is so good about Relief Printmaking?

I approach relief printmaking as a form of relief sculpture – I love carving.  I also like the way the cut block impresses itself into the paper when printing.  My choice of medium for relief printmaking is linoleum (lino) originally made as a floor covering.


Can you give us a little bit of background about how you got involved in printmaking and what led you to become such an expert at Relief printing?

After cutting and printing my first small block of lino (which I still have) at high school in London I was “hooked”.  The rest just followed.


What are the top 3 things that an artist should know in order to be successful in Relief Printmaking? I’m not sure what “successful” means – creativity is an act of uncertainty – the image is not done until it is created, so take the plunge, take a risk, find your own “touch” and just do it.

What’s the best way to get started?

The best way to begin is to find a spot to place your lino so it will be stable and start cutting.

How long does it take to really become proficient at Relief Printmaking?

How much experience does a person need to do Relief Printmaking?

No one needs any prior experience to do linos – the techniques are simple and straight forward. For me the cutting of the lino can be a form of meditation – it can be of high energy too


If you had one secret to give about Relief Printmaking, what would it be?

Give yourself “time” a space where there is a timelessness to give what you think the image needs. There are no mistakes though – it is all the journey.


What are some of the common problems that artists experience in Relief printing?

The basic technical hurdle in all printmaking is the registration – knowing where you are going to place the block on the press in the same way each time you print an image from that block so that it prints on a piece of paper each time in the same place.


Where can people find more information about your professional practice?

I don’t have my own website but you can find my work on these website; Australian Galleries, www.australiangalleries.com.au; Beaver Galleries, www.beavergalleries.com.au; National Gallery of Australia, www.nga.gov.au and the British Museum,  www.britishmuseum.org


What have been the benefits to your professional development to be an artist in residence?

An artist’s residency is very valuable.  It allows one time out to think about one’s work and possible directions it could take.  Often the location is different from one’s own usual surroundings, the unfamiliarity helps one to “see” again.


What tips can you give about applying for an artist in residence?

Perhaps look for a residency you would love to have and apply for that.  In a way all of life is a residency, so perhaps you don’t want to be going somewhere you are not interested in – life is short.