Andrew Hamilton – Friday Night Guest – March 3, 2023
(Submitted by Sally Williams)
Andrew Hamilton resides in Brighton, Ontario, and maintains his studio and gallery there (Gallery 96). A former apprentice of Doris McCarthy, he is currently the Executive Director of ArtVentures, Director of the Markham School of Fine Art, Prince Edward County School of Art and the Peggy’s Cove School of Fine Art. He is known for his colourful landscapes and is a plein air painter who ventures out all year round (yes, even winter).
Andrew is also passionate about reusing what is often thrown away, which kick started his passion for printmaking. Artists such as Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Degas and Gauguin all produced beautiful monotypes. Gauguin, lacking access to sophisticated printing facilities while living on the islands, developed trace monotypes. Rembrandt occasionally reproduced his paintings in print form. Today, we live in an age of convenient packaging, but at least we can extend the life of non-recyclables by incorporating them into our art practice.
While discussing this topic, Andrew leafed through file-folders full of printing “plates”, stencils and visual reference material, before demonstrating how to repurpose household items such as sheets of acetate, hard plastic food containers, sandwich and grocery bags. The results vary, from spontaneous, exploratory monoprints to carefully planned representational scenes. Even his paint palette is used at the end of a painting, resulting in an abstract print, open to interpretation.
The demonstration proved that you don’t need a printing press or need to go out and spend a fortune on printmaking materials if you want to give monoprinting a try. The DVAC printmaking group know all about this from our lengthy Covid lock down!
Got plastic of some kind? Aluminum foil? A wooden (or large metal) spoon? A chopstick or kebab skewer? You probably have a paintbrush handle and old brushes, rollers…paint… Then, you’re ready to try monoprinting!
- Printmaking ink is obviously a preferred choice, but it’s not the only ink you can use (travel/baby wipes are handy for cleanup).
- Using open acrylics (or adding a retarder) will allow you to enjoy sketching and mark making before the paint dries.
- Oil sticks e.g. Sennelier or Kama, rubbed onto the back of a sandwich bag or acetate, create a carbon sheet. Placed face down onto paper, you can create whatever you like (trace photos or sketch, explore line and tone by varying the pressure of your tools and fingers). The plastic sheet can be reused by reapplying the oil stick.
- Don’t throw away old books. Printing onto pages of type can also influence your mark making.
- A SUPERNIB PLUS pen is also great for fine line tracing (using ink).
After demonstrating print on paper techniques, Andrew moved to a canvas he’s working on and demonstrated transfer techniques directly onto the mixed media work.
Whichever method you choose, your print will have a beautiful textural uniformity that isn’t achievable by painting directly onto your chosen surface. No two prints will be alike. Prints also afford different levels of pricing and make an artist’s work more accessible. Andrew’s presentation drew a large group of attendees, including a few in the art club’s printmaking group, and he is open to teaching a workshop in the future. His website can be found here: http://andrewhamiltonfineart.weebly.com but you’re more likely to see his most up to date work and news via connecting with him on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/andrew.hamiltonartist