The Joys of Printing

The Joys of Printing

Another of our day-long Fine Art Print workshops recently ended. I’d like to share some observations about it, our clients and us.

First, some BTS info. My assistant, Bob, and I really look forward to every print workshop, although there is a lot that goes into prepping for it. Before each event we sit down well in advance and review our presentation, looking for ways to improve it. Then we rehearse it for the umpteenth time to nail down the timing and anticipate any last-minute glitches. Our goal is to give our clients the knowledge, hands-on experience and the confidence they need to grow in their fine art printmaking.

A few days prior we test our large format Canon Pro-Graf printers to make sure that all is well on the techno side of things.

Bob checking our Canon ProGraf 4000

Bob checking our Canon ProGraf 4000

The day before the event I open our large work table, set up the work stations and prep the studio for our clients. Prepping includes putting out teas, coffees, snacks, stocking the fridge, etc. On the morning of the event, I’m up early making coffee, starting the printers, stacking the papers, and getting the laptops ready, while my wife bakes some of her signature desserts. All is ready and I’m stoked. When Bob arrives we are primed for a great day ahead.

The Clients Arrive

One of the joys of our workshop is seeing our clients arrive. They are excited, often nervous, hoping to get out of the workshop what they came for… a bunch of large format prints and lots of new knowledge so that they can create their own prints when they get home.

Watching Bob teach is always inspiring. He is a brilliant Master Printer and his enthusiasm and passion for the photographic arts is contagious. I’ve listened to him talk about color management at least a few dozen times and somehow I come away with something new every time.

I regret that we may bore our clients in the first couple of hours. They come to print. We feel it’s our duty to first give them a solid grounding in color management and printmaking and dispel some silly myths that still persist about color spaces, calibration, printers and more, before letting them loose in our studio. We try every time to cut the prelims, but our commitment to our art prevents us from making the experience a cookie cutter exercise.

But when they finally start printing the room just lights up! Clients joyously send their images to our four Canon Image ProGraf large format printers in a steady stream.

Once they start seeing their large format fine art masterpieces emerging from the printers on Moab Entrada, Moab Entrada Textured, and Moab Juniper, they are simply radiant… no other way to describe it. Soon everyone is showcasing their images to each other, feeling the luscious papers, oohing and aahing, smiling from ear to ear. Then it’s a headlong rush to see how many prints they can churn out before quitting time; 8-1/2x11” proofs, 17x22” large formats, even one or two 24x36” ginormous prints. I can see in their eyes they are anticipating a 32”x44” framed and matted print on their wall at home!

At the end of the day Bob and I are sad to see everyone leave and, quite honestly, by then we are exhausted, but the satisfaction we feel is immeasurable. The next business day we’ll debrief, consider the feedback we received, and plan improvements for the next Fine Art Printing workshop.

Like I said, The Joys of Printing.