31 August 2022

On Becoming an Artist

Most of my posts here have so far been about either music or books and writing, both of which are 60-year passions. I haven’t yet posted anything about the other central activity in my life, which is making art, more specifically printmaking.

I really only took it up after I retired for the second time. I’d been made redundant and worked for myself as a consultant for a while. A bout of illness meant that lost momentum, and I simply couldn’t face the work needed to restart. I decided it was time to change tack and do things because I chose to do them, not because I needed to make money from them.

I’d been dabbling with digital work for a while, restoring some old family photos and scanning colour transparencies I had taken back in the 1960s. The classic Kodak slides were OK, but others had fared poorly. On many, the emulsion was peeling, there was fungal growth and often the colour had faded badly. Intensifying the faded colours made all the other problems even worse. On many slides, I found myself almost recreating missing areas from scratch. Skies especially seemed prone to almost vanishing away.

As I worked, it occurred to me that many of the things I was doing to restore these photographs, could be done in their own right. I started playing with my own photos and with found image, using the same software tools as I had for restoration, mainly a package called Paint Shop Pro (PSP), then adding some specialist bits of software which generally worked as add-ons to PSP. I started selling some of these in a small way at craft fairs or in retail galleries.

Then, by chance, I had the opportunity to see round a professional print studio, which produced work for major London galleries. I saw work in progress for artists like Howard Hodgkin and Gillian Ayres. From then on, I was hooked. Within a week, I had enrolled on a printmaking course at my local college. I went there for about 10 years, and eventually ended up with my own press in my own home studio.

My Work in Printmaking

If you want to see more of my work, go to my website at ianbertramartist.uk. I’ve uploaded a selection of my current work below though to give a taster. Click on an individual image and, if it is available, it will take you to the page in my shop with more information, including how to buy. If there isn’t a link, it probably means it hasn’t been added yet. In that case, get in touch and I will tell you if it is available.

If you enter this code at checkout, you will get 10% discount – D6URFZC9. Valid to end of 2022 for a single use only.

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