Tag Archives: Silkscreen

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Katherine Baca-Bielinis: Printmaker

Katherine’s artwork is on view in our juried exhibition “Small Works 2016”. Her work is available for purchase in our Online Gallery Shop:
store.mainstreetartsgallery.com


I am often asked how a native of San Francisco ended up in Rochester, NY.  I reply, “It was fate!”  After earning a BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking from California State University at Long Beach, fate took me on a slow eastward journey across the country that eventually ended in Rochester – my home for the past 30 years.  Fate also steered me to R.I.T. where I received a Masters in Art Education. This resulted in a long, wonderful career teaching art in Rochester area schools.

After retiring, fate intervened once again.  It allowed me to finally focus my energies on my professional art career and led me back to printmaking – my true artistic passion.  I have directed my initial efforts towards learning non-toxic processes that afford me the ability to work in my home studio, as well as the Printmaking studio at R.I.T.  All forms of printmaking fascinate me.  My current efforts are primarily focused however on lithography and etching with an occasional departure to silkscreen. These methods enable me to draw, which is an essential part of my work.

My home studio.

My home studio.

My current imagery stems from a love of old world architecture and a desire to present the grandeur of the urban environment. In our hectic lives, full of distractions, it is often difficult to take a moment to enjoy the beauty around us. In my work, I hope to reconnect the viewer with the elegance and craftsmanship of these architectural features that were missed along the way.

My process usually begins with a photograph that I have taken – in this case,  “Casa Batllo”  in Barcelona at Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

Photo, Casa Batllo, Barcelona.

A drawing is then developed from the photo.

Drawing for silkscreen "Casa Batllo", based on a photo  taken in Barcelona.

Drawing for silkscreen “Casa Batllo”

Silkscreen is a shape-based method, so the next step is to develop the color separations on tracing paper or vellum, always keeping in mind that overlapping colors will create additional colors.

Color separations on vellum.

Color separations on vellum.

Each separation is then transferred to a silkscreen using photo emulsion and a light exposure unit.  I use ink dispersions in a transparent base medium which allows for a subtle build up of colors, almost giving the appearance of watercolor.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion.  This is now ready to print.

Silkscreen with image transferred to emulsion. This is now ready to print.

Each color builds upon the last until all colors have been printed. Below is the completed  silkscreen, currently on view at Main Street Arts Gallery, Small Works Exhibition.

Completed silkscreen, "Casa Batllo".

Completed silkscreen, “Casa Batllo”.

Additional works can currently be seen at the Mill Art Center and Gallery, ROCO and the Ink Shop.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Katherine’s work in our current exhibition “Small Works 2016” (juried by Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator of RoCo; exhibition runs through January 6th). Katherine’s work is available in our Online Gallery Shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com. Visit her website at www.kcbaca.com.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by artist Richard Harvey.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Heather Swenson: The Link Between Silkscreen and Collage

A little over four years ago I moved back to Rochester after graduating from Purchase College of Art and Design with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and a concentration in Painting and Printmaking. Since then I have continued to work across several mediums, moving between silkscreen, collage, painting, sculpture and installation. Currently I have been focusing on silkscreen and collage, noticing their similarities and working to integrate principles of collage into my prints.

My screenprints always start from a drawing, often one that I cut up and rearrange. This drawing often goes through many stages before I settle on a composition for the final print. Through the images below I will walk through the process of making one of my recent screenprints, Temporary Stability.

One of the first compositions for Temporary Stability.

One of the first compositions for Temporary Stability.

Final drawing for Temporary Stability.

Final drawing for Temporary Stability.

I sort through an ever-growing collection of old books and paper for inspiration, often adding new elements into the drawing.

Paper scraps from my collection.

Paper scraps from my collection

Once I arrive at the finished drawing I start making layers for the print. I lay a sheet of acetate over the drawing and trace a section with a lightfast marker.  With silkscreen, each color is laid down separately, so for every color in the print there will be a corresponding sheet of acetate. This process of separating colors and focusing on how parts make up the whole link up to the way I think about collage.

Making the layers for the print, this film will be used when exposing the screen.

Making the layers for the print, this film will be used when exposing the screen.

In my studio in the Hungerford Building, I have a small exposure unit that I built to expose the screens and a table with hinge clamps to make my prints.

My silkscreen table  with a screen in the hinge clamps.

My silkscreen table in my studio with a screen in the hinge clamps.

Aside from the loose palette I select for the silkscreen, printing is a spontaneous process for me.  I mix my colors as I work, often making changes along the way.  As shown below the final print, Temporary Stability, is slightly different from the final drawing I made. Instead of the grey shape at the bottom, I printed a scanned security envelope pattern.

The final preparatory drawing and the final print.

The final preparatory drawing and the final print.

Among other prints and a set of small sculptures, I have two pieces in the Upstate NY Printmaking Invitational that bridge the gap between collage and silkscreen. They are collages that I made from cutting up my screenprints. Repurposing of my work in silkscreen brings it full circle to the beginning stages of the process when I am arranging parts for the drawing.

Collage made entirely from cut up screenprints.

Collage made entirely from cut up screenprints.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Heather Swenson’s prints in our current exhibition the Upstate New York Printmaking Invitational (runs through October 7). You can see more of Heather’s work online at www.heatherswenson.com or follow her on Instagram @heatherswensonart.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by printmaker Gregory Page.