Calm, quiet and
serene, Margaret Bedell was the exact opposite of her wildly colorful
artwork. Her unique "plant paintings" radiate vibrancy and warmth.
Lines are clean and bold, colors are rich and true. And the
surprising thing is that each work of art is actually either an
original watercolor or a one-of-a-kind print . . . a monoprint,
created by using a mix of media!
Just-picked plants, florals
and fibers are used as the print matrix, making Bedell's print
process extraordinary in itself. Flowers and foliage are
artistically composed to create wonderful gardens - environments
that are a riot of color, yet they seem to sooth with feelings of
peace and quiet.
Margaret Bedell's monoprint process begins
with the careful selection of natural materials - leaves, freshly
cut blooms, fibers and grasses - which she arranges into masterful
compositions of vibrant, rich color. The plants and flowers are then
handpainted by the artist, layers of oil based printer's ink
combined with metallics. This matrix is then arranged on the bed of
her etching press (one of the largest flatbed etching presses in
Hawaii), and a print is pulled, using dampened Arches 100 % rag
paper. The resulting impression becomes deeply embossed, and it is
then the basis for subsequent mixed media artwork.
Depending upon whether or not the organic plant arrangement is
damaged by the embossing, several prints may be pulled. However,
since these prints are each made at different pressures and with
multiple layers of printer's ink, there will be considerable
difference in each piece of work in the same series. When dried, the
prints are then individually painted with watercolors by the artist,
rendering each one a completely original work of art.
"The mingling and rejection of media (especially the oil based
ink, metallics and watercolors) create unique effects of
transparency, color and dimension," Bedell once explained. "I'm interested
in extremely intense colors, saturated, vibrant colors."
This combination of techniques allows the artist to
explore many creative variables while still experimenting with the
actual print process. Bedell is, after all, considered to be one of
the most outstanding university-trained printmakers in the country.
After the last of her five children were in school, Bedell returned
to college and earned a masters degree in studio art (printmaking).
It was Bedell's education in viscosity painting (one plate multi-hue
color printing) that eventually led to the development and invention
of her unique print process.
Margaret Bedell used her printing press much in the same way as a
musician uses an intrument. She created symphonies of color, taking
full advantage of the dazzling array of floral colors in the
islands. Her work is exuberant, with a tropical richness that is
most unusual in traditional printmaking, but a very natural result
of her own avant-garde multi-media artistry.
By the way,
we've used the term "multi-media" several times without really
explaining what this means. At least in the case of Margaret
Bedell's work, it means creating the prints with a combination of
several different mediums, such as: printer's ink, Japanese inks,
watercolors, metallics (including silver, bronze and gold) and the
use of graphite pencil.
The Hana Coast Gallery is pleased to
represent this internationally acclaimed and collected artist. A
exhibition of her most recent work is currently on display in the
gallery from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily.