After I enjoyed the dancing of the Chinese New Year dragons, I met my new friend Poppy Dully to enjoy the Fine Art Print Show across the street at the Mark Building. Now a part of the Portland Art Museum, the Mark was built in 1924 as a Masonic Temple.
It has the Masonic symbol over the door and wonderful architectural details inside. Huge bas reliefs decorate the walls of the main hall, and classic sculptures adorn the foyer.
The well-lit main hall was filled with displays from more than a dozen different galleries and dealers from all over the world, selling a wide variety of prints.
We saw this whimsical piece called “It’s 2 AM, Madame, Paris is Closed”, which cracked me up. It is by Bill Rock.
And speaking of Paris, there was a set of prints that were straight out of the Paris 1900 show! Toulouse Lautrec’s ladies and horses racing at Longchamps made me homesick for Paris all over again.
Seeing a print show with a print artist like Poppy is an incredible education! She explained the different kinds of printing, their stages, techniques, and inks so clearly that I wanted to get in and start etching. But I also realized that printing is not an art form you can just jump into. There is technical knowledge that you need, or nothing will work out.
Fortunately, there are schools and studios where people can go to learn. The Tamarind Institute in New Mexico was featured, as well as the Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton, Oregon. This studio specializes in training Native artists who want to learn to express their images through printing.
We listened in as the dealer discussed this wonderful piece with a fellow looking to buy it, pointing out the details of how it was made and which layers were put on first. It was fascinating.
And just as we were heading out, I saw Auntie Bridgett’s favorite French printmaker: Caricaturist Honore Daumier. This piece of his shows Louis Phillip Napoleon having his nap disturbed by a giant pear.
When our eyes were full, Poppy and I had tea and chai at the Behind the Museum Cafe. It was quiet, interesting, and delicious.