New art exhibit at CMC Steamboat highlights printmakers from Colorado's 20 Creative Districts |

New art exhibit at CMC Steamboat highlights printmakers from Colorado’s 20 Creative Districts

“In Out, Up Down” by Steamboat Springs artist Susan Hover Oehme is one of the works featured in “Impressions In Ink,” an exhibit focusing on artists from Colorado’s 20 Creative Districts that will be displayed at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs for the month of April.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Imagine being an artist having to design your art as a mirror image, so that it will turn out the way you envisioned. That’s the extra step many printmakers have to take in order to create their final product.

Art fans might want to keep that in mind when viewing the new traveling exhibit, “Impressions in Ink,” at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, which will grace the CMC lobby throughout the month of April.

The exhibit features Steamboat Springs artists Sue Oehme, a well-known master printmaker, and Barbara Sanders, a photographer and artist known for her rustic black-and-white photos of aging wood and stone structures, as well as artists from Creative Districts across Colorado. Steamboat is one of 20 communities who has earned the state designation.

As part of Steamboat’s First Friday Artwalk, some of the artists will be on hand from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, at CMC to talk about how they created their images.

Sanders saw the traveling exhibit for the first time this week. While she and Oehme won’t be at the reception Friday, she described what people will be seeing when they come.

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“This is a woodcut,” said Sanders as she studies Glenwood Springs artist Vanessa Porras’ print of a woman in the fetal position. Sanders explained that woodcut printing originated in the Far East and is the oldest type of printmaking. Artists carve away parts of the wood that won’t be inked before making their print. The artist has to figure the “negative” part of the image by working from a sketch.

Sanders’ pieces at the exhibit are photos she shot then printed using a polymer plate gravure etching. Gravure is the original way old photos were printed on paper. Photogravure is a complicated method using light and metal plates to capture an image that is then etched with an acid solution to make a photograph printable. For her pieces, Sanders used an updated polymer plate and etches with environmentally-friendly water instead of acid on copper plates.

 The “Impressions in Ink” exhibit includes monoprints — images created that are not identical. Painterly elements can include collage, stencils and drawing. More than one image may be printed on top of the first image blending colors and designs.

If you go

What: “Impressions in Ink” artists reception
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 5
Where: Main lobby of Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs’ student services building, 1275 Crawford Ave.
Cost: Free; appetizers and beverages will be served.

Complete list of First Friday Artwalk venues. 

In the end, all prints go through a process to press the ink and elements onto paper.

“My little press weighs 600 pound,” Sanders said. “Others could be thousands of pounds.”.

She said many artists use a hand tool called a baren, which presses the paper onto the carved wood or linoleum.

Whatever press is used to create the art, Sanders hopes visitors to the “Impressions in Ink” exhibit will have a little more insight and respect for what goes into printmaking.

“If you like the picture, learn about it,” Sanders said. “If you don’t like it, go on to the next piece of art.”

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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