For the week of November 25 thru December 1, 1998  

Perchance to dream

Theodore Waddell’s workshop


By MARILYN BAUER
Express Staff Writer

The new studio with its Takach press is a "dream come true," according to virtuoso printmaker Theodore Waddell. And certainly it is picturesque, a rural fantasy, a place where it seems entirely possible that dreams come true.

The studio has been constructed from part of an enormous barn formerly used by Waddell’s wife, author and photographer Lynn Campion, a former cutting horse champion. The horses are still there and large sliding glass windows have been incorporated into the studio’s design to accommodate frequent equine visits.

Along the walls, monoprints and their "ghosts" -- prints made utilizing ink remaining on the plate from the initial print -- stand as a make-shift gallery. Images of animals – bison, horses, sheep – and landscapes are dream-like in composition, technically articulated to perfection.

Waddell, whose work hangs in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Missoula Museum of Art, North Dakota Museum of Art, among others and corporate and private collections including those of Ringo Starr and Robert Redford, throughout the country, has been making prints for 30 years.

On Dec. 2-4 he and Craig O’Brien the technical half of the monoprint collaboration will hold a workshop at the Campion/Waddell studio at Deer Creek Farms north of Hailey. Enrollment is limited to eight students with tuition set at $250 including some materials.

Since the early 1980s, Waddell has concentrated his considerable efforts on the monoprint process.

"There’s something about it that’s really magical," he said exhibiting the thin aluminum plates used to make a print. "I learned more about painting from making the prints."

The process begins with painting directly on to the plate using a very thin layer of sticky lithographic ink. The paper is dampened to receive the ink and the press is set.

"Craig is really open to whatever you need to get at," Waddell explained. "It’s difficult to get what you need. He knows all the technical stuff and the chemical possibilities. He adjusts the press each time, for each print and can tell exactly where the paper will be based on , for example, the amount of humidity in the air. He’s worked all over the world."

And has collaborated with artists for over 20 years on projects involving lithos, woodcuts, etchings, and monotypes. He has worked with the best including Claes Oldenberg, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol.

"The work is truly a collaboration," Waddell said. "To have success you have to have both. A plate can be run as many as eight times before you arrive at the desired effect. It takes a tremendous amount of energy."

The press, manufactured in Albuquerque, N.M., has a 40" x 80" bed, weighs one ton and produces 650 pounds per square inch of pressure during the process.

"The press alters the print in a magical way," said Waddell. "It’s like in ceramics when you put a pot in a kiln you never know exactly how it will come out. Each print is unique."

Waddell has named the press Tucker Press after one of the couple’s Burnese Mountain dogs.

"He’s going to have his own line of products –Tuckerware," Waddell laughed. "I’m going to use his chop as the imprint of the press."

Waddell’s work lately has focused on portraits and images of the dogs. He’s thrilled to have his own press which saves him from the pressure both emotional and economic which results from using other facilities and having to wait as long as 18 months to get on press.

"It’s really a dream come true," he says again.

For more information or to register for the class, contact Waddell at 788-4953.

 

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