Richmond Art Gallery
presents

"Canada's Lighthouses"

July 7th - Aug 25th 2005

Exhibition of Woodblock Prints
Graham A. Scholes

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

The Richmond Art Gallery is pleased to host the exhibition of the work of Graham Scholes. The wood block prints in this show represent the lighthouses of British Columbia, but these are only a part of the larger series: Canada’s Lighthouses. The work is complex and beautiful. Each image represents one of the lighthouses that have guarded our coastline. Graham Scholes has visited each of these sites; then, in addition to faithfully representing the beacon, he has applied his interpretation to its environment. Consequently, our interest in the work is not only aesthetic pleasure. The images trace a part of the coastal history of Canada; a history that is quickly passing. This body of work has been a labour of love which began more than twelve years ago when Graham Scholes decided to use the Hanga method of wood block printing to record Canada’s lighthouse stations.
I thank Graham Scholes for his pursuit of this subject and the work it has produced.

Corrine Corry
Director/Curator
Richmond Art Gallery

ABOUT GRAHAM

Graham A. Scholes, a resident of Sidney B.C., was born in Toronto on December 28th, 1933. He is a well-known artist, author, and educator with a reputation for both his work in watercolours and Japanese woodblock print-making. Scholes graduated from a 4 year Arts course at Western Technical School in Toronto and subsequently designed stage sets for the Erskine Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society for 6 years. He worked in the commercial art field in Toronto and Montreal until 1977 when he turned fulltime to the creation of fine art. Scholes’ international reputation was established with the publication of his book “Watercolor and How”, published by Watson-Guptill, New York, which was distributed world wide. In 1993 at the age of 60, Scholes took a course with master printmaker, Noboru Sawai on woodblock printmaking. This new medium was an instant inspiration and catalyst. In the fall of 1993, Scholes started a series of prints depicting the lighthouses along the rugged coast of British Columbia.

Map to Lighthouses 15' x 20'
Offered an interaction of attendees to find the location with the woodblock print of the lightstation. Only the image of each tower was on the map.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Graham's compelling desire started 8 years ago, when he decided to capture these little niches of British Columbia's history. He is recording them, using the Hanga medium, (Japanese Woodblock Printmaking). He is intrigued with the process of creating his own prints from start to finish. Scholes stresses the authenticity and legitimacy of original prints, created by the artist's hand.

Making arrangements with the Canadian Coast Guard, he was able to visit the lighthouses so he can, as he puts it, "continue with his portraits of the lights". Graham likes to “touch his subjects”, as it is a way of interpreting and getting in close contact with the stations, experiencing the ambience of each locality. This Exhibition is the culmination of as he says... “8 hours a day, 8 days a week and 8 years to complete the series”.

ABOUT THE TECHNIQUE

Records show that woodblock printing on fabrics had been practised by the Egyptians at least two thousand years before the Christian era. It was about the 7th century that printing on paper became more widely used. It was in the 8th century that woodblock printing was introduced into Japan from China and until the mid-17th century, the colour was achieved by hand painting the print. About the mid 1600’s a new school of painting was beginning to emerge under the name “ukiyo-e” in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) which was responsible for the development of coloured woodblock prints.

Hosho paper is used for woodblocks and is made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree. The resulting fibre is Kozo, and is today, made by families that have been making paper for generations. Hosho paper is one of the most expensive and highly renowned traditional papers. The term “rice paper” used to describe Japanese papers is misleading and is now generally obsolete. The pigments used are watercolours, (colourants and/or powdered pigments) with rice paste used as a binder. Any type of wood can be used, however the finer grained wood like Cherry and Basswood are preferred.

The woodblock printing process involves many stages. Graham creates a line drawing of the image which is transferred to wooden blocks. He carves one block for each colour, creating the printing plates, on which the pigments are applied. He uses only the finest of hand made Japanese Hosho paper which is placed on the carved plate, and hand burnishs with a Baren, a traditional Japanese printing tool to get a transfer of colour to the paper. This is repeated with each plate until the final colour, completing the print. By virtue of the hand operation, no two prints are the same resulting in Original Prints. It takes Scholes about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of an image, to see the first few prints of the edition.

Exhibition Contents

Graham A. Scholes ... 37 works

Title, date, number of plates/number of colours,
image size in centimeters, width X height

Autocratic Automation
1998
17/17, 44.5 x 26

Active Pass
1997
8/20, 46 x 33

Addenbroke
2001
4/8, 30.5 x 14

Ballenas
1996
8/20, 28.5 x 18.5

Bonilla Island
2000
6/13, 27.7 x 20.2

Boat Bluff
2001
7/20

Cape Beale
1995
6/20, 18 x 28

Cape Mudge
1994
5/5, 12.8 x 19

Cape Mudge Light
1997
10/20, 61 x 30.5

Cape Scott
1994
5/11, 30.5 x 20.4

Carmanah
1995
6/16, 28 x 43.2

Chatham Point
1998
4/12, 42.5 x 20.3

Chrome Island
1997
5/16, 20.3 x 30.5

Langara Light
2001
5/10, 27.7 x 20.2

Lennard
1995
8/14, 35.8 x 17

Merry Island
1995
5/10, 20 x 29.5

Discovery
1996
6/11, 43.2 x 18

Dryad Island
2000
6/14, 27.7 x 20.2

East Point
1998
7/12, 29.8 x 20.3

Egg Island
2001
4/8, 30.5 x 14

Entrance
1996
6/14, 45.7 x 24.2

Estevan
1995
6/25, 43.2 x 23.2

Green Island
2001
8/23, 59.5 x 45

Ivory
2001
4/8, 30.5 x 14

Kains
1994
6/15, 28.2 x 19.7

McInnis Island
2000
4/11, 27.7 x 20.2

Nootka
1994
8/9, 46 x 18

Pachena
1994
6/14, 26.7 x 19

Pine Island
1998
6/14, 46 x 33

Point Atkinson
1996
7/15, 61 x 20.3

Porlier Light
1996
6/9, 34.3 x 12.8

Pulteney Point
1998
7/18, 47.6 x 13.9

Race Rocks
1994
6/14, 36.8 x 21.5

Scarlet
1998
7/14, 42.5 x 20.5

Sisters Islet
1996
4/8, 34.3 x 12.8

Trial Island
1995
6 /15, 45.7 x 26.7

Triple Island
2000
5/12, 27.7 x 20.2

To Graham's Curriculum Vitae

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