PEOPLE-NATURE-ART WITH PRINTMAKER KATHLEEN WALSH BUCHANAN
Artist and biologist Kathleen Walsh Buchanan will be at the Wendell Gilley Museum on Tuesday, Sept. 19, to share her collagraphic printmaking and its inspiration in the natural world as part of the museum’s signature People-Nature-Art series. There will be a public reception at 5:30pm followed by a presentation at 7pm. Both events are free, but registration is required at www.wendellgilleymusem.org/calendar. The program will also be livestreamed via Zoom. “At first glance, biology and printmaking seem to have little common ground, but much of my training as a scientist has served me extremely well as an artist,” she says. “Both disciplines require skill at observing the environment, at not only looking but seeing what is going on around you. I look at biology and art as two dialects in the same language, different ways to communicate what you have learned about the nature of things, about the truth of your experience.” A collagraph is a hand-made print generated off a printing plate that is a collage of various material. For her pieces, Buchanan starts with a sturdy backing board of plain masonite panel, then glues down shapes of paper that delineate the major elements of her design. Then she paints over that paper with acrylic gel mediums to add texture and detail to the design, and to prevent the paper from being saturated with ink when it’s time to print. Before becoming a full-time printmaker in 1999, she was educated and employed as a biologist. As an undergraduate at Tufts University, she majored in biology while nurturing her creative skills with as many studio art courses as she could fit into her schedule. After getting a master’s degree in wildlife biology at the University of Alaska, she renewed her efforts at studio art with a focus on printmaking and now lives – and makes art – in Rockland, Maine. “My connection to the natural world, my role as a mother, and my own sense of self all find expression in my images,” she says. “I enjoy looking at landscapes and their inhabitants not only as appealing composition subjects, but also as metaphors for our human experience. Collagraph printing, with all its intricacy and subtlety, is a fascinating medium to use in the communication of these ideas.” People-Nature-Art is a free monthly series that brings artists, writers, carvers, and creative types of all kinds to the Gilley to explore how nature and art interact in their work, and how their art impacts their own approach nature. Each session for 2023 is sponsored by our friends at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.