News and Blogs

William Shakespeare – The 400th Anniversary Portrait, by Geoffrey Tristram, April 2016.

shakespeare-geoff tristram-portrait-headIn 2015, Stratford Town and District Councils asked Geoffrey Tristram, a professional artist from Stourbridge, to create a painting of William Shakespeare’s face for advertising and promotional purposes. They chose Geoffrey first and foremost because they liked his style of painting, but also because of his pedigree as an illustrator. He has been an artist and cartoonist for 40 years, working for hundreds of large companies including the BBC, Penguin Books, Winsor & Newton, Reeves, Ravensburger Puzzles, Trivial Pursuit, and Past Times, to name but a handful. He has designed and illustrated record sleeves for the likes of UB40, postage stamps (The Charles and Diana Royal Wedding, Lake Placid Winter Olympics, World Cup Football and Miss World) and painted or caricatured many celebrities including Jeremy Clarkson, Alan Shearer, and virtually every top snooker player during his 25 year stint as Embassy World Snooker’s favoured cartoonist. So, put simply, he could be trusted to make a good job of it!
DSC_1253Having successfully completed this small, initial commission, Geoffrey confessed that, as a lifelong Shakespeare fan, his dream job was to paint a brand new, large, impressive oil portrait of the Bard at his writing desk. The idea was well received, and just before Christmas 2015, the painting was begun. The artist knew full well that such a picture would bring with it a massive responsibility, and he was in no doubt that it would attract criticism, both good and bad. It didn’t help that, for such a world-famous person as Shakespeare, he didn’t appear to be overly fond of posing for artists, so there wasn’t much in the way of previous reference material to fall back upon.

Undaunted, Geoffrey set about the task in his usual forensic, obsessive way. He dug out copies of just about every existing painting, etching, wood cut, bust and statue that purported to be of the great man. He even found a death mask. They may as well have been ten different people. The etching on the first folio was apparently approved by Ben Jonson, but the drawing was naive and rather odd. There were a couple of paintings, presumably created when Shakespeare was a younger man that could have been Sir Walter Raleigh or any other Elizabethan, for that matter. Some pictures had a full head of hair, while others had none. On some, he looked thin, but on the Holy Trinity Church bust, he looks more like a jolly butcher.

DSC_1250-002It was dawning on our artist that he had maybe bitten off more than he could chew. Nevertheless, he ploughed on, comparing the images, allowing for the fact that we all get older, fatter and balder, and pictures of us taken at college seldom look like us at all by the time we draw our pension. Then Geoffrey traced out the familiar bald pate and moustache and goatee beard combination, and began to overlay it on top of the various depictions of this enigmatic man, and lo and behold, he experienced a Eureka moment. All the contenders, once so dissimilar, now suddenly began to seriously resemble each other. This gave our frustrated artist heart.

He contacted his friend, Steve Jolliffe, a graphic designer and photographer, and waylaid another friend, Simon Millichip, promising a trip to sunny Stratford and a cream tea in return for reference photographs and a body double, respectively. He then hired a costume of the correct vintage and social class at great expense, and convinced the Shakespeare Birthplace in Henley Street that they must allow him to use the house as a backdrop (they chose the room where W.S. was almost certainly born, which seemed fitting somehow). Due to a traffic jam on the M40, our intrepid band ended up with just half an hour to take all the reference photographs before the first coach-load of tourists arrived.

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Geoff Tristram_William Shakespeares 400th Anniversary_The Artists Print Room
400th Anniversary Portrait Giclée Print £195
Edition Size 400

Buy NowShakespeare’s face was mainly based on the first folio etching, but then Geoffrey humanised it. He wanted to create a real, living, believable human being. Meticulous preparatory drawings were done, sleep was lost and the Tristram residence driven to the edge of sanity. The artist locked himself in his studio for two months, obsessing, painting, fretting his weary hours at the easel and occasionally just sneaking back at some ungodly hour just to take another look. What looked great on a Monday was altered on the Tuesday, and duly altered again on the Wednesday until it returned to how it was in the first place. Then, round about the beginning of February 2016, he emerged paint-stained but happy. He had an answer for every potential critic about every potential bone of contention. His research had been thorough, and if anyone really thought they could do better, they were welcome to try it!

g tristram sealOne of the main reasons for painting the picture was the creation of a special edition giclee print. To this end, Geoffrey contacted Mark Parry at the Artist’s Print Room, just outside Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Geoffrey met Mark and was impressed with his attitude and dedication to producing a first class job. For many, the only reproduction of the original painting they would ever see was the print, so it had to be right. It was also important to Geoffrey that Mark was an Artist’s Trade Guild member, and as such, someone who was able to meet their high standards. The two got on famously thanks to a shared sense of humour, and the result was two editions of the image, a special edition of just 400 signed and numbered prints which was aimed at institutions, theatres, schools, colleges and the like, priced at £195 plus postage and packing, and a smaller, domestic-sized open edition at £85.

The original painting was unanimously well received by the Stratford councils, and will be displayed in the ancient town hall during the April festivities, which will see people travelling from all corners of the globe to pay homage to their literary hero. By all accounts, the yearly celebrations are always spectacular, but this year the town intends to raise its game even further, with street processions, a banquet, and a host of famous guest actors and celebrities in attendance. It has even been rumoured that royalty may well attend.

If you are interested in owning one of the prints that Geoffrey and Mark have created, take a look at their new website, www.thetristramshakespeare.co.uk where you can find more information about print sizes and substrate details, etc. You can also email Geoffrey on [email protected] if you need more information. And because there are only 400 prints available to the whole world, please remember, if t’were done when ‘tis  done, then ‘twere well it was done quickly! 

That man had a way with words, don’t you think?

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On Location with the Amazing Donald Brown

Spent the last few days finishing off, what has been a fabulous photoshoot with the amazing sculptor Donald Brown. I was contacted by Donald, who wanted his sculpture ‘A Sporting Chance for Peace’ photographed for Giclée printing. At over 6feet wide by 4 feet high and also three dimension, it posed a number of problems.

Donald Brown_A Sporting Chance for PeaceDonald wanted it captured with shadow, He had been working with overhead lighting, which formed specific shadow detail, he also had a large open glass window, which defused the detail at certain times of the day, these shadows were very important.

After setting up I took some test shots, After testing various reflector positions, to capture that detail, Donald was Happy.

Once back in my home studio, we colour balanced and edited the image. By viewing the sculpture on my monitor we made a few minor adjustments, straightening the hockey stick, removed bur from mouths and eyes.

We tested the print on two different substrates, The Hahnemuhle Baryta and the Hahnemuhle Satin, Donald was very impressed with the feel and look and the baryta.

We next set about creating a final image, using different marble effect backgrounds, typeface and overlays, the final images where complete.

You can view, the Journey Donald and myself took here on youtube.

Purchase your Giclée prints from  Donald Brown’s Website

Introduction to Fine Art Giclee Printing Talk to The Visual Art Network, Shropshire

Artists Print Room_Giclee printing talk by Artists Print Room_MT-28_sRGBI was invited by Shropshire Visual Art Network (VAN) and Disability Arts in Shropshire (DASH) to give a presentation and talk on ‘An Introduction to Giclee Printing’, How The Artists Print Room got started, some of the technical aspects to Giclee printing, substrates available and information about the laws concerning artwork. I also talked about being the only Fine Art Trade Guild printer within Shropshire and the high quality of giclee printing and substrates I provide, with examples for the audience to assess.

Very interesting technical background to colour and substrates. Interesting to me as a photographer.

Nigel Young.

My wife Helen, an artist, was tweeting with Hahnemühle and mentioned I was doing a talk in Market Drayton on their substrates, I soon got a direct message asking if they could come along. I thought it was a great opportunity to finally meet them, as I’m currently applying for ‘Hahnemühle’s Certified Studio’ status. So Hahnemühle’s Simon Waller and Heidi Wilson attended my talk and they challenged me with a few questions. I think it was interesting to hear other viewpoints and to study Hahnemühle substrates in more detail.

Artists Print Room_Giclee printing talk by Artists Print Room_MT-19_sRGBIt was a good two hour talk, with artists, photographers and sculptures attending and all requiring different solutions to digitising their artworks. I gave a very comprehensive giclee printing talk, which produced a steady flow of questions from the artists in the audience throughout my talk on giclee printing.

What I found surprising, was the current poor examples of giclee printing the artists had brought along to show me and also their frustrations in dealing with printers. It felt really good to be able to allay their frustrations and show examples of the high standard of giclee printing I am able to offer. I also showed examples of Hahnemuhle ‘s quality papers and canvases, which was a complete eye opener to all who attended.

There were many topics I discussed including copyright, limited editions, social media and the laws that directly effect artists.

The feed back I received from the artists in the audience was immediate and overwhelming. I had such lovely comments as

Really useful session – full of all the things you wouldn’t think of or have time to ask! 

many thanks Jodie

 

Fabulously interesting and very useful- been looking for someone that can print my work as I want it & such interesting info. So very useful to my art practice so thank you. Anne Marie.

 

A very interesting evening. Mark was a very competent printer and good presenter. Would be interested in coming to another session.

Simon Walker General Manager Festival Drayton

Artists Print Room_Giclee printing talk by Artists Print Room_MT-15_sRGBOverall I believe they all enjoyed my talk on The Introduction to Giclee Printing and I’m sure we’ll get together again, so I can discuss the topics in more detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting such a lovely group of creatives and would love the opportunity to meet more artists. I would like to thank Carola & Hilary at Visual Art Network Shropshire and and Paula at DASH (Disability Arts in Shropshire) for their overwhelming enthusiasm and in hosting the evening and providing refreshments.

So get in touch if your art group or photography group is interested in a talk about Giclee printing, I’d love to hear from you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch, by using the contact form.

Crop Ratio for Artists considering multiple sized print editions

Before you start working on your new painting or sketch or illustration, give a little thought as to how you would like it to look, in print. The reason I say this is simple, you don’t want to get small sections of your work cropped off to fit into standard sized mounts or frames.

All that hard work simply cropped off. Well, now you have your blank piece of paper or canvas or whatever substrate you use in front of you, think about the aspect (cropping).

If you take the chart below, you can see that by retaining the same aspect, you can print to your hearts content with many different sizes, without losing sections of your hard work.

Aspect Ratio for artists

Try to think about the size of prints you require? & how many different sizes?
Stick to the same crop ratio to avoid the sides or the top or bottom being cropped off. Such as:

7 x 5” = 9 x12, 15 x 21 etc..
A-Series = A5, A4, A3, A2, A1 etc…

As long as the ratio remains consistent, you won’t be forced to crop your artwork, when you ask for new size of print.

I hope this has been helpful.

Helen Parry Watercolour Artist

Our Artist of the Month

Helen Parry Watercolour Artist
Brown Hare by Helen Parry (©Helen Parry)

Helen is an extremely talented PURE Watercolour Artist from Shropshire. Helen’s painting technique is extremely rare these days, She works using only 3-primary pigments, no black and no white. All the colours used are mixed in palettes or in multiple layers, thus building up a dynamic colour range. All the whites you see are the paper. it’s quite remarkable, each of Helen’s paintings take about 35 hours to complete. Helen is also the co-founder of The Artists Print Room.

Please visit Helen’s Website Click Here

What is colour correction? & How it effects your prints!

One of the most complicated areas of high quality Giclèe printing.

Color correction is the manual manipulation of shades, curves, hues, saturation, luminosity, channels, contrast and amounts of separate colors prior to printing, thus rendering the print accurately to the original artwork or in order to make the final print pleasing to the eye of the artist.

In simple terms your camera speaks Japanese, your computer software speaks English, your monitor speaks Welsh and your printer speaks Japanese, yet your paper speaks German or French or Italian depending on which paper you have chosen, each requiring an Independant interpreter, or in our case a profile, in order to communicate.

Your camera requires a calibration profile, known as a camera profile, which your computer software can read. You now need a calibrate your monitor to create a monitor profile, each paper or canvas requires an ICC paper profile, which is unique to a single printer and that specific paper. Therefore, If you have two printers then you will require two ICC profiles for the same paper, even if you have two printers both the same make and model, each printer will have subtle differences in there ink deliveries..

Each one of these profile interprets the colours slightly differently, a little like a Chinese whisper, by the time it gets to the last person, it’s not quite the same.

Using a fully colour managed environment and workflow is the first and biggest contribution to the final print quality. Now it comes down to the human eye, viewing your original alongside a proof in a viewing booth next to your monitor, with a understanding of how colour is made up. Each subtle adjustment of hue, saturation, luminosity, white and black point balance, clarity, can make a huge difference to the print colour accuracy.

Call me on 01746 352 911 for more information on our digital capture, Colour Correction, soft proofing & Print Services

Our journey together starts here!

Where did it all start, I sometimes ask myself that very question. I started with a very impetuous wife, a perfectionist of the impossible order.

My wife is a watercolour artist, but she’s no ordinary watercolour artist, but pure watercolour, no soggy paper and brushes loaded with water, but miniature brushes, with nearly dry pigments. She also only uses 3 primary colours, so all colours are mixed in the pallets or directly on the paper in layers, sometimes tens of layers..

Then there’s the paper, it’s quite a creamy white cotton with a rough texture.. And she doesn’t use any white paint, so all the whites are actually creamy white, the paper white… It’s this combination that has been causing all our printers major issues with colour correction.

After being let down in a very embarrassing way by her last printer, I came home one day to find a large crate on my door step… ‘Thats our new printer’ she told me! well we’d always said we would eventually bring the printing in house, but not right now.

I am a food photographer, so setting up a printer and photoshop, camera, lighting was not an issue, well that’s what I thought… Six months later, I’d finally cracked all the aspects of fine art colour correction, far more complicated that general photography colour correction…

My wife has now passed off all her artwork, (well the ones she hadn’t sold) and she’s happy, that’s no small mean feat, I can tell you…

I really hope that you will find the same faith in my ability, as my wife, to produce fantastic reproductions of your amazing artwork, and that you’ll truly enjoy the whole experience of working along side me in my studio..

I look forward to meeting you all, the kettle’s on.

Mark