Arnold Blumbergs

 

Making art is a spiritual journey for me

I grew up in an artistic environment and was influenced, inspired and encouraged by my mother, who is an accomplished and well known self-taught painter. I knew I wanted to do some form of art from an early age.

 

Most of my professional life, I was a technical illustrator and graphic designer. Technical illustrations were drawn up in pencil and inked by hand when I started. My specialty was 3-dimensional drawings. It was the only way a 3D pictorial representation was possible before computing. I missed the tactile feel of creating technical illustrations by hand when making the transition to computer art starting in 1987. A series of serendipitous events came along that filled that void.

My brother and I visited our mother on Prince Edward Island in 1988. Up until the visit, I never really gave printmaking a thought. My mother and stepdad opened a B & B on the cliffs of Little Sands. I was intrepid on my first visit to the island, but was profoundly affected. I have made many visits to the island since then. PEI is a magical place. My brother and I met up with a family friend on the island from home. My brother’s first job was working for his company, while studying printmaking in college. Our friend was an avid print collector who loved etchings and was interested in making prints. He provided his home and an etching press. My brother is a master commercial printer. He had the knowledge to make printmaking happen and make use of the press. That winter my brother went down to our friend’s house in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts to start making etchings. They used plates from a mutual artist friend on the island, whom I also met on my first visit. My brother and our friend felt I had latent artistic abilities and encouraged me to become involved. We got together every weekend for a period of seven years. During the week we prepared images for transfer to zinc, copper plates or linoleum. On Saturdays, we made plates, did research and experimented with various printing techniques (etchings, photo-etchings, aquatints, engravings and linocuts), finally making editions. We would look at our friend’s print collection for inspiration, which included a Rembrandt etching. He also had an excellent reference library of art books. Our prints were well received in galleries on the island and Boston, enough to encourage us to continue. We had fun and learned so much about printmaking during those halcyon days. We were kindred spirits endeavoring to create prints together.

 

Life disruptions ended our printmaking awhile. Our dear friend passed away. I moved to Virginia. Looked forward to printmaking again. My artistic dream was realized a few years ago and now regaining my artistic identity. It is rather daunting to get back into something after such a long absence. Even though separated by distance, I can consult with my brother. Making multi-color prints by hand is a complicated and intricate process. Many parts and steps are involved. I do both etchings and linocuts, which are different types of prints.  Printmaking is a long and arduous path. Art is a lifelong learning experience to me.