Location: St. John's

Caroline Clarke’s Printmaking Magic

Caroline Clarke’s Printmaking Magic

One of the things I have noticed on our journey to the smaller and the smallest communities of Canada is that people have a devoted connection to the place where they grew up. This is probably why many of these places still exist today. Newfoundland and Labrador is a great example of one province, one community. Although the island is a giant rock, people’s roots grow deep and stretch far.

St. John’s Waltz

This feeling of commitment to community was one of the things I really noticed I had missed growing up in the west and even still today. When we met Caroline Clarke, this was one of the first points she brought up and why 12 years earlier, her and her husband decided to dig up their shallow roots in BC to become permanent residents of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Caroline is in love with the arts. She has had a lifelong bond to music and the visual arts since she was a girl. Her father played the accordion and her mother was a painter, and although the arts were important in their life, it wasn’t something they considered to be a good career choice for Caroline. As it turns out, she found she could have the best of both worlds. Caroline is a graphic designer by day and works on her visual art and music the rest of the time. This is her lifestyle.

Come I Will Sing You

Recently, Caroline married her two loves in a collaborative effort with her friends. She asked the people she shares music with what their favorite Newfoundland song is and she integrated those songs into a glorious print representing her community circle on their Tuesday night jam sessions. Her prints are about relationships and the people who helped her find her home and set deep roots. These folks are the inspiration that tunes in her creative channel.

Caroline practises the oldest form of printmaking. Pretty much any surface that you can carve an image or design into can be used to create a print. Even an orange could be used, although it wouldn’t go through the press very well! In this case, linoleum is her substrate and she is grateful to have an endless supply of lino from the local flooring store. The skill in printmaking comes from thinking backwards. The image you want to capture on paper is the part that is carved away. The negative space will actually become the positive space for the finished print. Preparing the surface for printing is in itself an art. I wondered why she wouldn’t just paint her images instead of going through what seems like a lot of trouble. Caroline said she used to paint but found that it never quenched her creativity like printmaking did. She loves to work with her hands and she was always attracted to posters, so printmaking was the better match.

LIno cut printmaking

I love Caroline’s style. She draws you a story of people and the simple joys in life that we never seem to get enough of. When I look at her printed artwork it makes me feel good. It is something you can hang on the wall and smile each time you look at it. The characters are boldly outlined which makes the story even more vivid, and their personalities come to life with the hand tinted colouring she does; personal to each one. I think the care and attention Caroline puts into her artwork and her music is a testament to her friendship and the community she holds close to her heart.

Click on the thumbnails below and be even more amazed!