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Drawing Owls on Stones

Elisabeth Sommerville Drawing Owls on Stones

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"Local artist Elisabeth Sommerville practiced the traditional technique of lithography in our studio for over 20 years. Exhibited here are a selection of her careful owl studies." More below

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Meet adorable barn owl Alba on September 13 from 1pm to 3pm outside our Granville Island gallery. Free parking and no crowds. Proceeds from print sales support the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and orphaned raptors.

Local artist Elisabeth Sommerville practiced the traditional technique of lithography in our studio for over 20 years. Exhibited here are a selection of her careful owl studies. Lithography is a laborious printmaking process originally used to draw an image with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level piece of stone. The stone is treated with a mixture of acid and sap, which corrodes the areas of the stone that are not protected by the greasy image. The stone is moistened with a sponge so that the corroded areas retain water. When oil-based ink is applied to the stone, the ink sticks to the image areas and is repelled by the wet areas. The ink is finally transferred to a sheet of paper, producing a printed image. The image is then sanded off the stone for reuse. In order to apply another colour of ink to the paper for a multicolour image, the entire process is repeated.

Sommerville was born in Calgary and graduated from the Alberta College of Art. After moving to Vancouver she established Sommergraphics, an award-winning graphic ­design studio. She became interested in printmaking and studied at the ­University of British Columbia, completing courses in etching, silkscreen and plate lithography. After joining Malaspina Printmakers Society, she found the traditional method of stone lithography was the medium that best complemented her drawing skills. Her Métis heritage may have engendered Sommerville’s close affinity with nature, clearly visible in her hand-drawn lithographs of landscapes, trees and birds. She is concerned about the tenuous position of birds and wildlife whose environment is being encroached upon by human development, but is encouraged by their increasing ability to adapt to life in the city.