L Linda Roberts has a rare ability to be a fine artist in SO MANY mediums, she brings joy to an eclectic following. Her paintings, sculptures, ceramics, papier-mâché and mannequins tantalize the visual senses and complement any expressive need.
The first time I saw Linda Robert’s prints, I felt joy as if seeing something magical, childlike and amazing. After a few minutes, I understood the familiarity that pulled me in; they combined my love for travelling, fascination of symbolism, Byzantine architecture and the fairytales I grew up with – traditional folklore inspired by Slavic myths, Asian influences and northern traditional poetry.
Moreover, her work reminded me of a famous Russian illustrator and theater stage designer, Ivan Bilibin. He was the consummate storyteller and a master of composition. I could spend hours going through his drawings.
But no matter what I personally saw in Linda’s art, it will touch you as well – probably on a different level. It was not a surprise to me when she said her prints are perfect for kids’ rooms and travel-lover’s homes and businesses.
I first felt inspired by printmaking the year I spent teaching English as a Second Language in Ashiya, Japan. I had just graduated from the University of Georgia with a major in journalism and my former college roommate and I left that summer to teach abroad. It was a magical year full of wonder and respect for the Japanese culture encompassing music, dance, theater, and the arts.
Here I was introduced to ukiyo-e, a genre of woodblock prints, meaning “pictures of the floating world ” exemplifying characteristics of Pre-Meiji Japanese art. I was fascinated by the stories told by the prints of scenes from history and folktales, travel scenes and landscapes, flora, and erotica. I loved the patterns, the banquet of bold and subtle color, and super draftsmanship. I had several woodblock prints mailed to my family’s home in Virginia. Later, I brought one of my favorite The Tales of Genji based on stories of an 11th century classic of world literature where it hangs in my living room in Tampa, Fl. This is where my interest in printmaking took birth.
I have always been fascinated by the ideas represented by symbols and the meaning behind shapes, color, line, and forms. Symbols express psychological truths and when these images are transferred to printmaking they embody the narratives to our visions and dreams and give them form.
Some concepts have a large number of symbols suggesting their importance to earlier societies. Symbols give ordinary things a larger dimension, often a spiritual one, and express concepts such as fertility, love, protection, power, immortality, and rebirth being the focus of many cultures throughout the world. An example of a symbol would be the lion representing courage which was woven into the whole fabric of society through myth, legend, ritual, and architectural costume decoration. I use animal symbols quite frequently in my monotype print such as the dragon which has several different meaning across cultures.
In fairytales slaying the dragon is a test of a hero’s strength but in East Asia which is the setting for this motif in my prints it represents happiness, immortality, and to ward off evil spirits. The rabbit, another symbol, I use is linked to good fortune and the moon plus a plethora of other emotions often showing up in dream-like states in my prints.
I use the bird quite often for it represents the human desire to break free and to attain a higher sphere. Throughout mythology and fairy tales they have mostly a positive association.
I get my inspiration for my prints through travel for many of my prints are based on countries I have visited in my life and some of these prints now reside in travel management businesses. For example, one offour of my prints being sold by Bella Unica represent my travels to these countries tiled the “Chinese Holiday”, “Flight and Imagination” (taking place in Russia), “Istanbul”, and “Gaudi’s Spain” where the motifs illustrate my visual stories. My iconography is inspired by the architecture, colors, sounds, and culture.
Gaudi’s Spain by Linda Roberts
I am also influenced by universal themes such as love and fertility which is illustrated in my print, “You, Love, and I” as well as topics of faith, hope, joy, strength, courage, and immortality. Fairytales and folklore have a strong influence on my visual language shown in my prints online titled “Delight and “Wonder” and “Fantasia.” Creativity reigns supreme in the monotype print “The Artist”.
The Artist by Linda Roberts
A monotype print is a unique process in which you can use a combination of printmaking techniques. This process results in a one of a kind print that is developed on a flat plate with oil or water based mediums and then transferred to paper.
In a press transfer, the plate and paper are placed on the press balanced and mechanically moved under rollers to produce a print. In the nine prints in this series I used the subtractive technique. First, I drew my design on paper which I later transferred onto plexiglass. The paper was dampened before running it through the press which I did three times using a different color each time.- example would be graphic chemical process red, yellow, and blue. Each time the plate was totally covered with one color with a rubber brayer and with Q-tips I would remove the ink where I did not want it. Each time the plate was completely cleaned with alcohol and then a new color was applied with a rubber brayer.
Each time color was meticulously removed from the plate. Each time the paper had to be aligned with the plate to get the correct registration. After running the paper though the press the third time secondary colors such as green would appear if that was the intention. The earliest made monotypes were made by Italian printmaker Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. These date back to 1640. Later, Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin would use this process.