rugged northern landscape is dramatically portrayed in relief prints by
Linda Kristin Blix and Heidi Rita Burkhardt.
roots of ancient trees slowly scrambling over rugged moss covered rocks in
search of tenuous footholds in shallow crevices, delicate foliage briefly
flowering in the warmth of spring and summer days, and majestic wildlife
are strikingly illustrated by the two artists.
printing is the oldest and most durable method of making prints, dating
back eleven hundred years to hand printed scrolls made in China. “The
term relief refers to a plate having raised and lowered areas,” explains
Linda who studied at the University of Manitoba School of Fine Arts and
the Ontario College of Art and Design. “The prints on display have been
created using rubber flooring, battleship linoleum, Wonder Cut and
Softolium. Each material has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.”
imagery comes from her fanciful imagination while Heidi’s linoleum
prints are created from sketches, paintings or photographs completed in
the field. “I travel to collect imagery for processing on the spot or
later in the studio,” says Heidi, a retired high school art teacher.
“To translate the image into black and white, it is done on the block
with a broad tip permanent black marker. The broad tip encourages a bold
design. This is what commits the final image to be a powerful expressive
statement suitable to represent the wild Canadian landscape.”
into the linoleum is a slow and demanding process. Hands are stressed and
calluses develop from repetitive actions with knives and gouges.
The cuts create smooth, sharp rhythmic lines that flow with movement and
form organic shapes.
When the raised areas of the block is inked with a brayer, the lower areas
will remain white when the paper is placed on the block and rubbed with a
wooden spoon or put through a press to transfer the ink onto the paper.
“As the image prints in reverse to the carving, the artist must not only
think backwards but in a positive and negative manner,” says Linda.
relief prints that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery present the
ruggedness of the Canadian Shield and its flora and fauna. Although the
style of each artist is individual, there is a harmony between them that
creates a unified exhibition. “Relief prints have characteristics that
can feel uncontrolled, rough, bold and strong,” describes Linda who met
Heidi while both women were teaching for the Scarborough Board of
Education. “This dramatic art-making process perfectly suits the
intense, muscular and richly textured landscape of our northern
Linda and Heidi have making art for as long as they can remember. “I
think after 50 years of work, I feel confident to have reached a level of
competence,” admits Heidi. “That’s how long it takes to get mastery
in anything. I have a favourite quote by Pablo Casals, a Catalan cellist
and conductor. When asked why he still practiced four hours a day at the
age of 94, he said ‘I think I’m making progress.’”
their two-woman exhibition, Linda hopes viewers will gain an appreciation
for the work involved in relief printmaking. Heidi sums up the question by
saying: “Hopefully, my prints will help the viewers to see the way I see
as I drive around the near north and they can delight in rhythmic textures
and dancing lines as much as I do.”
Linda Kristin Blix