Karl Stern is a Painter and Printmaker from Scotland, who we are delighted to welcome as artist in residence at Studio Faire for four weeks.

He has, what appears to be, a rare approach to creating his works of art, initially creating collographic plates, which he then paints into before finishing off during the printing process.

The works themselves are created firstly by drawing with a knife before he paints them using pigments and shellac. The cut surface allows the painting to then be used like a printing plate and this process creates, both a small edition of mono-prints while the ink deposits which remain, finish the work.

Arriving by car meant that Karl was able to bring with him all of the materials he requires for making his work, as well as his bike and he has spent many mornings out and about drawing inspiration from the stunning landscape that surrounds us in the Lot-et-Garonne and Gers regions, which this property borders.

So far, afternoons have been for cutting and scratching, as Karl draws and many an evening, for chatting, sharing music, food and local wine in the gardens here at Studio Faire (Karl cooks up a mean rabbit stew!).

I stayed at Studio Faire for 4 weeks in May/June 2018 to create ‘collographic’ paintings and found the place, Julia and Colin delightful, relaxing and inspiring.

I was given a large bedroom and a huge studio space in which to work. It was a gamble for me as Studio Faire was newly opening but I liked the look of the place and the sort of things Julia and Colin said.

They were very inclusive and inviting during my stay. I was lucky enough to get to know another ‘resident’ who was there from America, for the same period, to work on her choreography. We all had chats about different music, life etc

We shared a kitchen with little hassle and occasionally cooked meals for each other, such was the natural feel of the place, tho I’m sure it would work equally well for those who wanted more time on their own (outside of working/creating/studio time).

I worked most days for a few hours often broken up by a walk into town to coffee or drink or meet friends that I made while there. Both Julia and Colin were excellent at introducing me to people they knew when the opportunity arose and we had 40 people at our (optional) meet the artist session. Well promoted by Studio Faire. My new work wasn’t finished but having come by car I’d brought some of my gift cards and the opportunity was there to sell a few things as well as chatting with visitors about how the work was made.

I loved Nérac and the environs and felt very relaxed. Having brought my bicycle I explored the local countryside in the mornings and found places and things to draw tho several were based on Nérac itself and the people there. I make hand made prints from my work but the printing was done back at home in Edinburgh. It would be possible to do some types of printing in the studio if you didn’t need specialist presses. The work is now ready for a forthcoming Open Studio and a gallery exhibition at the end of September.

I loved being away from my usual environs with the purpose of enjoying my self in a creative frame of mind. Colin and Julia have made a fabulous residency space where they also have their separate places of work for web designing, photography etc. It was an unexpected treat to be photographed by Colin.

I hope to return again and work, as well as catch up with the many delightful people I met there.

Highly recommended.

Images
Top: ”Citania de Briterios”, detail of prehistoric Portuguese village by Karl Stern. Portrait: Karl Stern