Linda Germain lives in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where she works in an old factory she has converted to a print-making studio. Linda concerns herself with experimentation in her practice as well as in her teaching methods. She teaches live and online workshops on gelatin printmaking. Her extraordinary work is playful, fun, and inviting. Linda joined the Assets for Artists program in 2012.
Assets for Artists intern Sara Blumenthal interviews Linda Germain about art, teaching, and living. (This interview is Part 1. Click here for Part 2.)
You believe in experimentation as an artist and as a teacher. Can you tell us a little bit about your practice?
Play is an important part of the process. I approach most of the printmaking process as a playful experimentation. Gelatin Printmaking is perfect for this kind of approach, because it is unpredictable by nature of the materials. Often times it is hard to stop producing prints when my students or I work with the principle of play in mind.
I like to say “if you think it, then try it.” There is very little risk in gelatin printmaking – generally it is just a piece of paper.
I like to provide my students with the mental and physical space to play. Often we are focused on the product, the end result that we miss out on the joy of the trip, the discovery of something new or the power of the moment.
Believe it or not some folks need permission and a special environment to just play without having to perform or produce. I provide that space, the supplies and the opening for play to happen.
What interested you in the Assets for Artists program?
I would like to change my habit of just getting by to a habit that includes planning for the future. A4A alum Margot Stage had told me that the financial training and support was interesting and helpful. I work best and get more accomplished when I have some support and need to be accountable to someone else. A4A is providing that kick in the butt.
When and why did you start holding workshops/teaching others your style? Why do you teach?
I started teaching gelatin printmaking in 2008. I took the long road to teaching art. Here’s the story:
In 1978, I chose to go to law school instead of art school. I did the lawyer thing until 1999. Then I wanted to play in the wilderness, so I moved to Maine and because a ski instructor and white water raft guide.
As fun as that sounds, I was in my mid forties, hangin’ with 20 somethings and it got old after 6 years. This whole time I always had some kind of artistic expression, photography, watercolor, quilting, and collage.
So before I left Maine, I started taking foundation art courses and continued to do so when I got back to Massachusetts.
I teach because I hope to give others the tools to play and put a little passion into the everyday.
What inspired you make a career change to practice printmaking?
A funny thing: Two years in a row, a portfolio reviewer from MassART looked at my work and commented on my mark making skills and thought that I would like printmaking. I had no idea what he was talking about.
So I was lucky to be able to take an Introduction to Printmaking class at Montserrat with David Bligh and I was hooked. I love the element of surprise in monotype printmaking. I love being inspired by the texture of a mesh bag, or the delicate design of a metal plate or the geometric pattern of plastic packaging.
Check out Linda’s’ gelatin printmaking blog and if you are interested in adding a little play to your day then sign up for her free newsletter.
Read part 2 of our interview with Linda as she talks about marketing strategies and legal resources for artists.