Capturing nature via collagraphy

Aug 30, 2014
Printmaker Kathleen Walsh Buchanan uses a biologist's eye to create her images of the natural world. Pictured is “Island Flocks.”

Rockland — Printmaker Kathleen Walsh Buchanan will exhibit her collagraphs at the Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery, 386 Main St., beginning Friday, Sept. 5, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

“At Water's Edge” includes several large collagraph prints (upwards of three feet) made specifically for this solo show, as well as the smaller sizes Buchanan has been making for the past 15 years. The term collagraph refers to a collage board where the materials are assembled on a flat base or plate to form a relief block with different surface levels and textures. Collagraph plates are created by sticking and gluing materials such as textured paper onto the plate and then coating it with varnish or acrylic medium afterwards to protect the materials as they are passed through the press. More about Buchanan's specific printing process can be found on her website, Grey Seal Press.

Buchanan's background in biology strongly influences her art and subject matter as sea birds and coastal landscapes appear commonly in her pieces. While completing her master's degree in wildlife biology at the University of Alaska, she decided to nurture her artistic side by returning to printmaking.

"I look at biology and art as two dialects in the same language, different ways to communicate what you have learned about the nature of things, about the truth of your experience," she said.

A resident of the Midcoast, Buchanan is constantly inspired by where she lives. Her connection to the natural world, her role as a mother and her own sense of self all find expression in her images, she said.

“Collagraph printing, with all its intricacy and subtlety, is a fascinating medium to use in the communication of these ideas," she said.

“At Water's Edge” will run through Oct. 31. To view an image gallery, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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