St Bernard's Well
By Alfons Bytautas

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Year
1992
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Urban and Architectural
Reg. Number
P298
Size
77 x 55 cm

This etching depicts St Bernard's Well in Edinburgh, a landmark from Edinburgh's Water of Leith. It is one of 19 prints from the Edinburgh Suite folio produced December 1992 by Edinburgh Printmakers.

In this composition the building is placed off centre, drawn from the perspective of someone looking up into the open pillared dome. The quality of the draughtsmanship shows the textures of stone, thin cloud cover and tree foliage.

Alfons' imagery is deeply rooted in landscape, particularly in the landscape of the Borders. He is also an illustrator of various books of verse.

On his YouTube videos, Alfons Bytautas is seen demonstrating two processes; etching and photopolymer. He innovated the latter technique, radically reducing the need to use hazardous chemicals.

In addition to etching, silkscreen and lithography he produces paintings using casein tempera, gouache, and collage. His recent work is more abstract such as a series of diary prints for an exhibition called 'Lost Time'.

In an interview for Peel Magazine he says '...particular materials have sensual qualities that can act on the imagination by their look, feel and smell. The sweet sharp odour of pure turpentine always conjures up memories of being student at Edinburgh College of Art. The fragrant smell of melting beeswax that emanates when preparing an etching plate is also curiously evocative for me... Paper is hugely important to me and I hoard paper of all kinds. Ostensibly I buy paper for drawing and painting or for printmaking but secretly I buy it because it is such a sensual desirable object in itself. Though I do hope that I will get around to using all the paper I bought over the years before I finally depart from this earth.'

Alfons Bytautas was born in Selkirk in 1955. He trained at Edinburgh College of Art. In 1979 he became an etching technician at Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop. In 1983 studied at Atelier 17 in Paris under S.W. Hayter. Alfons has also lectured in printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art. He has exhibited widely throughout Scotland. His artwork is in many collections including Edinburgh College of Art; Leeds City Art Gallery; SAC, Borders General Hospital; National Library and City Art Centre


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