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Michael Parkes

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Seeking a Michael Parkes sculpture or lithograph?  If you want it, we will get it to you. 
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That Daring Young Frog

That Daring Young Frog
Original stone lithograph in 9 colors, 1986
Signed by the artist and numbered 77/250
Paper and image size: 22 3/4 x 30 3/4"
Available through this site half off the sold-out value of $7,000 framed

$3,500 with archival-quality framing

Detail of That Daring
            Young FrogSignature and edition
            number of this lithographDetail of That Daring
            Young Frog


Original giclee on canvas, 2008
Signed by the artist and numbered from the edition of 120
Image size: 32 1/4 x 39 1/2"
Release price: $1,950
Sold for $2,620 framed
Please inquire about our getting another one for you!

Venus Detail    Venus Detail

A Word from Michael Parkes about “Venus”

Venus is the Roman name for the Greek goddess, Aphrodite.  Generally, Venus is the goddess of love and sensuality. Venus represents the descent of divine feminine energy into the physical world.  The waters of the sea can be seen as the tumultuous emotional body of humanity.  She is the balance for the present distortion of aggression on earth.  Her presence is of calm, knowing, patience, and love.  Her tools are not the swords of the battle field but of beauty and harmony.

I have used the flying figure before in my paintings.  He represents the announcement of a major cosmic event. Here he is announcing a divine being, or consciousness, descending into a physical form to help the earth.  The mask that Venus is holding is the mask of sorrow, confusion, and misery.  Behind the mask, there is the promise of what this feminine energy brings.  Take the symbolism for what it is.  It is not important to understand or even agree with the symbols I use.  What I do want is to offer my art to people to enjoy and enhance their lives with the beauty of color and light.


Click play button above for a You Tube video of Michael Parkes talking about Venus -- now at Saper Galleries

And if you liked that video, check out these:

Painting Techniques at his Studio in Southern Spain, May, 2008
More Painting Techniques
From Ideas to Paintings Part I
From Ideas to Paintings Part II

Michael Parkes book

The Art of Michael Parkes
Hardbound book, 216 pages with over 200 full color images
11 x 12"
In inventory and can be sent to you today for $242.

Michael Parkes

The Artist

Michael Parkes is America's leading Magic Realist painter and printmaker.

Though he studied graphic art and painting at the University of Kansas, his unique style evolved very much in isolation, after a period in which he gave up the practice of art altogether and went off to India in search of philosophical illumination: born in 1944, he was very much of the hippie generation.

Earlier on, he had painted in the generally Abstract Expressionist style normal among his teachers, but after his pause for reflection he began to draw and paint in a meticulous style of detailed representation which would enable him to give full expression to his inner world of images.  The style was in principle realistic, the subject matter magical, and Magic Realism has characterised his work ever since.

He has studied deeply in esoteric doctrine of the East and the West, and his imagery is drawn from a range of wisdoms including the Cabalistic and the Tantric, but embodied in forms from his own imagination which are immediately accessible.

Here strange beasts encounter mysterious winged women, good and evil fight out their immemorial conflict (though who can be perfectly sure which is which?), and in this weightless environment worlds are unmade and remade nearer to the heart's desire.

Even as a student Parkes was fascinated by various graphic processes, and in recent years he has become highly proficient in the difficult medium of the colour stone lithograph.
                -- John Russell Taylor, art critic for The London Times
              (Author of the book: Michael Parkes Stone Lithographs - Bronze Sculptures)


Original stone lithograph in 7 colors, 1992

Signed by the artist and numbered 48/130

Paper and image size: 24 1/2 x 33 3/4"
Sorry, sold

The Lithographs

Michael Parkes began making stone lithographs in the early eighties and regarded it as an extension of his drawing techniques.  Since then he has been making three to four new lithograph editions a year and now the complete collection of his lithographs comprises more than seventy different images.

The artist designs and prints his lithographs in Switzerland.  Although many artists have turned to the easier zinc or aluminium plates, Michael Parkes prefers the use of stones. He considers the 160 million years old Solnhofen stones he uses for his lithographs to be an integral part of the creative process.

The process starts with drawing the image on the stone by using a greasy lithographic pencil.  This usually takes three to 12 days, depending on the size and complexity of the image.  The main challenge is that mistakes cannot be erased.  Small corrections can be made with a sharp knife, but if major corrections are needed, it is necessary to start again on a new stone.

After the basic design is drawn on the stone, the printer becomes involved.  The tradition of master printer is handed down from one generation to the next.  The printers Parkes works with were taught by the master that printed Kokoschka, Giacometti and Leger.  Questions of composition, colour and atmosphere are discussed between printer and artists before printing begins.  The initial drawing only gives a suggestion of what the actual lithograph will become.  The unpredictability of the process means that the original ideas might have to be changed several times to correct mistakes or to take advantage of 'accidents' that look promising.

Now the drawing is on the stone, it needs to be etched onto the surface of the stone to be used for printing.  What makes the lithographic process possible is the principle that oil and water do not mix.  The etch makes the image more receptive to the ink while the stone remains perfectly flat.  But if the stone is not properly prepared and etched the image is either etched away or starts to fill in with the ink after only a short time.

After etching, the colour is mixed to begin printing.  During the printing, which is done on a Heidelberg press built in 1906, the stone must be kept wet at all times.  The ink is controlled in small quantities during printing to maintain a balanced edition.  Even though there are numerous techniques for printing a stone lithograph, the traditional approach is to use one litho stone for each colour.  When printed, the colours and designs are superimposed to complete the finished image.  This technique was created primarily for security the last century when large editions were printed.

Michael Parkes uses quite a different process for printing his work.  His technique is described by some artists as the "suicide run", because it relies on only one stone to produce the total image.  When the basic design is drawn and each new element is added to the stone, a portion of the original drawing is destroyed.  Add to this the fact that when printing on wet paper your time is limited, it becomes clear that this technique is not for everyone.  Parkes' lithographs can use as many as twelve different colours, and so twelve different printings.

Once the edition is printed, it is dried over four or five days.  Parkes signs and numbers each lithograph.  Then, the image on the stone is ground away to prepare it for the next artist.  This guarantees the limited number of the edition.  Some of the stones have been used for over 100 years and still have enough surface for many years to come.  The historical tradition of lithography seems especially clear to Parkes as he works on a stone that has witnessed the passing of time through the work of artists like Whistler, Toulouse Lautrec, Giacometti, Picasso or Wunderlich.  For Michael Parkes the project's end means the journey is beginning once again.

It is our pleasure to offer you from our inventory on display at Saper Galleries, this and other works by Michael Parkes!
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