Elizabeth Blackadder (1931 – 2021)
Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk, Scotland and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. In 1954 she was awarded a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship and travelled round Southern Europe; another award the following year enabled a prolonged visit to Italy. She had her first solo exhibition at 57 Gallery, Edinburgh in 1959. She was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1971, and a full member in 1976. In 2001 she was appointed Her Majesty’s Painter and Limner in Scotland. Although she has worked in stain glass, lithography and tapestries, she is best known for her delicately wrought watercolours of flowers, cats and domestic objects.
Lithography means, literally, stone drawing. In addition to fine grain lithographic stones, metal plates can also be used for lithography. The method relies on the fact that grease repels water. An image is drawn in a greasy medium onto the stone or plate, which is then dampened with water. Greasy printing ink rolled onto that surface will adhere to the design but be repelled by the damp area. The inked image is transferred to the paper via a press. For large editions, the grease is chemically fixed to the stone, and gum arabic, which repels any further grease marks but does not repel water, is applied to the rest of the surface. For colour lithography the artist uses a separate stone or plate for each colour required.