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Robert Bateman Keeper Of the Land

Robert Bateman

290 Signed & Numbered Original Lithograph
25" x 33"

Hand Signed by Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman Signature

Robert Bateman - Keeper of the Land Grizzly Bear - Ursus arctos horribilis

" What I notice most in nature is its variety - each square inch in a landscape has its own particular texture and sculptural quality. The grizzly is a landscape-like animal; each part of the animal has different qualities.

It is difficult to talk about this handpulled lithograph in a generic sense as it is so closely connected to what is going on in the Stein River Valley, one of the most beautiful and pristine valleys in British Columbia - probably in all the west coast of North America. The Stein River Valley runs in from the coast of southwest British Columbia to the intersection of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers; all three rivers are rich with salmon. Along the banks of the Stein River are as yet untouched, unspoiled old-growth forests. All kinds of wildlife, including mountain goats, grizzlies and mule deer, live an undisturbed existence there.

The Stein Valley has also been the ancestral headwaters of two Indian bands, the Lytton and the Mount Currie, for thousands of years. Burial caves with pictographs have recently been discovered in the area, so it is a land that is significant and sacred both to the native peoples of British Columbia and to natural history. This sacred place is now slated to be logged. Many people have become concerned about the logging of the Stein Valley. We feel, if it must be logged, that it must be logged carefully. I made this original lithograph to bring attention to the dangers threatening the Stein Valley and its inhabitants.

When I was first planning this original lithograph, I thought a mountain goat would be the most suitable choice of subjects as its white coat would contrast well with the darker background of the piece. I spoke with committee members of the Stein Valley Cultural Centre Project, and my idea was presented to the local native Indian chiefs. The chiefs said, "Oh no, don't let him do a mountain goat; a mountain goat is nothing. Have him do a grizzly because the grizzly bear is the keeper of the land." I said, "Wow, that's great. That's what we should all be - keepers of the land."

What I notice most in nature is its variety - each square inch in a landscape has its own particular
texture and sculptural quality. The grizzly is a landscape-like animal; each part of the animal has different
qualities. I enjoyed showing the play of light and shade in the textures on his face. I chose a close-up
view of the head and shoulders of the grizzly to show the expression of the grizzly's face, he is dignified
yet concerned. We all share the grizzly's responsibility of preserving our habitat. I felt that the piece at
the bottom of this original print was essential as it places the grizzly - the keeper - in his landscape."
Robert Bateman

 Robert Bateman Signature 

Original Lithograph - 27.5" x 37" - 1990 - Keeper of the Land - Robert Bateman



Original Prints - Lithographs 

"The process of original printmaking apeals to me because it is a human process; 
it involves no complex optical equipment other than my own eyes. I believe that
technology often separates us from nature, and I like the idea that my 
original prints are made by hand."
Robert Bateman


Original lithography is an art form ideally suited to the work of Robert Bateman, who appreciates the direct,
hands-on involvement this process affords an artist.Comments Bateman, " In a world steeped in technology, I admire tradition and the old methods. There is a great pleasure in making something by handand in using  skills that are hundreds of years old. "One of the reasons I enjoy printmaking is the broad range of tone and texture the process allows;I am often reminded of the old masters, particularly the etxhings of Rembrandt. I also enjoy drawing directly on the stone. It's 'tooth, 'or texture, gives a solid, warm feeling which brings to mind the ancient seas in which the rare Bavarian limestone was formed."


Since the process of original lithography was first developed in 1798, many great artists have made memorable original lithographs in their own distinctive style. Among them is Robert Bateman, celebrated artist and naturalist known the world over. Artists especially value the lithographic process because it faithfully reproduces their line drawings and brush strokes and offers them great creative freedom. Original lithography produces a wide range of tonal values andtextures. It is a process that requires time as well as the skilled hand of a master printer  working in concert with the artist. Collectors prize original lithographsbecause no two are ever exactly the same. 

This is because an original lithograph in not a reproduction - each is an original and unique work of art. The artist  makes separate drawings, one for each colorto be printed, directly on the working surface (commonly stone or Mylar film ) to create individual plates. An original lithograph must pass through the press onetime for each color it contains. Hand coloring may be added later. Consequently, each original lithograph possesses its own unique characteristics.These Original prints of Robert Bateman bring together a time-honored tradition and a legendary artist - one whose vision is always as original as it is compelling. 





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Keeper of the Land - Robert Bateman

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