Artist to exhibit new series of collagraphs


The Butterfield Garage “Artist of the Month” for July is printmaker Debra Mixon Holliday, who is debuting her new series of collagraphs, “Once Around the Sun.”  An artist talk will be offered at 6 p.m. July 5 during St. Augustine’s First Friday Art Walk. This will provide an opportunity to meet the artist and hear her behind-the-scenes perspective on the printmaking process. 

Her series celebrates and spotlights the native flora and fauna of Northeast Florida. With each image representing a month in the calendar year, the series presents an artist’s interpretation of places and living creatures people can actually encounter here. The artist began the series earlier this year after winning an “Arts for All” grant from the St. Johns Cultural Council.  

Collagraph etching, Mixon Holliday’s chosen medium for the series, is a nontraditional printmaking technique that uses low-tech, low-toxicity materials, such as matboard, to create etching plates. Traditional etching uses metal plates and a number of chemicals that can be avoided with collagraphs.

In her home studio, Mixon Holliday uses an artist’s press to create one-of-a-kind, hand-pulled etchings from the collagraph plates, which she then enhances with watercolor. Winning the Arts for All grant set her on a challenging path to create a large body of collagraph etchings in a much larger format than she had ever made in the past.

In her current work, Mixon Holliday seeks to integrate her experience as an artist and printmaker with a naturalist’s eye for flora and fauna. Sharing with viewers her passion for our native environment, she hopes to open pathways for viewers to connect to the wildness, however small, that can still be found here.

Mixon Holliday feels this low-tech approach is an appropriate way to convey the stories and the specialness of the creatures and the environments upon which they rely.

Mixon Holliday is a life-long resident of Florida, having grown up along the central Gulf coast of the state. As a child, she had free rein to wander her grandparents’ farm and ranch there. Those wanderings began a foundation of watching and observing the flora and fauna of the Southeast that now influence her art.

She holds a BA in visual arts from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and a BA in English from the University of South Florida.

She will demonstrate collagraph printing from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 6, and July 20 at the Butterfield Garage Art Gallery. She will have her portable “baby” press to show how a collagraph print is made.