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Half Moon Bay artist Laura McHugh will be teaching a class on printmaking and painting in Santa Cruz. Photo courtesy of Laura McHugh


Half Moon Bay resident Laura McHugh will partner with Judy Gittelsohn to present a printmaking and painting workshop that focuses on combining the power of both disciplines. 

Not only is McHugh a mixed-media artist, she is also the District 3 commissioner for the San Mateo County Arts Commission, a group that champions the arts, specifically with an emphasis on outreach and education.  

McHugh intends to leverage the power of the Gelli plate during the workshop. 

“The Gelli plate is a gel-printing plate. It’s a plastic material used for print-making,” said McHugh. “You don’t need a print press.” 

In the workshop, participants will use the Gelli plate to create an abstract impression. 

“We will use stencils or participants can do graphic magazine images that are black and white. Graphically high-contrast images,” she said. “Then you add paint on the plate and transfer it to paper.

“It’s very unpredictable because you don’t know how the paints are going to interact,” she continued. “You don’t know how much fidelity you’re going to get with the images. It’s always sort of a happy surprise.”

The class will take place at the Tannery Arts Center, a historic Santa Cruz landmark that once housed Salz Tannery, the oldest operating leather tannery west of the Mississippi before it was shuttered in 2001. 

While the handcrafted leather industry faded due to cheaper options offered overseas, the Tannery Arts Center opened in 2009 and offers live/work residences as well as working studios.  Some are situated in five of the original buildings that were constructed in the 1800s. 

“They renovated and repurposed into a vibrant artist community,” said McHugh. “We’re really honored to be able to offer this class.” 

The printmaking and painting workshop is a two-day event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 at The Tannery Studio 119, 1050 River St. in Santa Cruz. Cost is $160 for members, $180 for non-members. Bring a lunch as well as three 16-by-20-inch canvases. All other materials are included. For more information, visit

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