AN ARTIST chosen as the star of a festival being held in Ulverston says she can’t wait to come to Cumbria – for the outdoor swimming!

Anita Klein has been chosen as the Printmaker of the Year ahead of the Printfest event in Ulverston, which will involve creating a commissioned piece inspired by the local area.

She studied at both Chelsea School of Art and Slade School of Art, and has exhibited across the world, including at the ICA and the Royal Academy in London.

Born in Sydney in Australia, Anita was 11 when she came to London with her mother and younger sister. She is now British, based in London, but one aspect of her early life endures – a love of outdoor swimming.

She was initially dubious about taking the Printfest role, because she never portrays landscapes. But she heard from her peers what a great event it is, and couldn’t resist the challenge of creating a new body of work.

“Besides it would be churlish to turn down such an invitation. I never do landscapes but being in the Lake District means I can indulge my love of wild swimming,” she said.

“I made a flying visit to Ulverston in September so I could swim in Windermere before the cold weather set in, in preparation for a Printfest print.

“My wild swimming experiences have all been in Italy, Switzerland and Australia before, so I approached the idea of a cold English lake with trepidation. I thought I could always do a paddling print if it was too freezing!

“Actually, once I was in it was glorious, and quite different to other lake swims I’ve done. I even went back the next day and got caught up in a sponsored swim, so managed a kilometre or more.

“Under the water was really black and cold and the surface of the water was silvery and magically reflected the grey sky. Also rain on the water was amazing

“I let the experience settle in a bit before starting some paintings, and finally a print, which I aim to have ready by April for Printfest.”

It is this experience that her lino-print will portray. “Essentially it will be a picture of me swimming, not necessarily looking like me, but rather the feel of it.”

She was back in South Lakes in January to help select the other successful exhibitors and to swim in Coniston Water.

Her time at Slade, in the 1980s coincided with Paula Rego’s period as a lecturer. “She took a liking to my work and thought that I, like her, was essentially a drawer rather than a painter.

“She was incredibly supportive and quite amazingly kind to me, even though we were at different stages of our careers.”

Anita is a fellow and past president of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers (RE) and her work is in many private and public collections in Europe, the USA and Australia, including Arts Council England and the British Museum. She divides her time between studios in London and Anghiari, Italy.

The first edition of the commissioned print Anita creates will be unveiled at Printfest 2020 and will become part of the Printfest Collection. You will be able to purchase editions of the print over the weekend. To find out about the Printfest Print Collection visit

Sally Bamber said: “The joy of this commission is in the exploration of what inspires an artist when they visit the Lake District, being in the landscape, awareness of the large skies, feeling the water, visiting the buildings.

“The figurative and personal aspect of Anita’s work will bring us another perspective, which we are thoroughly looking forward to sharing with our visitors in May 2020.”

Sally said of Anita’s work: “There is vulnerability and joy in observing her work, clearly a documentary of her life in which she portrays those tender times shared with loved ones.

“Anita shows us the simple happiness in life’s small moments such as gathering some flowers, watching the birds nesting, cuddling her grandchild, all of which causes me to reflect on my own life. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of her commission.”

Printfest is dedicated to the exhibition and sale of contemporary hand-made prints and is a rare opportunity for some of the best of the UK’s printmakers to gather under one roof, to share practice and learn from each other.

Printfest offers visitors the experience of purchasing artworks direct from the artists. You get to talk to the artist, hear the story behind the work and find out more about printmaking. The artist also gets to hear why you as a visitor have responded to it.

Printfest, held at the Coronation Hall in Ulverston, runs from April 30 to May 3.