As a creature of habit, trying new things can be frightening. Doubts, fear, and nerves always taking over whenever I embark on a new project. Regardless of my unease change is needed to aid growth. At some point you have to try something new to get you to the next level, and I found that change in Monotype printing.
I had tried Monotype printing in college, during a time when I was very interested in painterly aesthetics, and was told that this type of printing lent itself to that. I soon learned why out of all printmaking techniques this was the favorite of painters. The process was shorter and the outcome more immediate.
(Touching up a monotype after printing)
Years have passed after that one semester at the Hartford Art School, to be honest I forgot about that short period of time when I experimented with Monotype printing. Then, early last year it all came back after attending my first Monotype party at the Salmagundi Club. At the moment I was hungry for something different and was also in need of a little socializing among other artist while making art in the same space.
On my first night excitement and nerves were all there as I looked at this zinc plate cover in black ink. What happens now? My first experience with Monotype years ago was more of an additive process. It was easy to lay down colors to create abstract compositions that created a dialogue with the large abstract paintings I was working on at the time. But the subtractive process of Monotype was new to me. What sort of image could I come up with in this little 5 x 7 inch plate?
Looking through my sketchbook for ideas I came across a drawing of a moonlit landscape, an idea I had for a series of small 9x12 paintings. It seemed like the perfect image for this type of technique, and so I began to take away ink with q-tips, creating clouds and and moon as I revealed the reflective surface of the zinc plate. It was quite magical to see an image come to live by taking away ink. Even more so after the plate was put through the press and the paper pulled away form it to reveal a print.
From that night I have been hooked, and once a month I go back to the Salmagundi Monotype Parties to take away ink from a plate and put it under the drum of the press. Every time a new print surfaces I want to do more.
I think I have a found a new passion, one that it's very different from painting, but also one that will help the creation of my works on canvas. It will be nice to see both paintings and prints next to each other and see how they talk to each other.
Images of my Monotype prints coming in the near future. Stayed tuned!
For more images on past Salmagundi Monotype parties, and other events, please visit The Salmagundian.
Pumpkin Patch, 2014-15, oil on linen, 13 x 18 inches
It has been a few slow months of painting, that's the reason why this blog has been unattended for so long, but I am happy to share with you my most recent painting. I started work on this landscape over five months ago, at the time I was trying to get my juices going one late night when the painting I was working on was not coming out the way I wanted. To get my mind off that sort of thing I start new paintings, laying in loose brown and grey paint, not so much in hopes that it would turn out to be a great piece, but more as an exercise to help me loosen up. In this case, that late night exercise turned out to be a painting I enjoyed working on, and that I'm proud of.
Paint application on this painting is different than in my past work. This landscape focuses on build up of scumbled layers, creating optical textures I have not seen in my previous paintings. In addition to the layers of paint, the mood and color choices are very different than most of the landscapes I have painting, where the color green is more prominent. In this overcast day type of painting I wanted to focus on more neutral tones, represented by the texture and color of grass as it begins to dry out when cold weather approaches.
Now that this painting is done I can focus on the larger landscape of Ireland sitting on my easel. Maybe, in no more than two weeks, that painting will be finished as well.
"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision-it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so."
- Charles W. Hawthorne -
"One of the functions of art is to remind us of common humanity. The artist, like the priest, can sometimes remind us that we are bound by an obligation to one another stronger and more lasting than the bonds of politics or economics."
- John Manchip White, Diego Velazquez: Painter and Courtier -
"To defend an artist as original says little about his work except that it is in some way different from what preceded it. As such, originality itself is rarely a strong defense, for it is born more of admiration for audacity and perseverance than necessarily of understanding." - James H. Rubin, Manet's Silence and the Poetics of Bouquets -