Sunday, November 20, 2016

Recent Monotypes, Part 2

Arbolado XIII, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

As promised on my last blog post, here are the last prints of my Arbolado series plus a couple more.  I have not done any printing in a month, and to be honest I think I'm starting to go through withdrawals.  Good thing is that I've been keeping myself busy painting, while the gears are turning in my ever running mind about the next few projects I want to start.  It never ends but that's the beauty of it all, I have plenty of reasons to keep waking up every morning, and the great thing is that even though the world is turing to shit I still have my talent, something that no one can ever take away.  So as people collide, nations crumble, and the world decays, I feel good knowing that I wake up every day to add something positive to this planet.  That's my purpose in life.      
Arbolado IX2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Arbolado X2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Arbolado XI2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches

 Arbolado XII2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Young Tree, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 9 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Prospect Park, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 10 inches, paper 9 x 11 inches

Friday, November 11, 2016

Recent Monotypes

Arbolado III, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

I present to you some of my recent monotypes, this group forms part of a series of prints I talked about in a previous post.  The Arbolado series is a group of prints representing walls or groupings of trees which are very close to the foreground.  These clusters of trees take up most of the space, creating a darker, more mysterious space than other imagery I've worked with.   
Arbolado IV, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

The biggest challenge of this group was to keep them spontaneous, not relying on any other image previously made, like a photo or sketch.  These are all made up on the spot, letting the ink on the plate dictate some of the shapes.  Sometimes when rolling ink on the copper or zinc plate I would see certain compositions arise and I would leave those areas alone, not covering them completely so that I could be able to go back to them and carve out the image.  
Arbolado V, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

The original goal was to make a series with a minimum of ten prints, but the final count was open, and perhaps it still is.  So far I've created twelve of these prints, I think this is a good stopping point because I don't want them to start becoming repetitive. 
Arbolado VI, 2016, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

I have been thinking about why I decided to work on this series.  The way I arrived at it was out of chance when in a monotype marathon party I was pressed (no pun intended) for time to get the last image done for the night.  In a matter of fifteen minutes I came up with the first Arbolado and at that moment something clicked.   
Arbolado VI, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

The approach was simple yet challenging, and yes very fun.  The spontaneity of it was what attracted me most, but what about the images?  I was drawn to them and as I kept thinking about it some more I remembered that while at the Hartford Art School,  Eric Holzman exhibited a group of large landscape paintings in the school's gallery.  I was mesmerized by them, not only by their size but because they were dark, mysterious, and beautiful.  His paintings of large singular dark trees with moody skies behind them, had an effect on me, I still think about them constantly and I think that this series was a way of externalizing my feelings towards his work.  
Arbolado VII, 2016, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

The world can be a small funny place, and these days, through work, I have constant direct contact with Eric.  Even though I was intrigued by his work years ago, I failed to take note of his name but I never forgot those paintings.  I always kept on a look out for them, I wanted to find out who he was.  Over ten years later while at work, one of my colleagues had an artist's website up on the computer, and I was elated to find out it was the same man who had show his work at the Hartford Art School.  The man was a client of ours, someone I had talked to many times but never knew he was the artist who's paintings never left my mind.  Weeks later when Eric visited our shop I spoke to him and confirmed that yes those were his paintings I saw years ago.  I guess these are an ode to him, and to Eric I want to say thank you for the inspiration.   
Arbolado VII, 2016, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 1/2 x 8 inches 

More of this series to come in a future post, come back soon and check them out. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Two Paintings from Summer

I'm back!  Actually I never did leave, I just stopped paying attention to the blog because Instagram has taken over my social media.  But once in a while I do need to post in this blog to be able to explain more about the process and progress of recent projects.  Such is the case about a color I recently added to my palette and I don't know how I lived without it before.  This summer while painting in Prospect Park, my friend Charles shared some of his Chrome Yellow Primrose paint.  I've known that this is a historical color highly used in the nineteenth century, and slowly it's use declined due to the introduction of Cadmium paints.  Due to it's precious status I was never inclined to use it, but Charles placed a big dollop on my palette and my life was changed!     
It was perfect timing since during those weeks we were painting around Prospect Park Lake, which was covered in one section with a bright green-yellow plant call Floating Water Primrose...coincidence or fate?  With Chrome Yellow I was able to achieve a bright green yellow mixture, but one that was not as acidic as a Cadmium mixture.  Cadmiums most of the time can be hard to work with because they can be too intense, and trying to tone down that intensity without effecting the clarity of the color can be very tricky.  With Chrome Yellow I was able to get the desired brightness but without the unnatural acidic effect of a Cadmium Yellow.   
Floating Water Primrose, Prospect Park Lake, 2016, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches 

Chrome Yellow aside, there was another change happening starting with these two paintings, and that is the full use of hog bristle brushes.  It's been years since I've used bristle, but I think using sable brushes have caused me to become too detailed, and that's not good when painting in plein air because it takes too long to finish a painting.  Most of the time I don't finish the paintings in that first session.  Using bristle on these two paintings allowed me to be more free with paint and it also brought some much needed texture to my work.
Floating Water Primrose, Prospect Park Lake No. 2, 2016, oil on linen, 10 x 15 inches

Here they are, the last two paintings of summer, at least the ones painted in NYC.  Six plein air paintings from Bali coming to this blog very soon, stay tuned!