Friday, December 30, 2016

Scaling Up the Monotypes

Along North San Carlos Trail Head, 2016, monotype, image 10 x 8 inches, paper 15 x 11 inches 

Recently I have been thinking of making bigger prints, but perhaps the biggest push is coming from my friend, and fellow painter/printmaker Rob.  What will happen if I'm put in front of a big plate and go at it?  I have yet to work with a big plate but slowly I'm moving in that direction.  These two prints are 8x10 images, so far that's the biggest I've gotten with these.  I think this format works well for me, the prints are a little bigger but they still retain a level of intimacy which has been the main focus of most of my work through the years. 
Cold Spring Woods, 2016, monotype, image 10 x 8 inches, paper 13 x 10 inches

I work small because I think it works best for me and because I'm a firm believer that art doesn't have to be big to be taken seriously.  Some of the most beautiful works of art in the history of mankind have been on the smaller scale.  There's too much crap out there that gets attention because it's big and flashy, this doesn't mean that it's any good, or that the attention it's receiving is a good thing.  In the end the work has to have an element of surprise every time you look at it, which is not to be confused with shock value.  Once people get the gimmick, or formula, it doesn't matter how large the work is, in the end it still fails to be transcendent.    

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Monotype Madness

Tuscan Landscape II, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 9 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

On December 10 I attended Salmagundi's All Day Monotype Madness, a mini monotype marathon that happens every so often on top of the monthly monotype parties.  As usual I go in with certain goals, I always have to take advantage of my time and the press while attending these parties.  A printmaker without a press, that's a funny idea, but that is my current position and I have to make the best of it.  This is why when I'm working I tend to sit in a corner, not getting involved in too many conversations, I have blinders on and I work on multiple plates at the same time so that I don't waste time standing in line at the press.  I may seem antisocial at these parties, detached perhaps, but it doesn't mean that I'm not paying attention to what is being said or who's around.
Tuscan Landscape II, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 9 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

Since Feb. 11, 2014, I have been attending the monthly monotype parties at Salmagundi, and through the years I have met some nice people, talented artists who serve as inspiration.  It's easy to forget sometimes about the historical importance these parties, but from time to time you are reminded and it feels good to be a part of it.
Dead Tree, monotype, image 9 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

From 1888 to 1929 members of the club would meet on a regular basis  to have dinner, and once the plates were cleared from the tables different kind of plates were brought out.  Zinc and copper plates were handed out to those present and they would all get to work by inking the plates and creating images, some of which now form part of a monotype collection which hangs all around the walls of the club's bar.
Dead Tree, 2016, monotype (ghost print), image 9 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

Not much has changed since those days, the sound of chatter and dinner plates fill the downstairs rooms where the parties take place.  After searching the club's archives, Robert Pillsbury, now the 50th president of the Salmagundi club, brought back the monotype parties about six years ago.  Now once a month members of all ages meet in the downstairs bar and pool tables area and let the press crank all night.  
Three Trees, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

If you are interested in reading a little more about Salmagundi's monotype parties and the folks who attend them, check out this article by the Epoch Times.
Three Trees, 2016, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

Storm Clouds Over a Field, 2016, monotype, image 4 x 6 inches, paper 6 x 8 inches 

Storm Clouds Over a Field, 2016, monotype (ghost print) 

Breaking Clouds, 2016, monotype, image 5 x 7 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches