Wednesday, April 26, 2017

March at The Grand Army

Sunday printing at The Grand Army NYC happens about once a month and it is the best time between friends and artists who respect and admire each other.  Not to mention that the intimate setting, Rob's home and studio, can some times lead to shenanigans that will not be revealed in this blog.  We feed into each other's insanity, all while creating a body of work that will hopefully have a dialogue across the different styles of each individual.  So what is The Grand Army?  Initially it was born out of a need to run some monotype prints in a more relaxed and private setting.  Two friends, Rob and I, who found a mutual obsession and we wanted to start a tight group that would also enjoy the monotype process.  I would hate to use the word society but that is the idea.   
Access to a bigger press with no time restraints has been a God sent.  I have been able to work on larger plates, 12x18 inches copper plates to be exact, and this has brought in a new kind of freedom to my monotypes.  Above is an image of a larger plate ready to go under the press. 
Two in a Row, 2017, momotype, image 18 x 12 inches, sheet 23 x 17 inches, Private Collection 

This is the printed image, a bit greyer than I expected.  I have been running into a small problem that my black ink has been setting faster than it should and it is not transferring to the paper.  It is not a press issue that I am sure.  Although I add burnt plate oil to the ink mixture it still seems to dry on the plate, especially the dark areas which I leave untouched.  I'm not sure how to correct this problem, but if any of you print makers with more experience have any suggestions please be kind to let me know as to what I'm doing wrong.  I still have a good amount of ink left in the tube but I can feel that it is getting stiffer each week, and I think this is why it is not transferring over to the paper.  
My friend Ashley, a sculptor who lately has been working on large scale drawings, gave monotype a go and has fallen in love with the process.  Come back soon you hear Asheley!
A Tuscan Villa, 2017, monotype, image 10 x 8 inches, sheet 13 x 11 inches 

A Tuscan Villa, monotype (ghost print), image 10 x 8 inches, sheet 13 x 11 inches 

Here's another plate almost ready for printing.  Recently I have been working with 8x10 and 12x18 plates which are bigger than what I'm used to, but the biggest change is that I have not been using any reference sketches for these.  I come up with the images on the spot, which can be an exciting, challenging, and scary all at the same time. 
A Walk Through the Park, 2017, monotype, image 10 x 8 inches, sheet 13 x 11 inches

This print came out well, all the dark areas printed how I wanted them...success!
While Ashley and I were working on our plates, Rob was on the other side of his studio drawing and painting into his monotypes.  His process becomes more involved and painterly after he runs his prints. 
In the video above Rob is running Ashley's first print...a moment that can't really be described, you just have to look at her face and it says it all!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

February Monotypes

Tranquilidad Campestre, 2017, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

 These are some of the most recent monotypes I've done.  This group was actually created in one long night at Salmagundi Club's 2017 Draw-A-Thon, which ran from Friday Feb. 24, 9pm - Saturday Feb. 25, 6am.
Water's Edge, 2017, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

There are always a number of challenges when making any sort of art, and in this case you add the factor of sleep deprivation, which can affect your judgement.  To my luck my lack of sleep didn't affect my prints and I did not end up with kooky images.  Although I'm sure some may have enjoyed a little bit of strangeness in my landscapes.  
Paisaje Bucolico, Irlanda, 2017, monotype, image 12 x 18 inches, sheet 17 x 23 inches

This was also the night when I decided to go big!  This 12 x 18  print was definitely fun to make, something about the size allowed me to flow better.  I can say that I'm hooked on working this big.  
Arboles y Pradera, 2017, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

On these all night drawing/printing parties the goal is to make six prints, if not more.  To my relieve I have been able to cut my time down on most of these, almost one hour per plate.  On the larger prints a little bit of more time is required, but that is expected. 
Untitled, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 10 inches, sheet 11 x 13 inches 

There are times when prints are successful, and times when they are not.  Sometimes things are not as obvious on the plate, and you are made aware of necessary changes after it has been printed, which is too late by then.  Such is the case with this print.  There are some things I could have done better but there's nothing I can do about it now.  Although I beat myself down for this, it seems like this was a favorite of some people on Facebook.  Go figure!
Gathering on a Hill, 2017, monotype, image 10 x 8 inches, sheet 13 x 11 inches 

I usually work from drawings in my sketchbook; imaginary landscapes done with pen as I commute in the subway.  Then there are cases when I don't have an image in mind and just start whipping ink away and let the marks lead the way.  This print is one of those done on the spot and in one hour.  I've come to like these better, there's something more organic about them,  there is more movement, and I think that in any artwork is great.  More prints to come!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January Monotypes

Arbolado XIII, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, paper 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

These three prints are the most recent of my monotypes, all created at Salamagundi's Monotype Party of January 5.  As with all of my prints, I'm always proud and happy with the outcome, but this group of three perhaps more so.  I'm starting to see growth in the execution, and I'm beginning to see my admiration for the Tonalists come through.  Perhaps this is why people have been responding positively to this body of work, they always reference the moody and mysterious qualities of these landscapes.    
Menacing Sky, 2017, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

At first I was uneasy to hear the praise of these prints over my paintings.  It was upsetting to hear that the work that I was doing prior to the monotypes was not as good, and as a painter, it hurt to hear people say "I like your monotypes better."  I may as well just put away my brushes and not touch a canvas again.  It doesn't bother me as much anymore, I've learned to accept it and in the end I can see what everyone's been seeing. 
Moonrise, 2017, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

I'm not giving up on painting though, I just have to approach it differently with what I've learned with printing.  It's strange having this dual personality though, because when I paint I love to see color, things are brighter; but the monotypes are what they are, black ink that can only be seen as dark silhouettes on a dark day.