Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Drawing and More Drawing

Recently I have been busy drawing, finishing old stuff and starting new ones.  Shortly after taking the photo of this sanguine tree in progress it took a slight turn and looks a little different than what I anticipated.  Soon I will  be posting the finished drawing, so do come back and check it out.
I also worked on this small commission of a baby portrait with a fountain pen.  I must say I surprised myself as to how well it turned out.  Portraits can be hard and to do them with just pen, no pencil under drawing, can definitely make things more difficult.  I accepted the challenge and I'm very happy with it.
Not so long ago I was talking to a friend, and he thought that it would be a great idea to come up with a monochromatic watercolor palette that cold be used for sketching on the go.  He made his own with three or four colors by attaching them to an Altoids tin, I must say he is into something neat.  That left me with the desire to come up with my own set, of course found it hard to stick to just three colors, so I came up with my own watercolor box of twelve earth and neutral colors.
It didn't take long for me to put this new set to use.  I began laying some light gestural washes to get a sketch going.  At first I was not so sure as to what I had done, I thought I had ruined a couple of good pages of my sketchbook.
A day after the paper was completely dry I began doing some pen work on top of the watercolor.  I used some of the color puddle marks to create shapes and connect them.  The mix of the sepia and walnut tones together made sense and I began to envision what the final sketch might look like.
Recently I purchased a set of neutral color pencils that I thought might be a good thing for me to explore.  At first I thought they might be pastel pencils but as began working with them I could tell that they were something else.  There was a silkyness to them, and as I looked closely at the box and dug through all my drawing materials it turned out that they were colored pencils, and I already owned a much larger set which I've had with me since I was in high school.  I have not worked with colored pencils since then, I found them to be unforgiving.  Maybe I was pressing too hard, I may have been using them incorrectly.  This time I'm softly layering the color, letting the pencil barely caress the paper, which is the way I have been drawing in the last ten years.
I loved these pencils so much, especially this warm grey, that I began another drawing.  So far so good...I'm loving this misty effect I'm achieving.  I will be posting soon some of these finished drawings, so please do come back ya hear!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Recent(ish) Monotypes

A Stone Wall, 2018, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I have not done a lot of monotypes in recent months, reason why I consider these prints done in December as recent.  In all transparency, I began this blog post in January and left it as a draft because I was going to go back and edit it…yeah that worked out great.

A Stone Wall, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 8 inches, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I have mentioned in the past that my sketchbook is an important part of my monotype process.  Within the pages of my Moleskine you can see many thumbnail sketches of ideas that I may turn into prints.  Can you recognize the top sketch on the sketchbook page above?  That image is the print(s) at the top of this post…it's interesting to see the original idea next to it's final stage, and to see how different media can effect the feel of the same subject.   

Moonlight Reflection, 2018, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

Nocturnes have been a big part of my monotypes, perhaps because the color of the ink and the process of making these images lend themselves to the creation of dark and moody landscapes.  One of the things I learned long ago from a colleague is that you should never fight your materials, and that advice is wise and true.  

Moonlight Reflection, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 6 x 8 inches, sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

This ghost print came out nicely, it's almost like a foggy moon lit version of the first print.  Sometimes the ghost prints can take on their own personalities and make the same landscape feel like a different image all together.  

The sketch for the nocturne above is the one at the bottom of this sketchbook page.  Sometimes I'm able to replicate the sketches faithfully, sometimes the ink on the copper plate can cause things to change a little from the original idea, again it's all part of the process, you can't fight with your work too much.  They are like children, you can try to guide them as much as you can for them to become what you want them to be but in the end they will turn out as they are meant to.  This nocturne  on the other hand did not give me any problems during its upbringing and came out just as I intended.

Arbolado XVII, 2018, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

I always finish my printing session freestyling on the plate.   No I'm not rapping, I'm just going with the flow and let my hand do it's thing and let one move follow the other naturally.  These type of images area a great way to end my printing nights, especially if I have been working from a sketch.  Trying to follow my drawings and replicate them can add a small level of stress as well as slowing things down.

Arbolado XVII, 2018, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Free flowing allows me to release some of the tension and ends the printing session on a high note.  In the end, art making is supposed to be a happy thing, and this process brings the fun back into it.