Black Shadow Self Portrait - The Garden (Taken with Instagram)
Started working on a new series of monotypes tonight. I felt like playing around with the idea of 3 trees. I am working of a very small scale - about 21cm x 18 cm (half an A4). The first few were a frantic paced exercise to attack the surface and break the anxiety of staring at a blank surface for too long. It’s a great way to put down marks without too much thinking or fear. Preciousness needs to be pushed away from the session.
The smaller scale is always hard to negotiate at first. The big brush comes out and I realise that it needs the touch of a smaller brush to define the subject of the tree or landscape. It was what I decided on and the next few monotypes started to emerge as speaking a language I could relate to tonight. More energy, more confidence and a new world created.
I think the tree is a subject that I’m attracted to. I seem to depict it in some form over and over again. What does it mean to me ? I don’t think I can answer that tonight. Let’s leave that for another time. Im happy with the small scale as long as the monotypes are as bold and energetic as the large scale works 50cm x 70cm. I think they are so far. These works tonight are definitely monotypes. I purposely wiped any after image or ghost ink from the Perspex plate. I consciously want to reinvent tonight and not be influenced by the residue of the subject. In saying that, I did rub the ink around the plate, but not wipe it clean completely. With the wiped plate, I picked out shapes I could see and used that to guide the brushing of the ink. That’s how the trees were formed.
I think this may become a major series. 3 trees. It may be the beginning of an abstract style of work. I’m not sure yet. I know that I need to merge my paintings closer to the monotypes. Perhaps use much less color and focus on the subject at hand.
The Importance of Shadows
When you observe a painting, your eyes will just naturally go to the lightest area, but the painting becomes more interesting as you look within the dark areas, the shaded areas. The lights and shadows become a push-me pull-me competing with one another. If the artist manipulates this properly, it is entertaining. This is an artist’s true purpose-to entertain. Here are a few tips to remember:
Light defines shadow
Without shadows, light becomes an irritating brightness
There is no accuracy without shadows
Shadows can be subtle
Shadows can be stark
Shadows can hide interesting things within them
Shadows can influence hues adjacent to them (reflective shadows)
Getting shadows painted correctly can sometimes be the most frustrating exercise an artist can endure. They artwork can be very disappointing if not portrayed correctly.
Art Tutorial with Pauline Leonard.
This was a great opportunity for her and myself I must say, to introduce her to this great printmaking technique. For me, it was a chance to demonstrate to another artist exactly what I do and pass on valuable information from years of experience.
I started first off by demonstrating how I make a monotype and asked Pauline to just watch and observe what I was doing. Whilst working away, I would add comments and explain the various stages of the process. Once I was finished and produced a couple of test prints; displaying various applications of ink and modes of viscosity, it was Pauline’s turn to have a go.
She was on the ball and picked it up so quickly ! Great to see her experiment with different size brushes and pushing the ink around with confidence. The challenging part was to know how much ink to put on by brush and how much to dab or wipe away from the surface.
Also a good lesson learnt for Pauline was to see blobs of ink around the edges of the print which she forgot to wipe or clean off the perspex plate, before printing with the clean paper. I always find it annoying when it happens to me !
In all, it was a fun afternoon. I hope Pauline continues to explore what she learnt today. As i explained to her, monoprinting can be a great way to explore an image and get ideas down fast if you wish. It’s a process that once it begins, it generates more creativity. It is also great to do at home and you don’t have to use toxic inks or solvents. Methylated is my preferred cleaning solution, but water is all you really need.
I have added some pics from our session below showing some stages in the process.
This image is just so good ! I can’t take my eyes off it. It just conjures up memories of being exhausted from life to me. I often would stare at the clouds and relax my mind. But this image is so wonderful to be able to express it as if the woman is exercising a bad force. Good art !
SSD 1, oil over monotype on paper, private collection
Tom Bennett is an artist who makes unique monotypes and then paints over the image in oil paints. A great example of the versatility of the medium as a creative vehicle to explore image making. His work is really inspiring and has a darkish edge to it. Many wonderful examples on his blog. Great artist to watch and follow.
This recent work was inspired by life drawing. I did a life drawing class a couple of years ago, and had lots of sketches from that great session. These drawings were very spontaneous and done in charcoal on very cheap cardboard paper which I had lying around the studio.
The model was great and I had lots of quick, very loose sketches of the model changing pose very frequently .
The model was a woman, but in in the inspired Monoprints, you may see I have given the figure a manly look. It’s just me creating and inventing as I go.
The drawings are a point of departure, and the monoprints are me in full flight. Once I created the Monoprints, I destroyed the drawings.
The new series is titled “Figure Apparitions”. (anything that appears, especially something remarkable or startling. Also an act of appearing or being visible; manifestation.)
Rod Jones article
“For me it took awhile to understand that I actually had dyslexia primarily because I just didn’t know what was going on. At first I thought everyone thought this way, and then as my life evolved I realized that my thinking wasn’t always in sync with those around me. I’ve always had a phenomenal memory but now I realize that memory is all about having photographs of your experiences in my mental filing cabinet. I spent a good part of my life as a commercial photographer. Dyslexics are amazing problem solvers and anyone who has ever executed a complicated shoot rather it be still or video knows that you are constantly solving the issues of compatibility between all of the elements so you end up with a cohesive interpretation. When I shifted to brush art I made a conscientious effort, albeit not an easy one, to create art that wasn’t representational, nor influenced by outside stimuli like natures patterns and shapes (I still have a long way to go here).” Rod Jones