Last month, I made a promise to myself to spend some time working on a print every day. It wasn't a New Year's Resolution because I didn't want to feel guilty in case I missed a few days. I've been working on monotype prints for a few years now, off and on between other mediums, and I felt like I could handle working for an hour or 2 every morning on a small enough print, 11" x 15". So, up at 5 in the morning, bleary eyed, I started in the studio.
I use a process that you can watch from my previous post, The making of a monotype. In short, I roll on 2 layers of ink, wipe some off, then work with q-tips to work the image, adding and removing ink, until the form feels complete.
Over the past 31 days, with 31 prints complete, it has become easier to get into the studio first thing in the morning. I'm pleased with the way they have transformed, and I've learned some things along the way:
The process is a meditation to me. From the preparation of the surface, the process of working with the ink, the final pressing, and pulling the paper from the plate, it's a ritual. The focus is not on the expected shape but on the act of working, letting go of judgements and outside thoughts, just focusing on moving the ink on the plate. It's only when you step back and pull the image off the plate do you see the end result, which by the very nature of monotype, is typically unexpected. Because they are complete within a couple hours, they capture an event in time, a single experience. The Abstract Expressionists called this automatic painting, applying paint to a surface without a pre-determined result. Of course, many years of painting have led to trying different shapes and strokes, but those become second nature.
I see the images as close ups of something that extends off the page. I've even started extending the images off the sides of the page instead of centering the whole image onto just one sheet, to give the illusion that these forms are just a portion of what is going on outside of the paper. I think of it as looking at a forest, then zooming in on the knotted tree limb. These images are a zoomed in version of an emotional state of mind.
There are influences that go into each piece: the 2 colors I choose, the viscosity of the ink, the music I'm listening to at the time, a certain picture I may be thinking about, and of course, what is going on in my life at the time. The colors do a lot to influence the design. Sometimes I choose warm colors vs cool. Complementary colors create a brown or gray that feels more rough to work with than analogous colors that create more of a clear mix. And when you mix colors, one color tends to take over the other.
It's been a rewarding month, and the plan is to keep on going. My next goal is to get to 100 prints in 100 days, and I hope to find more things along the way. I hope you enjoy the works on my gallery. Thanks for visiting!