Saturday, August 18, 2012


Last week I took some time off from work and signed up for a monotype workshop at the Art Students League.

I've never tried prints before and decided I might as well learn. I thought that monotypes, where you paint on a non-porous surface like glass then transfer the image by pressing paper onto the plate, would be a good transition since I could use my oil paints instead of buying new media.

The tricky thing is that monotypes can be very unpredictable. Only a small percentage of the paint gets transferred due to drying, the varying thickness of the paint, and uneven pressure. But theoretically, it's good way to let go of your inner control freak and cultivate a zen approach to art - put in the effort, and surrender the results.

In truth, the random blotchiness of the print drove me crazy. I was trying to make fairly realistic portraits but then figured, what the heck. All those blank spaces, all those blobs - seriously - how did Degas produce his perfectly even monoprints?

Then I noticed that the other students didn't seem to care and were even experimenting with bubble wrap and other implements to achieve even more random effects. I figured I might as well exploit the opportunities for abstraction: I piled on the paint, used unrelated colors, scraped and smudged, and hoped for the best.

To my eye the prints still look unfinished but I decided to document my efforts on Flickr. I've had a few interesting comments, and a few of these prints were even marked as favorites by other Flickr members.

Maybe I'll keep these monotypes after all. At the very least, they would be good references for my ongoing exploration of figurative expressionism.

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