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Writing a statement about one's art can be challenging. You no sooner find the words for the images you've created, and then, you see that the most recently created images are different and need different words.
Statements inevitably evolve and are rewritten to fit the intent and content of the particular most recent artworks.
Thoughts On Monotypes and Sky Diving
Monotypes are printed paintings. They are unique prints, one of a kind. They are painted with ink or paint on a flat surface (a table, a plastic pane or a thin metal plate). The image can be transferred from the surface to paper by hand printing or press printing methods. There is integrity and a history to the medium. Historians credit Benedetto Castiglione with the first monotype in 1645.
It can be a medium of immediacy, spontaneous and suggestive. Certain working methods invite random and unexpected textures that may or may not print the way they appear as a painting. In fact, the printing of a monotype can transform the image to be quite different from what was intended. When the act of printing produces an unexpected outcome, the printed image may be surprisingly pleasing or quite disappointing. It may print poorly, or the ink was applied too heavily and, in printing, the image smears beyond recognition. Because of that, there is always a thrill in the anticipation of the printed image, the monotype. There is uncertainty about it. One hopes for a joyful outcome, but such a feeling of sadness comes when a distorted image appears on the paper.
For me, it is the thrill experience that makes monotype printing particularly exciting. It’s what I imagine the thrill of skydiving is like. I’ve heard there is a great adrenaline rush during a free fall when one pulls the cord and anticipates (prays) that the chute will open. There is a kind of mini adrenaline rush and a faster heartbeat while printing a monotype in the anticipation of the print. However, unlike sky diving, if the monotype chute doesn’t open and the print is disappointing, the print can be painted on, collaged on, and drawn on, to become a pleasing mixed media work. On top of that, there is always another monotype to print, another mini thrill to experience.
Mezzotints, or Making Eggs
I make eggs, mezzotint eggs that is to say. And I’ve been making them for over 15 years, yet they have been exhibited only a few times.
The idea of an egg as the primary subject for a print first came to me as a good idea to do as a technical demonstration. Technical demonstrations are important. Such demonstrations need to be clear and should reveal certain basic image-making possibilities about the method at hand. Therefore, the subject for a demonstration is relevant. But since time is of the essence one cannot embark upon the making of a major print for a demonstration. Simple and small size subjects are called for. Sometimes an image used in a demonstration captures my attention, stays on my mind, and ironically shows up in my artwork. As a result snowmen, fish, and eggs have been and continue to be subjects in some of my professional work.
“Making Eggs” is the title of this statement. There are other pun-related titles and admittedly corny remarks that I’ve shared with my students while presenting mezzotint demonstrations. Two of those titles are, “Eggceptional Eggs” and “Eggstraordinary Eggs”. The remarks include, “These eggs are eggsactly the way I want them to be” and “This mezzotint is eggspecially for you”.
“By the Beautiful Sea”
By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea,
You and I, you and I, oh! how happy we'll be,
The song, “By the Beautiful Sea”, was published in 1914. The lyrics and melody are quite memorable and have been included in plays, movies and cartoons. I first heard it as a boy while watching what is now a vintage Mickey Mouse cartoon. Ever since, the refrain has stayed with me.
It is so pleasing to be on the beach by the sea. The ocean vista is so absolutely uncluttered and compelling to look at. One ponders the forever fleeting focus of the horizon line, that intangible line. Much of my work includes the horizon and I am often mesmerized by it. The black of the night obscures and hides it. The gleam of a fair weather day reveals it.
There is a small space in the attic of our home, an old house of 1889, with a slate roof that heats up in the summer and makes the attic way too warm of a place to be. But it is a place to draw and paint watercolors. The summer heat serves the watercolors by causing the paint to dry fast. The heat also dictates a working method that is intermittent.
One summer the attic watercolors stayed dedicated to the theme of the New Jersey beaches I’ve come to know. Each painting began by way of a dose of color mixed with water and brushed in a particular puddle shape on the paper. The puddle dried quickly; it dried as the sky. Another puddle of color was applied, and then the heat of the attic would force me to leave for a while. Upon my return that puddle was dry and it became the sea. I fussed with the finishing touches on the sand and the waves. Nostalgic yearnings to return to the beach, and memories of a long ago moment filled my mind, and I hummed the song “By the Beautiful Sea”.
Whirlwind Egg Obelisk Beach Haven
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