I’m still working away trying to hone monotype techniques on my gelatin plate. A monoptype is a one -of-a-kind print. I cheifly use stencils and then sometimes stamps to make my images. Then I go back in with colored pencil to highlight. The following two prints were inspired by my visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in May. I closed down the place gawking at all the beautiful seal life.
My nightly delight is Lizzy, our little feral cat who pokes her head up at the door begging for food with her pathetic meow. I can finally pet her and pick up her bony little body. Most likely she has feline leukemia. We feed her all she wants but she never gains any weight. I had to paint a picture of her.
I love making monotypes These are one of a kind prints, not produced in an edition format. Currently, I work on a gelatin plate that I made myself from Knox gelatin and glycerin. It has the feel of a flat gummy bear. The ink is rolled on and then I press the paper down on the plate. Stencils and textures applied to the plate make interesting patterns and shapes. At times I have a concept in mind- other times I work from my intuition alone. When I see a composition forming, I apply finishing touches with stamps, stencils, and colored pencils. Sometimes I apply collage elements.
Every piece I make is an adventure. There are no mistakes. If I don’t like how a piece is turning out, It can cut up and be turned into greeting cards, bookmarks, or go in the collage box for use in another piece.
My particular process can be pretty involved. I have tried to document most of the steps.
In meditation the goal is to focus on the breath, observing thoughts with non judgement. It is an exercise to become aware of one’s inner dialogue without criticism. According to Yoga International….
” Meditation is a practical means for calming yourself, for letting go of your biases and seeing what is, openly and clearly. It is a way of training the mind so that you are not distracted and caught up in its endless churning. Meditation teaches you to systematically explore your inner dimensions.”
I decided to take the concept of meditation and apply it to my art making, meaning any creative task I undertake. As a visual artist especially, I’ve noticed that I have a habit of letting a stream of negative judgement runs through my mind as I make art. My inner critic tells me “this is not good enough” or “if I only I did this – or that” or some such chatter. This is a perfect recipe for artistic block – and I have been there.
When toddlers begin to walk and fall down, they don’t give up. They try and fail over and over again. Parents cheer and don’t discourage. It’s part of the process of learning. Too bad we give that child-like wonder as adults
As of the New Year I am making art with an attitude of play and experimentation rather than judgement of whether my work is good or bad. If a piece doesn’t work, so be it. I have learned from it. I am mindful to my inner dialogue as I create. When negative thinking enters my mind I say “You are not welcome here. Let me play!”
This week I began an online class, Making Monotypes with a Gellatin Plate taught by Linda Germaine. it’s been the perfect opportunity to apply “The art of non-judgement.”
It’s so liberating. I’m having fun. I can hardly wait to get back to the studio…..
Experimenting….first try printing with a gelli-plate!
On Saturday, June 3, I will board a plane for three weeks in Ireland. I feel both excitement and anxiety about this trip for I am a reluctant traveler. You see I have this cozy little life in living in an old farmhouse in rural Oregon. I don’t always feel that need to get away for I am “away.” Mind you I will always jump at the chance to go camping, hiking or kayaking in the Pacific Northwest but heading across the ocean with a tourist guidebook in hand does not attract me.
Yet every few years I feel that pull to experience the unknown, go to a far off place and savor the sights and culture of someplace foreign. The one caveat is that I need to travel with purpose, rather than being a tourist bouncing from attraction to attraction. I require a mission and an opportunity to learn about a new country from “the inside out” rather than just be a casual observer. When I was in my 20’s, my work in wildlife research & as a river guide required me to travel to the far reaches of bush Alaska. Past adventures have also included numerous solo Spanish language immersions in Central America and Mexico with homestays with local families. Once I traveled to Northern Guatemala alone, arriving Christmas night to a home in an impoverished town to participate in an environmental project there. In 2013 I walked the Camino de Santiago from France through N Spain with a friend to mark my 60th birthday. This type of travel is often uncomfortable but offers such opportunities for perspective & personal growth.
This coming trip will not offer such extreme physical and emotional challenges as my previous journeys. I will make my way from Dublin by bus to the Ballinglen Art Center in the small village of Ballina to take a weeklong mono-printing workshop from artist Ron Prokrasso. Three friends will join me at the workshop’s end. We will spend 2 weeks traveling about NW Ireland in a rental car staying in several cottages we have reserved.
It will be a fabulous trip but I am already missing my “spousal equivalent” of 17 years, my two goofy dogs, the stray cat that comes to the porch every night to be fed, the hummingbirds that frequent the porch feeder, my studio & all the other ingredients that make up the life that I cherish.
But I will allow myself to be uprooted for a time to be pruned and enriched by the wonder & challenge that travel can present. I hope to grow as an artist and bring back a host of fond memories as my souvenirs and a lot of new artwork. Until then, I better get packing!