This past weekend I took a Monotype workshop from renowned Jacksonville artist , Sarah Crooks Flaire. (these links are not the best example, but all I could find on the web). I talked my fabulous artist friend Candace Fasano into going with me. We were asked to gather organic items from our garden in preparation for the workshop. Since I am an avid gardener, I was more than up for the task. I had taken 2 years of printmaking in college but never really learned about Monotypes – or at least the way she taught. The way I now understand it, Monotypes are one of a kind images that at least begin on the press (can be manipulated, afterward if you wish). We were given the materials and asked to paint images on a beveled piece of plexiglass. You have to work from light to dark, the bottom layer – up with your paint (which is how it shows up as it is printed) – which is hard to think about as you are doing it so you can look at the underside of the plexiglass to check your image. I used Q-Tips and tooth picks to “draw” into the wet composition. Healthwise I was not my best: I had a horriable allery attack the previous day – and could barely breathe, but I still managed to have fun. It took me a little while to get the process down – and I am still not sure I am a pro. Whenever you step out of your comfort zone there is a certain level of uncertainty and learning curve. I love learning now things and incorporating them into my existing body of work. The image above is one from my workshop. (I could not get a good scan of any of them and was too lazy to photograph) Not my best piece of work, but I took away several things from the workshop: I reminded myself that I really LOVE working wet on wet, and might need to drag out my oils and yummy oil sticks (not to be confused with oil pastels). I love working on ultra smooth surfaces – might go back to working on panel/board/masonite. I also liked playing with actual objects from my garden. My work is already a balance of non-objective with an organic feel (at least that is what I strive for). I would like to actually draw more in my paintings. I am all about “layering” to breathe more life in my work – I also love to experiment and was thankful that this workshop was not really ridged or “structured”. I am just anxious to get back in the studio and recreate the feel of the workshop.
This was the first workshop I have taken since college – Well, for the exception of one drawing class I sat in on while I lived in Georgia. The “instructor” was an architect and medical illustrator – a pro at the human form. He was a very structured, uptight, anal (did I say that?) person and artist – quite the opposite of my messy, experimental, painterly persona. Anyway, he was so belittling toward me – I never really wanted to take in another class again. I was initially lured to the class under the pretense of painting en plein air. Since it rained that day, I begrudgingly went anyway and sat inside along with the rest of his regular class. We were given a still life as a subject to draw from. It was the typical musky still life conglomeration you are given as a student: Anywhere from a wagon wheel, bovine femur, dusty pillow, worn leather shoe, vintage lampshade, and taxidermied armadillo were probably present. I sketched a little – but soon became bored and decided to drag out my paints and paint my “interpretation” of the hideous montage. Well DH just would not have that, and proceeded to make an example of me in front of his class full of senior (65+) weekend painters – who though he was nuts as well. I guess since I was in my 20’s and abstract painter DH assumed he could treat me like an imbecile who could not draw. Indeed, I was a cocky kid who saw no need to waste my time creating art that was not for sale, meaningful, and flat out ugly – and since this was the most uninspiring subject matter I could possibly be presented with I was just going to make the most of it. I was giving up my one day off to sit with these beginners and this A-Hole – so I thought I was maintaining a positive attitude by shifting my focus.
If you have ever read the Book, The Artist Way, you are told to write down your artist demons (I guess as an attempt to release/forgive them). I listed this dude right up there along side the after school art teacher I had in First Grade. She disapproved of my Lady & the Tramp pastel drawing in which I colored the pillow turquoise instead of Fuchsia like it was depicted in the book I was drawing from. She did not care that I despised the color pink….NO FREE EXPRESSION ALLOWED! FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! Or at least that is how I remembered it 30 years ago.
Art Demons be GONE!