Monotype: Slumber

Slumber 3×3 Monotype Ghost with colored pencil & watercolor on Arches Cover paper  Sold
I’m in Alaska, so the image above is a snapshot instead of a scan, and I apologize for the crooked view & crappy quality. I’ll replace it with a scan when I get back to LA.
Process shots begin at the bottom of the post.

This is the second time I’ve been to Anchorage in the summer (I have family here) and I’m even a little more in awe of this place. Not just for the usual things you hear about the beauty of the last Wilderness Frontier; the million shades of green, the dark, craggy, glacier-cut coastline, and the never ending daylight are indeed amazing. But I’m also fascinated by the culture of this place. It makes me realize how much artists are/were influenced by where they live. There’s a lot of art here (summers are mild & rainy, and winters are dark, cold and snowy; perfect for hunkering in the studio and making stuff), and a lot of it incorporates scenes from the surrounding landscape; pine trees, mountains dipping into the ocean, bears, moose, fishing, hunting and Alaskan Tribal symbolism, etc. I haven’t seen any urban art, steampunk, anime, or desert landscapes. Back before easy travel, and access to good art books, and the internet, what was it like for an artist like Franz Bischoff to leave Bohemia and Vienna to emigrate to America? And then, what did he think of the environment of 1885 New York City, and later, Pittsburgh, PA, and then Ohio? Travel to an artist back then must have been considered crucial to their development. I wonder if it’s still important now, with access to everything online. Can we get the same exposure over the net, at Museums and via the library? What do you think?

I started with colored pencils, and then used watercolor to cross hatch some colors I didn’t have with me on this trip. I’ll put it away till I get home, and perhaps make some adjustments back in the studio, but I thought it best to stop here. Especially since my grandson (2) was pulling my sleeve to play cars on the floor. Who could turn down an invite like that? 🙂

When the ink on the plate was ready, I laid a soaked & blotted sheet of arches cover paper on top of it, and then sandwiched that between newsprint, and a few layers of rubber & felt blankets – and gave the whole thing a good squeeze through the press. When I pulled the paper off the plate, there was enough ink left behind on the copper to lay a second sheet of paper down to repeat the process and get a ghost print (above); a much fainter version of the monotype. These are especially fun for playing around, as the entire image is about 10-15% at the darkest value, so you can push the contrast in either direction, or keep the whole thing quite soft.

I’m using a pastel blending stomp and rolled & folded bits of paper towel to wipe ink off the place to create the image here. This is a Dark Field Monotype: I’m starting with a dark field and pulling pigment away in a subtractive process. Sort of like carving with light. It’s a very good exercise for thinking about lightest lights, darkest darks and half tones in between.

This is a 3×3 copper plate, with oil based Daniel Smith Etching Ink rolled evenly on the surface with a brayer. It’ll stay wet for a few hours.

I’ll continue sharing my art collection next week when I’m back in LA. 🙂


Art Quote
There is nothing so discouraging as a bad composition at the very start. Do most of your “changing” in composition before you begin to paint, for at the beginning, when you are fresh, it is easy to change a composition. It is just “blocked in” and there it nothing to “spoil” yet. ~John E. Carlson

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5 Responses to Monotype: Slumber

  1. Libby Fife August 4, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    As always, I appreciate the process shots.

    I bet travel was really important. Working from photos, books, or other images probably wasn’t practical. There is the whole issue of the quality of light, different people and landscapes to consider too; probably lots of factors. Also, I bet artists travelled to learn from other artists-also not possible without the Internet. Great question. Makes you wonder what we would do without our current resources.

  2. jen August 1, 2010 at 6:34 am #

    I feel travel is crucial if the desire is to photograph groups of people, such as the beach, etc. It seems as if around here people only gather for a tractor pull or bier stube. If I want to paint still life, I can stay planted most of the year, really.

    LOVE your work!!!

  3. Julie Broom August 1, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Your techniques give such beautiful results. I just love the texture of this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. adrienne trafford July 31, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    so beautiful – she has an underwater feel too

  5. Anonymous July 31, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    While having internet access to so many wonderful sites (and sights), I believe there is nothing as valuable as being there.
    That said, I am glad to have Google to help!
    More Idle Thoughts, not anon.

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