Monotype: Furry Blessings

Furry Blessings 7.25 x 9 Monotype with watercolor
Available on Etsy.


On a sheet of beveled plexiglass (using a milky piece of LEXAN from Home Depot on this one), I’m drawing with water soluble crayons to give watercolors something to hold onto.

Adding layers of watercolor (gently – one pass of the brush), and letting the paint pool and bleed and mix where it wants to. Trying to control the process in this method will lead to frustration, so it’s best to throw caution to the wind and just play.

In the spirit of playing, I’ve spritzed the plate generously just before printing, because I wanted to see if the pigments would dry a bit more saturated & bright if I printed on dry paper. I’ve found in previous experiments this Fall that pigments bleed deep into soaked & blotted paper, often all the way to the back, which leads to a dull finish with less saturation and vibrancy in the print.

Quite a bit of the crayon and watercolor released from the plate after being spritzed, so I’ll continue with experiments and try a fine spritz on just the paper next time. After this dried, I went back in with watercolor, and lightly added a few more layers of pigment, but I left it pretty loose, resulting in the monotype at the top of this post.

Art Quote
A few days after my arrival in Los Angeles in November, 1887, and just as soon as I was miraculously delivered from the tender mercies of a host of Philistines, called real estate men, I found myself, one Sunday morning, strolling cityward on Washington Street, far out beyond the Rosedale Cemetery. It was after the first rains, and I felt full of the delicious vitality and charm which the first rains give. Sauntering off the road to peruse an interesting announcement which offered a big bargain to the first man who came quick enough with a deposit, I came to the edge of a pool, a lodgment of the rain in a hollow, a pool just sixteen yards across, and in it, or upon it, was a vision of loveliness that I shall never forget. I have lingered by the silvery mirrors of other lands, and have haunted the richest bits of dear old England’s lakes and streams, the inspiration of poets and the paradise of artists, but, except on one occasion, when, riding past the garden of the poet Wordsworth, I saw the glory of a most perfect reflex in Rydal Water, I had never seen anything surpassing this. Such a vision of pure and tender color in water, with such perfect definition of detail, it is impossible to describe, and until you take an opportunity of looking into that or a similar pool, with your face cityward, you cannot realize the enchantment. At my feet was the ethereal blue of a rapturous sky, and against it was the spotless snow of Old Baldy’s crown, glistening under the sheen of the water like a celestial thing. The pearly gray shadows of the monarch beneath it came out with the sharpness and clearness of a touch of a pencil, while all the great range from Garvanza to Rialto was as clear and defined as the stones in the foreground. The city came next, its turrets and towers clear-cut against the gray of the mountains; its red-painted roofs and the interspersed foliage looking as bright as the blush of a maiden. Then, fringing the face of the city, were line upon line of pepper and tall eucalyptus, interspersed with the gables, and chimneys, and windmills which stretch ‘twixt Washington Gardens and Rosedale; then, at the far edge of the mirror, the tender, sweet shoots of new herbage and grasses reflected their modest new beauty, and when I looked up, and glanced at the vision reflected, I fell into wondrous amazement, and knew not which most to admire, — the substance, or only the shadow.
The undefined and inexpressible thrill of the artist as he looks out upon the rolling landscape in vernal beauty, or upon the mountains melting in the golden glory of our common sunsets, is as much above the pleasure of the millionaire as he counts his gold as is the reality of the rippling laughter of your little child at play to the forced guffaw of a salaried clown. ~Talks in My Studio – The Art of Seeing, by John Ivey 1903


2 Responses to Monotype: Furry Blessings

  1. Ann Christine Dennison April 20, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Thanks for sharing this technique, I will try it with Derwent Inktense, that I have recently discovered. Hop it works well without at press.

  2. Nancy Goldman October 7, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Another beauty. I really like the textures you get with the watercolor monotypes. Do you usually wet the paper when doing a watercolor monotype and on this one you wet the plate instead?

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