a monotype with pastel showing an interior art deco bathroom with a bright, open window and a bouquet of flowers on the sill

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Keyhole to Springtime 20 x 18 monotype with pastel (Available here)

Staggered Beginnings

I started this monotype in my previous studio about three years ago.  Yep, that’s a thousand days, people. I’m predictable in my art-making process; I get *so* excited to start! The early stages of making put me in a fevered flow state.  While happily playing with color and shape, I don’t feel hunger, fatigue, or distraction. I’m a comic book superhero art-making machine. And then, I stall.

Laying the inked plexiglass plate on the press bed (if you’re looking for monotype tutorial videos, here you go.)

After all the excited beginnings, I eventually get to a place where I have to make big decisions that will either kill or strengthen the art. I’ve written about the trouble with Pride and Ego in art making, and I think about that quicksand when I stonewall. I lecture my art-making mind:

This is about the process, not the outcome. If the resulting art sucks, it’s just pigment and paper, which fits conveniently in the shredder. We’ll simply start over, and transfer what we learned from this art over to the next creation. Quit aiming for a masterpiece, and tune into your maker’s hands & brain. Focus, and enjoy this time, with these supplies, and this day of creating.

Pulling the print after a trip under the press

Back on the Horse

Eventually, I listen to myself, and get back to work. It’s not unusual for half a dozen unfinished pieces to be laying around the periphery of my work space, with more tucked into a closet. I listen to podcasts about finishing things, which emboldens me to grab a notepad, and pull something unfinished out from the shadows, while I muster up some conviction to carry on.

The cultivation of some bold color; pastel over monotype. (But I seriously needed a new pastel storage system.)

Notes in the Studio

The notes I jotted down for this monotype were focused on color, reflective light, and keeping the mark making direct, unblended, and loose. Pastels worked perfect for this size and style of image. Although the source photo is old and pixelated (snapped a couple of decades ago in my circa 1920 bathroom) and the image was all one color (yellow), I could still play with warm shades of green, gold, blue and purple.


Super fun mark-making with soft pastel over monotype. Once the ink is dry, pastel sticks to the surface beautifully.
In my current studio, with my awesome upgrade for pastel storage. I can see all of the colors I have now!

The satisfaction from finishing something that’s been languishing for so long is pretty awesome. If you haven’t finished anything lately, I highly recommend listening to something encouraging in a podcast, pulling some art out of hiding, and having a good dose of fun with it. The worst thing that could happen is that the final piece is less than what you aimed for, but you will have learned lessons in the process, and your next attempts will reward you by carrying over everything you’ve acquired in that active, go for it, tally-ho mark-making. You got this!

Cultivating Good Studio Habits

If you make promises to yourself, and then break them – whether your self-directives are about making time for your art, getting a walk in every day, or reaching out to family more frequently, check out this article by Ben Hardy – If You Knew Something Would Improve Your Life, Why Wouldn’t You? Food for thought.

This article by John Fawkes breaks down the baby steps of Eight Simple but Powerful Habits that will Make You More Successful, and I like that almost all of them are small and very do-able, which feeds into some of the directive Ben mentions in the previous article above.

And in the same theme of lists, here are 17 Ways to Improve your Life in 2017. from Dr. Keith Ablow. There’s no time like today to jump in on at least a few of these thought provoking exercises.

For the Love of Audiobooks

I just finished listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and I loved it! This week, I’m beginning The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, as recommended by my son. It’s already got me giggling in the studio. Have you listened to/read either of them? What’s on your reading list? How about your Podcast list?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. You can subscribe to get each of these posts as an email as soon as they’re published (it’s free) right here.

Art Quote

For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.
~ Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

how to name your artwork
Click on the kitty to explore this online course that’ll take the Ugh! out of titling your art

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11 thoughts on “Monotype: Keyhole to Springtime (& finishing what you started)”

  1. Thank you Belinda for all your posts. I love your work and have been following for several months (or years?) through YouTube, FB and email. I´ve always enjoyed prints and for years I´d been flirting with the idea of giving printmaking a try to combine with my drawing, painting and mixed media adventures. But it was until I found your posts that I decided to give it a go and now I think I won´t leave it ever!

    Let me tell you that it has been such a delightful journey, that on January I decided to take a workshop with one of the most amazing graphic artists in my country. I´m a philosopher and I´ve never taken academic art classes before. So, taking these was a whole challenge at my 55yo. Now I´m so happy I did it! And your work played an important role in this beautiful experience which opened a whole new horizon to my creative years to come.

    I also wanted to let you know that if you ever write a book about your art and techniques I would love to know and get it as soon as possible. I´m sure it will be a jewel for your internet followers as for the art schools and libraries as well. Please add me to your first list of buyers!

    Sending you a big hug full of gratitude
    From Mexico, and because you matter for many,

    1. Wow, Marissa, What a beautiful note! Thank you so much for sharing your journey into printmaking and academic art classes! I’m excited for you, and so happy about your enthusiasm for the adventure you’re on! Thank you for the kind words, and your enthusiastic support. I wish you many happy hours of creating and sharing the fruit of your printmaking experiments! Bravo!

    1. Hi Cristiane, Thanks for visiting and leaving feedback for me! I hope your art adventures are flourishing this season, and your colors, light and tiny details are dancing!

  2. Along with plein air paintings, interiors are my favorite subject matter. I LOVE this painting and am so inspired, because tomorrow being Friday, I plan doing a painting of my friend’s funky bathroom (the mirror reflects some of the old houses in her neighborhood)! I think I mentioned in an earlier comment that I’d committed to doing a weekly onsite paintings at my friend’s eclectically furnished home – so far I’ve only missed one Friday since January (due to death of a very dear friend who I will miss so much – we used to go sketching together). Here are a few more audio book suggestions: On The Road (by my beloved bohemian author, Jack Kerouac). I found a copy at the library – But look for the following, because the narrator is super exceptional plus it’s the unabridged edition: ISBN: 9780143142737 Edition: 50th anniv. Trust me, you’re in for the ride of your life! Amazing! Next (which I’m listening to now) is Bruce Springsteen’s aubiography: Born to Run – narrated by Bruce himself! ISBN: 9781508224228 – 16 CD’s. This was just released in 2016 so it’s very up-to-date. This old gal is now love with Bruce. LOL!!

    1. Hi Gayle! Thank you so much for the book recommendations! I’ll add them both to my list. I was a *huge* Bruce fan in the 80’s, so that’ll be fun! And I’m so glad you’re having a good run with your Friday sketching. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope your grief is softened through the process of carrying on with something you both enjoyed so much. Happy bathroom sketching to you!

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