Coltrane in the studio today, seems appropriate, as I am starting on my 16 x 20 sheets now, another milestone. I woke up this morning thinking that some monochromatic painting would be a good thing to do, since the black and white drawings have been so gratifying and fun. With the fall colors fading to black and brown, the landscape is increasingly graphic and basically monochromatic on a gray overcast day. I over-painted on two 13 x 16 paintings that were leaving me feeling ...meh. I kept more or less the same composition, same mountain sides, just re-focused. Here is one:
Painting larger is new ground for me, and going there has meant embracing uncertainty and the feeling of being lost. But it's good to be lost! I am learning that working larger entails detaching from the "observed" landscape where the painting began. Inside the studio the landscape is no longer in front of my eyes. Instead I have drawings to look at, and memories, and photographs. More new ground, working from reference images and memory. And not only that. The light is constant, no issues with wind or rain... new ground working on a painting over several sessions, days, maybe weeks. Where am I? Here is a drawing of a mountain side I have studied, painted and drawn many times already, and it is my jumping off point for a studio painting. Below it is the painting I am working on, about 14x18. (I know what you're thinking, but remember, "big" is relative, and size isn't everything.)
Here is a pic of the small relief print, 5"x7" that I am sending out to some of my wonderful Kickstarter supporters. I printed an edition of 40 by hand about 10 days ago, and now they are dry and ready to go. I'll be mailing these in a day or two.
To achieve consistency in the printing of the gray clouds, that was a little printing slight of hand. I inked the plate evenly each time with the right amount of ink to achieve a rich black when rubbed down with my hand printing tool of choice, a bookbinder's bone folder. But before printing, I printed off the clouds onto a piece of scrap white paper, and then a second time, so 2 layers of ink were removed. Then I placed the actual paper for the edition, I used Nideggen, and printed in the normal way. Only a trace of ink was left on the clouds, so those appear as a consistent gray.
Below are pics of my studio corner, with SOME work up on the walls. There are many more paintings stashed away in a folder. In the far corner is a view of the small sketches I have been using as reference images for my paintings. Many of these small sketches will be mailed out to another group of my Kickstarter patrons in a couple of weeks. I have selected a few of these to show here, just a teaser.
It bears repeating: Kickstarter is a powerful platform to help creative people reach a specific goal. It connects the artist with a world of people who are open minded, willing to make a leap of faith, and eager to support the creative process. I am over-awed at the gesture that total strangers, as well as friends and family, have made by responding to my project. In exchange I can offer these pieces of artwork, all offshoots of my creative process during this residency. As I am breaking new ground in my landscape painting, these small works have helped me to understand and interpret the forms I am fascinated by. I'm working with an enormous amount of energy and focus, thanks to this gift of time. I hope every one of my Kickstarter backers will appreciate these tokens of my sincere gratitude.