August 2010


If you read my blog post yesterday, you’re aware of my current studio conundrum.  If not, you can read it or take my word for it,  I’d rather be printing than painting. For a variety of reasons, however, I feel I need to get back to painting. I have tried to understand exactly why I feel this push, but I don’t know why exactly and so I’m going to use my brain power for better purposes.

Luckily, my gut just gave me permission to ignore my head. I am in love with the new monotypes and excited about where they may go. Believe me, I feel more like a passenger of sorts when I print this new series. I have an educated inkling of how the colors are going to mix and what exact hue will appear from the marriage of the layers. Not knowing exactly feels like I’ve been let out of solitary confinement all of a sudden.  Free to play and layer ink sounds like a fabulous idea to me right now. I know I’ll get back to painting, maybe sooner rather than later, but for now I’m having fun and since it’s not illegal yet, I’m going to keep on printing.

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I’ve been busy traveling, printing and teaching this summer. I try to do monotypes during the summer so that I can work in cooler temperatures. Turns out my concentration breaks around 85 so I find that I can print in air conditioning to my heart’s content.  But here’s where I’m beginning to run into trouble: now I want to paint.

For some reason, I’m having a difficult time switching to painting from printing. This usually happens organically for me. I run out of ideas for monotypes, I burn out and then I am fresh to paint. After all, they aren’t that different in my mind, at least in the way I tend to approach both mediums. I see each as a process of layering. The same imagery shows up in both painting and printing and my color palette is about the same too. Until two weeks ago.

I was teaching monotype to a small group of students for the La Jolla Athenaeum. Since it was a smaller group, I ended up experimenting. I have always been curious about the 4 color process – layering yellow, red, blue and black on the same print to achieve a broad and deep range of tones.  Curiosity turned into pay dirt.  I was instantly attracted to the range of tones and color and so in the next week I experimented some more.  I came up with some new, very exciting to me monotypes and I knew that I was on to the next substantial series of monotypes.  

So here’s the dilema: do I continue to struggle to paint and print at the same time? Do I just accept that I’ll be printing into the fall and not paint quite as much as I think I should? Is it that I like to focus on one thing at a time more than I have realized to this point? When I print I tend to go until I run out of paper. Obsessive? Slightly. But I subscribe to the idea that quantity leads to quality. I know that not every print will be a winner, and over the years I’ve learned that I bat about 60%, which is more than enough to make me a happy camper. When I paint I try to shoot a little higher, like 100%.  A bit extreme I know, but I feel like the material and the panels and the effort into each painting means that I need to work on it until I get it right. Maybe that is a part of the hiccup?

I’m not sure where all of this leaves me in getting painting again. I’d like to think that my desire to get going again will be enough to trip the switch inside to find my painting groove. I’ll be continuing the series of monotypes throughout September despite the fact that the weather is turning and the wax is calling my name. Will this time be different? Will I be able to work simultaneously on both? I don’t know, but I’ll keep you posted.