Labyrinthine

Labyrinthine. I love that word! My previous collages with embossing and circles suggest the design of a labyrinth. This new group uses embossed string in a more defined way. Unlike a true labyrinth (admission – I’ve never visited one) in my work there is no way in or out. That’s the beauty of making art. Inspiration leads to conception!

The complex, textured, monotype background layer supports the simple “labyrinth” layer of an embossed circular shape. Start at the center and work your way out (visually) or start at the edge and meditate as you circle toward the center. It’s your choice. “Walk” with your eyes.

There are four prints in this group. Print one and two starts with a monotype which includes inked and printed mesh shapes (first layer).  The second layer is the embossed labyrinth shape. Each print has its “ghost” (what’s left on the plate after the first print is made) to which I’ve added more inked mesh shapes and the embossed labyrinth shape or shapes. The third, and final, layer consists of a variety of collaged circles (dots) somewhat randomly scattered over the entire surface.

What purpose does the dots serve? They can be points of light shining down on the labyrinth. Or, they repeat the swirling aspect of the embossed shape. Or, they guide you in, out and around the labyrinth. Or, they aid in the spatial push- pull of the design by placement, size, and color. Anything else?

Here are the four prints.

#1424 And Then There Was

#1424  And Then There Was

 

#1424 Final Print

#1424  And Then There Was, monotype, embossing, collage 30×22 2024

 

#1425 (ghost of 1424) Game On

#1425  Game On

 

#1425 Final Print

#1425  Game On, monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2024

 

#1426 You Can Have It Both Ways

#1426

 

#1426 Final Print

#1426  You Can Have It Both Ways, monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2024

 

#1427 (ghost of 1426)) States of Mine

# 1427  States of Mine

 

#1427 Final Print

#1427  States of Mine, monotype, embossing, collage 2024

 

This is as close as I’ve come to walking a labyrinth. How about you?

 

A Constituency of Circles

Sometimes, in my work, more is more. That’s the case in the group of prints made after the Fortune Cookie project (previous blog). I could call it “Back to the Future” since, once again, circles are the main motif. They are the last layer (collage) of a monotype whose other layers are overlapping textures of inked mesh and embossed string.

Let your eyes wander around. Let the embossed lines guide you as they playfully connect the circles. Can you see that the ghost image of the monotype print has an added layer of inked mesh on top of which is a new layer of string embossing? Then, the circles!

Here are the two sets of prints and a detail of #1420.

#1420 It Is What It Is monotype, embossing, collage 30×22″ 2023

#1421 All Of It monotype, embossing, collage 30×22″ 2023

#1421 Detail

#1422 Not The First, Not The Last monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2023

#1423 Chance:Choice monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2023

Where will this take me next? Stay tuned!

Your Fortune In A Cookie

You’ve finished that delicious Chinese dinner, one from column A, two from column B, not too spicy, not too salty. Everyone’s happy. Last, but not least, the little baked object in plastic arrives. The Fortune Cookie! Yay! You break it open, eat the cookie and read your fortune on the little piece of paper inside. You say “yeah” or “meh” and leave it on the table. Maybe you make note of the lottery numbers on the back for your next lottery ticket purchase, the one that’s going to be the winner. If you are like me, you press it flat and take it.

While I don’t eat Chinese food often, I seem to have amassed quite a collection of those little slips of paper. They have been waiting patiently for the time (a long time) when I would do something with them. And so, the FORTUNE COOKIE PROJECT was born.

COLLAGE was the perfect vehicle for the fortunes. Here’s how it went.

I started by printing a monotype on paper. Stencils of leaf shapes were inked and  printed at the same time as the monotype. Why leaves? I thought the implied floating would work well with the words moving across the paper (added later).There are four pairs of prints in the series because I worked on the “ghost” print of each monotype. The ghost image is what remains on the plate after the first impression is pulled.

Here is the sequence for the first collage:

  1. Monotype with overlay of leaf stencils inked and printed (#1412.1).

#1412.1 Fortune Cookie-Don’t Pursue Happiness-Create It

  1. Additional collaged cut out shapes (#1412.2)

#1412.2 Fortune Cookie-Don’t Pursue Happiness-Create It

  1. Final layer/final collage with FORTUNE words as collage (pencil, colored pencil and cut out letters from old prints). #1412

#1412 Fortune Cookie-Don’t Pursue Happiness-Create It monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

The ghost print of the pair shows the lighter main color with ghostly leaves plus additional inked and printed leaves, additional collaged shapes, and fortune cookie words (#1413.1, #1413.2, #1413

#1413.1 Fortune Cookie-Trust Your Intuition

#1413.2 Fortune Cookie-Trust Your Intuition

#1413 Fortune Cookie-Trust Your Intuition monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

Here is the second pair showing only the final print/collage. #1414 and #1415

#1414 Fortune Cookie-Your Mind Is Creative, Original, and Alert monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

#1415 Fortune Cookie-Big Journeys Begin With A Single Step monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

Here is the third pair. #1416 and #1417

#1416 Fortune Cookie-Your Example Will Inspeire Others monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

#1417 Fortune Cookie-Your Virtues Are Priceless monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

And, the fourth pair. (#1418 and #1419)

#1418 Fortune Cookie-Endurance and Persistence Will Be Rewarded monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

#1419 Fortune Cookie-You Are Talented In Many Ways monotype w. pencil, collage 30×22 2023

In this series, as in everything I do, I explored the POSSIBILITIES of doing/making. I encourage you to EXPLORE the possibilities of seeing/thinking.

I chose the most positive and uplifting fortunes from my collection. I hope they read that way to you. Feel free to take to heart any or all of them.

From Geoffrey Holder dancer, choreographer, actor, singer:

“Say yes to everything – then figure out how to make it work.”

Circle Suite

I like to work in layers. That’s the beauty of combining printmaking with collage. Throw in some embossing and you have the perfect trifecta. Circle Suite is a new group of three sets of related color monotypes with collage for a total of nine.

This group of collages began with creating textured monotypes and laying tangles of string on top before the monotype was printed. The paper remained white where the string had been pressed (embossed) into the paper. Boy, did I have fun deciding where the tangles of string should fall on the surface of the print. They may look random but are not. O.K. maybe a little. They did seem to have a mind of their own but ultimately it was my decision.

Each monotype with lines was then ready for the “circle” treatment. I floated circles from painted paper, my old prints and photos and ephemera across the surface adding some other cut out shapes. Look closely and you can see the interplay of circles and lines.

Large cut out circles are the anchors moving the eye from place to place and exerting some control over what may appear to be utter chaos but is not.

Here are three collages showing the monotype with embossed lines before adding the circles.

#1403 Leave Well Enough Alone monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2022

#1406 Et Cetera, Et Cetera monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2022

#1409 How Goes It monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2023

Here are the same pieces finished.

#1403 Leave Well Enough Alone monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2022

#1406 Et Cetera, Et Cetera monotype, embossing, collage 2022

#1409 How Goes It monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2023

Here are the other six completed colleges.

#1404 They Went That a Way monotype, embossing, collage 2022

#1405 Tingle Tangle monotype, embossing, collage 22×30″ 2022

#1407 Cascade monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2023

#1408 Lickity Split monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2023

#1410 Euphoria monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2023

#1411 Bring It On monotype, embossing, collage 22×30 2023

And a quote from author Dean Koontz. “…at the end of each day I regret having to stop. I’ve got to know what happens next.”

The Past Is Present

 

A new life for old photos. Monotype print + vintage photo + collage = new work.

The collages began with monotypes left over from the “Mystere” series of years ago. They lay waiting for something. So did my collection of vintage photos of people, many of them as postcards which were sent to friends and family. Who were these people, anyway? I think of that as I sift through them, looking for the right one to add to the monotype. If I wait much longer the monotype print will also be “vintage.”

This is not the first time I have used vintage photos in my work. Years ago, I made Xerox (when did we stop using that word?) copies of photos and transferred them to monotype prints. Here are some examples of that combination.

#590 Untitled Monotype Xerox Transfer 22.5×15 1995

#630 Untitled monotype, xerox transfer 22×12 1995

I have also adhered actual photos to monotypes like these.

#570 Untitled monotype, collage 22×30 1994

#579 Mama,1886, monotype,collage 30×22 1994

#593 In The Pursuit of… monotype, xerox transfer 25.5×19.5 1995

This time I photographed the original vintage photo and printed it from my computer rather than use the actual photo. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe, in case I wanted to do something with them in the future. Who knows?

There are only three finished pieces in this series. Each starts with the faint tangle of lines across the “Mystere” monotype. The posed people (staid, aren’t they?) in the photograph are a foil for the swirling lines all over the monotype. Etched shapes and printed shapes are added. Lastly, additional paper collage elements move in, over and around the photos, anchoring them to the page.

#1400 Long Ago and Far Away 1 a. monotype, collage 22×302022

#1400 Long Ago and Far Away 1 b monotype, collage 22×30 2022

#1400 Long Ago and Far Away 1c monotype, collage 22×30 2022

Here are the other two pieces in the group. Just the final piece.

#1401 Long Ago and Far Away 2 monotype, collage 22×30 2022

#1402 Long Ago and Far Away 3 monotype, collage 22×30″ 2022

The mysterious people from a different era now inhabit our world. They’ve been brought forward into this century. I hope they are happy.

 

 

 

8 AM Pearl Street Boulder, CO

8 AM.

An early morning walk along Pearl Street in downtown Boulder. It will be busy later but this is what I see now. A lone dog walker. A guy on a bike. A few people getting their morning coffee at one of the local independent coffee shops. Quiet.

I can walk a mile or so down one side of the street and return along the other side seeing what catches my eye without being distracted by people and traffic. It is an exercise in LOOKING up, down, and sideways. Stopping and starting. Seeing the ordinary, the overlooked, the mundane, and the discarded. Finding patterns, textures and colors along ONE street in a busy city.

Pearl Street mall

Pearl Street alley

There is construction and deconstruction.

There is art on the walls and on the street. There are artful window displays.

There are signs which inform and are usually not given a second thought as we hurry by. Well, maybe, sometimes.

Objects all lined up make a “group” if you see them that way.

There are patterns and textures. Look up, look down.

There are even some “underfoot” markings and graffiti.

Things left behind make me wonder about the “who” and “why.”

Nothing will be the same tomorrow.

Come A Little Closer

It’s time for a straight-forward combination of the elements I often work with, in collage. The geometric shapes are readily apparent but how are there two colors on what seems like one layer of a monotype print? The mystery lies in the use of two “plates” into which coils of string are incised by the weight of the etching press. They are inked with two different colors and printed. Paper circles are placed on the second plate before printing. When they are removed the color of the first plate shows through as circles. Mystery solved!

As I’ve done in the past, I construct the collage on the printed monotype. It’s a step by step, layer by layer process using parts of collagraph (textured) prints and monotype prints.

Here is the first set of three. They are horizontal.

#1394 To Do Or Not To Do monotype w. collage, 15.5×23.5, 2022

#1395 Peripheral Vision monotype w. collage, 15.5×23.5, 2022

#1396 Now You See It monotype w. collage, 15.5×23.5, 2022

If you look the second set of three, which are vertical, can you tell that each collage is assembled on a print from only one plate? Bet you can! That monotype print is the “ghost” image. It is the impression from the image left on the first plate after printing. The vertical collages are constructed in the same way as the horizontal ones step by step, layer by layer.

Here are the three vertical collages.

#1397 Super Duper monotype w. collage, 23.5×15.5, 2022

#1398 What Goes ’round Comes ’round monotype w. collage, 23.5×15.5 2022

#1399 Say When monotype w. collage, 23.5×15.5, 20

Don’t let the “process” get in the way of seeing the whole collage. Enjoy the experience of exploring the relationships of line, shape, color, and texture. Look at the whole, notice the parts, then look at the whole again.

Party on!

Another Opening of Another Show

The cultural jewel of Evanston, IL, close to Chicago, is the Evanston Art Center. A selection of my collages from the past few years is included in the exhibit Expressive Exuberance. My work and that of several other talented artists will be exhibited from April 16 – May 22, 2022. If you are in the area I hope you’ll come to the opening reception on Saturday April 16 from 5 to 8PM. It will be an exuberant experience!

If you can’t make it here are my collages that will be in the show. They include recycled prints and found paper assembled on monotype printed or painted paper as well as collage on suminagashi marbled paper. One is “Brad’s Haiku.” Yes, that Brad!

#1290 Have Map Will Travel 8, collage, 24×20, 2015

#1326 Time and Time Again, monotype w. collage, 30×22 2017

#1326 Detail

#1327 Time After Time, monotype w. collage, 30×22 2017

#1327 Detail

#1331 Kaleidoscope 4, collage on acrylic painted paper, pastels 18×24 2017

#1331 Detail

#1338 Suminagashi Suite 5 marbled paper, collage 25×19.5 2017

#1348 Brad’s Haiku, suminagashi marbled paper, collage 30×22 2018

Additional exhibit details are on my website’s Home Page (Announcements) at www.studio7310.com

Winter Musings

 

It’s that time of year in N. Texas when “iffy” is the operative word. Late winter means the days are getting longer but the temperature can go from 20’s one day (O.K., several days) to 65 the next. Brilliant sunshine, blue skies, then thunderstorms, hail, “wintry mix” (that means freezing rain, maybe snow). I kid you not. February seems to be the “it” month. February 2021 had 139 hours of below freezing temperature. We Texans are not cut out for that sort of thing. This February we had only 48 hours of “freeze.” Fingers crossed that will be it. The daffodils are popping up, a good sign.

During my “hunker down” days I thought about all the fun road trips my best friend, SF, and I took during our almost 59 years of marriage. Of the many stops we made while passing through small town(s) U.S.A. the fun and memorable ones were often at country cafes, roadside luncheonettes, gas station bar-b-q’s and soda fountains at the back (or front) of “emporiums.”

So, here’s to those special places where there’s always a “howdy” welcome and a slice of homemade pie or ice cream soda, sometimes both. If you are SF a chocolate ice cream sundae will do just fine.

Enjoy the ride unless you’re skiing.

St. Jo, TX

Clines Corners, NM

Homer, AK

Round Top, TX

Bells, TX

Canton, TX

Somewhere in OK

Minturn, CO

Eagle, CO

Redstone, CO

Marble, CO

Steamboat Springs, CO

Jefferson, TX

Jefferson, TX

Hico, TX

P.S. SF is Stanley Feld (which you probably guessed) for whom there can never be enough chocolate ice cream.

Piece By Piece

 

Piece by piece and layer by layer. Bye, bye suminagashi marbling (for now), hello acrylic painting on paper. This will be the base layer on top of which I will construct a new collage. It will go from simple to complex. As you scroll through the images, slowly and thoughtfully (I hope), here are some questions to ponder. You might find them simplistic but here they are, anyway.

  1. What are the similarities? Differences?
  2. Do you see relationships of color, line, shape, texture?
  3. Is there one focal point or several? What connections are there from one area to another?
  4. What difference does the change in orientation of the central collage make?

And now, the collages!

Here is the “process” sequence.

First, acrylic painting on paper.

Process #1391- acrylic

Next layer, monotype added.

Process #1391- monotype

After that, collage of sun prints + photos.

Process #1391-monotype w. sun print, photo

A few more collage elements and voila! The completed collage.

#1391 Breaking Loose

The same sequence occurs in #1392 and #1393.

#1392 Grab Bag

#1393 Sort Of

Here is another group with the same layering sequence except that the orientation of the central collage of sun prints and photos is vertical instead of horizontal.

#1387 Hold On It’s Gonna Be A Rough Ride monotype, sun print, photo collage 25.5×19.5 2021

#1387 detail

#1388 Nice Work If You Can Get It monotype, sun print, photo collage 25.5×19.5 2021

#1388 Detail

#1389 Bending The Rules monotype, sun print, photo collage 25.5×19.5 2021

#1390 The One That Got Away monotype, sun print, photo collage 25.5×19.5 2021

Now, leave all the dissecting and analyzing behind. Go back, look at the completed collages and have FUN! Think “joyfull”, “playfull.” Have a romp! I did!

 

“Wait for the right horse and you will walk.” (anonymous)