Monthly Archives: January 2013

Getting rid of rigidity with adventures in Monoprinting

As this is the year of experimentation, this old goat (Capricorn…not that I give much credence to that stuff) decided to try to introduce new ways of mark making into her artist’s life. There is the fun side project that is Tex and Bonnet, which is a collaboration with Jimmy and our friends Super Fun and Fantastic. It’s an outlet for collaborative creativity and we’ve already started rolling out some new designs.

I have unearthed my massive sketchbook and am commiting myself to adding to it every day. I have failed 12 of the 14 days of January so far, but my intensions are good and I at least know where the massive sketchbook is.

Today was my first firm step into the realms of rulerless-drawings-of-buildings-and-things-on-buildings. I have tried to do this with pencils and paper but no matter how hard I try to quickly and energetically lay down my line, the rigid, rule-follower in me, the person that practically faints at the sight of a vertical line that is NOT perpendicular to the bottom edge of the page, persists. I’m clean. My paper is tidy. I have several sizes and types of rubbers at my disposal. (Sorry Americans, that would be ‘erasers’ to you and yes, I realise you are practically weeing yourselves with laughter right now).

Monoprinting‘ was my word for the day. A brayer was purchased, as were papers and inks. I’d read a book and saw some helpful Youtube videos and now it was time to commit. The thing about monoprinting is that you cannot rest y0ur delicate hand on the paper because if you do too much of that, you are going to smear the heck out of the image side of your paper. So. Lines must be laid out decisively and quickly. Look at your subject, then commit. There is no erasing unnecessary or ugly line. You may be able to fudge it with a scribble and call it a ‘tree’ or ‘foliage’ but there’s not much to hide something errant.

It took a few tries to lay on the ink correctly as too much ink turns the entire paper, erm, inky. But even that mistake wasn’t too catastrophic. The unfortunate thing about monoprinting is that, as indicated by the prefix, it is a one shot printing adventure. I do have ideas, though, on what I can do with these monoprints for the future. I haven’t abandoned my print on fabric artworks. In fact, these monoprinting adventures are going to segue into developing my process. I’m really digging this monoprinting lark as it challenges me to create artwork that is so very different from what I’ve been doing the last three years.


I remember reading an excerpt from an article about Tracy Emin. Emin and her friend travelled in the states. I can image her in some desert, dust clouds kicking up and the heat beating down. In my imagination, she’s wearing aviator shades (when they were tragic) and sitting in an itchy, fold out, lawn chair – you know – the kind with the plaid design, woven in plastic, frame made of cheap metal.  Actually, it was rather a different kind of chair in which she sat.  And as a matter of fact, here is a link to the photo that feeds my imagings.

As for this blog and my joke that it is ‘relentless self-absorted chat about what I do,’ I find that for me, the writing about making art and inspiration is as important as the making of it. It almost feels as if I can’t have one without the other.


The Seal and Josey show

Possibly too much fun is being had chez Steel and Harrison.  We have gotten our mits on a device that will make many fun products for our crazy imaginings.  Three different designs were created today, two of which are featured below.  The third design may need some re-thinking as to how we want to present it to the world.

Both images began as rough sketches in my sketchbook.  Jimmy then added the necessary colour and zing to make them more fun than my black-ink-on-beige-paper markings.

find me on a pocket mirror

find me on a pocket mirror

and me, too

and me, too


Excursions and experimentation

It should be illegal to procreate between March 20 – April 10.  Because if you do your basic maths, you are going to land that child right in the middle of the Christmas and New Year festivities.  Not nice.  That poor mite will be born on a short, dark, cloudy day and who knows what that’s going to do to their personality as they develop.  They might grow up to be moody, a bit gnarly, much like this tree I snapped whilst on my birthday jaunt.  (Snapped, not in anger, but with my handy small camera).



Being born this time of year is like being hit twice with the ‘What should I do with this new year’ dilemma.  You get it on the slow crawl up to New Year’s and then again when you look at your shiny new year of you.  What to change?  What to improve upon?  What to keep doing more of?  I suppose if you make a decision for the New Year and don’t like what’s happening, you can quickly change tack on your birthday.  That would give me a couple of days for dithering.

Usually, I am good with a plan.  Ideas fly – too many to do something about – but usually there are a few good gems in there.  This year I felt uncharacteristically befuddled.  And now that I am thirty plus a handful of years, I do feel that I am entitled to use the word ‘befuddled.’  Whilst staring into the bleak winter day, clouds low, silver-greys looming, I thought to myself that perhaps it was time for a nap.  My other thought was that I needed to be kinder to myself, take it down a notch, rest well and use that extra space to contemplate new ideas.

And experimentation.  This is going to be my year to explore new ways of creating.  I’ve bought a whole lot of art gear from the states and am waiting in antici…pation for their arrival.  There will be new printing techniques to explore, and not just those involving fabric.  Yeah.  I know.  What a diversion.  Subject matter still yet to be decided.

There will also be excurions, facilitated by fellow adventurers Jimmy, Seal, Josey, and who ever else wants to come along for the ride.  Excursions to also be made wonderful by a lovely green, brown, and cream coloured thermos bought for me by the lovely Adrienne.

And so, that’s me, this me, moving into the new year of 2013 and *mumbles current age.*  Wish me luck.

Me and a little dog named Seal

Me and a little dog named Seal