Unexpected winter joy
Over the festive season, I've been popping into my studio, when I can, to work on this new series. I'm about half-way through six monotypes that re-capitulate two of my favourite themes: patchwork landscapes and grasses with seed heads.
This video shows, briefly, the making of the seed heads piece at the top. You can see how the layers of colour are built up then over-printed with a stencil and transfer drawing.
So why have I returned to this subject matter now, you may ask? Looking through my sketchbook, I realised there were some good composition ideas that I'd sketched out many months ago and hadn't been able to bring to fruition. When I look at my previous pieces, I feel there is more to do to develop the idea and fill gaps in my collection. I always find it's best, when working creatively, to choose the projects that I feel most excited about as that enthusiasm is more likely to translate into a picture which communicates joy and vitality.
I'm also influenced by what you, my lovely audience, have responded to in the past. And you certainly love patchwork landscapes, ploughed fields and seed heads! There's a real curiosity and appreciation for how I suggest fields and agricultural patterns with colour, shape and texture. When your enjoyment and mine combine, it's a recipe for an out-pouring of creativity!
The photographs here show details of the progress so far on these pieces. The patchwork fields are the most tricky, so I always breathe a sigh of relief when they turn out OK! What I love about working in monotype is the unexpected. Whilst I have a very clear idea of the composition, it's almost impossible to predict how the end result will look. Unlike a painting, that you can see evolve over time, I can't see how a mark or colour will look until it's printed. And there's no going back to change things!
What this means is that the picture itself seems to dictate the way it wants to go and I have to respond to the prompting that each layer offers. This response combines with experience from past efforts and failures as to what is likely to succeed in terms of looking "right". And what is this "rightness", you may ask? It's a strong visual sensation that the colours, shapes and patterns are working together to make a harmonious whole where the different elements of the composition support and set one another off. Things in the background sit back and things in the foreground come forward so that all is clear and balanced. Does that make sense?
What surprises me sometimes is that occasionally a piece will appear to have "gone wrong" but by persisting in trying to reach a satisfactory conclusion, it can, miraculously, turn out to be be one of my most loved pieces. But there are also times where it is lost - something is too dark or in the wrong place and it cannot be redeemed. It used to happen a lot but, with experience, it's only the occasional monotype that goes into the bin!
My main aim for these pieces is to balance a bold foreground with a softer, more receding background with something interesting in the middle. By using three different formats - tall rectangle, wide rectangle and square, I have lots of opportunities to try out new composition ideas.
These new landscapes will be completed in the next couple of weeks and should be ready to share in my next blog post. Join my email list to be among the first to see these new artworks and have the opportunity to purchase them. The sign-up form at the foot of every page.