Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Drawings of Sculptures, Monotypes of Drawings

I had a studio day today at my friend Linda's studio.  We were motivating each other to get going on some new work, starting with some monotypes.  As we sat taking a lunch break, I drew some pieces of sculpture that I greatly admire in her collection.  On the left is a ceramic baby figure by Elma Johnson.  On the right is a ceramic woman by Gladys Reineke.

And on this page, two mother and child ceramic pieces, both also by Gladys Reineke.  I love the rough indeterminacy of Reineke's and Johnson's work.  I like the idea of not fixing a living being too firmly in place, because living creatures are never completely still and never really static.  With this idea in mind, I went into the studio and did two monotypes after drawings that I did several weeks ago of Jesse stretching.

The monotype on the right came from a drawing I did of Jesse as he rolled around and stretched.  To make a monotype, I rolled oil paint on a zinc plate with a rubber brayer.  Then using rags, Q-tips, and a blunt stick I moved the paint around, removing some, texturing it in areas, and then adding some with a thin brush.  When the drawing on the plate looked like I wanted it to look, I lay it on the bed of Linda's etching press and put damp printmaking paper over it.  Then I lay the three etching blankets over the plate and paper and ran the whole thing through the press.  The first drawing, which I did in a mix of alizarin crimson and Payne's gray, consisted of a white cat outlined by the color with a few features drawn in.  Next I took the still-inked plate over to the work table and rolled a brayer full of yellow ochre paint over everything.  I then wiped out with a rag and some plate-polishing powder all the areas I wanted to remain white.  I lay the plate down inside the plate mark/borders of the first print and printed this second drawing right over the first print.

The monotype to the left started out as a roll-up of bright red (cadmium red) paint that I then wiped away and drew back into.  The second coat/printing was of yellow ochre paint with some slight wiping.  To draw this print I referred to a drawing that I had done of Jesse stretching luxuriously and then rolling off the bench he was on. 

Both these monotypes were done with the same small zinc plate, around 5 x 7".  It felt great to do them and to work directly in color, using both additive and subtractive processes.  I want to do a few more moving cat monotypes and then translate them into large woodcut prints.

One of the great benefits of this drawing 10,000 project is that I now have a very big collection of ideas to work from, and my drawing skills in making monotypes are so much better, thanks to all that practice, than they were two months ago. 


  1. Fabulous monotypes! I am sure Jesse is very pleased to be the model! I admire your perseverence in doing 10000 drawings!

  2. thanks, Benedicte! the 10,000 has morphed into just a 6 or 7 drawings every day, which has turned out to be a sustainable practice for me. Some days it isn't easy, and then the 10,000 kicks in as a motivator.

  3. Just happened by while surfing the web a bit. Your journal pages are beautiful and elegant. Very pleasing. And your project of 10,000 drawings or 6 or 7 per day is impressive. Your brown paper gives such lovely results as well. Something to think about.
    best from Tunisia,