Friday, November 28, 2014


Judith Brodie's book Yes, no, maybe: Artists working at Crown Point Press arrived earlier this week and has provided hours of stimulation and fascination. I have to remember that the works included in it are largely etching-based, and use materials and techniques that go far beyond monotype. But the book creates fantasies in my head (the section on Diebenkorn and his work is particularly captivating), out of which grew an idea for interpreting my "Colorado Plateau strata" concept through the monotype process. So today I gave it a try.

The process was long, partly because I was feeling my way and partly because, well, it just took a long time. I began by creating three templates (for lack of a better term) using tracing paper. The three are shown layered on top of each other above. The first was a drawing (right) from one of the maps in Ancient landscapes of the Colorado Plateau of Pangaea, the "super-continent" that existed between 300,000 and 100,000 years ago. As that huge land mass began to break apart, the section that became the Four Corners region began its journey to where I live now. The second template was a tracing of the Fremont River and its tributary creeks, from a USGS map of our county. The third was a rendition of an imaginary segmented cliff face (the magenta composition in the final print, below left).

I then created a 12"x14" plate for each of the templates in turn, using the subtractive method. I coated each plate with, sequentially, pale gray, pale brown, and quinacridone magenta, then removed ink with paper towels and cotton swabs to leave only the lines of each image I was rendering. I ran each plate sequentially onto a piece of damp BFK Rives paper to produce the final result.

I can't say that this is a final work, as far as I am concerned, but I did achieve what I had hoped to do. It is a basis on which I think I can build toward that illusive imagined series of prints that reflect my strata theme: multiple passes through the press creating physical strata on the print itself, and images on the plates that also reflect the various aspects of the geology of this place where I live.

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