As the year comes closer to an end I have tried to finish up a few unfinished projects and reflect upon what I have accomplished and what has gone unexpressed . My intention was to at least finish up a small panel of St.Kevin but then the last of my monarch caterpillar went off to seek their fate and my heart was heavy with worry. So to channel that worry I went to work on a drawing , this is the result . The Apparition of the Great Sphinx of the Night
Graphite on paper, approximately 18 by 24″
In 1940 Andre Breton sponsored an exhibition in Mexico City called the International Exhibition of Surrealism; Isabel Marín was dressed in white with a giant butterfly gracing her fine head . It seemed a fitting theme to riff upon while fretting over our dear caterpillars. May the gods watch over them and may they flourish.
Last week I ran a proof for a new print inspired by the Sir Gawain and Green Knight narrative. Initially the print was going to be a multi plate affair, a technique I thought I had mastered somewhat. But after multiple runs I became increasingly dissatisfied with the results ; The Green Knight proofs were consistent only in their inconsistency: the colors were not aligning , the ink was spotty and “snow-flaked”. I strive to achieve consistency when I run a series, something that was drilled into by my instructor Jim. So I decided to turn to a technique that Jim was less than enthusiastic about, pochoir, or more simply , stenciling . Jim felt it not quite printmaking in some way, and I can understand his resistance. Yet, with this technique I was able to accomplish what I was searching for , color, color that was within the defining lines of the image. A certain degree of wonkiness in printmaking can be desirable but what I was producing just looked like I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. This is the final artist’s proof of The Green Knight. He seems particularly suited to the winter holidays.
The Green Knight
pochoir-relief print on paper, artist’s proof
image size 8 by10″
The misalignment that frustrated me is apparent in this image.
I had far preferred the simple black and white print, yet he is the Green knight.
The pochoir process is satisfyingly craft oriented, I was able to utilize techniques and tools from my decorative painting career.
To now have a desk full of proofs is satisfying, I will run a series in the new year, brightening the green and using the darker buff. I am also going to utilize the pochoir technique when I run my recent print The Proposition. I hope to produce prints that are more vibrant AND aligned in the future . At the same time cutting back on production headaches as cutting stencils is far easier than cutting lino. My only new year resolution is to actually make and hopefully sell some prints, pochoir-relief prints may be the answer. Until next time, be well.
After some time away (nearly two years) from this painting of St. Kevin , neglected and relegated to closets and storage boxes , I have at last returned to it. And it seems to be painting itself. I’m calling it a night as the beasties are getting restless, but this is why I paint, those rare moments of paint gliding across the surface and all is well with the world.
I look forward to returning to this painting, I hope the magic continues.
Just made what is most likely the final cuts to this plate for a new print The Green Knight. It will be a two color print, green of course , but for now, a satisfying image. Now off to tend to the beasties.