You may remember Gabriel Jules as the subject of one of our “intern perspectives” posts over the summer. The following was written by Gabriel herself about her series of animal monotypes. These small prints are under $100 and make great gifts for bird lovers, dog lovers, cat lovers, llama lovers, frog lovers…you get the idea. These prints are not online and can only be viewed in the gallery, so stop by and see them or email us for more information.
I have long enjoyed the freedom of the subtractive monotype. I start with a plate covered in ink and directly create my image by removing the values I want light. It is an extremely immediate way to work and a great antidote to the exacting and sometimes fussy process of etching. There are trade offs, of course, I cannot get the exquisite detail that an etching can produce or the complex variations and subtleties of tone the aquatint process allows. I can, however, be a lot more spontaneous. If I don’t like what I make, it is no big deal. The plate is unscathed. I start over. This enables me to be more free and the result is an image with greater movement and often humor or some direct emotion.
I am in love with the animal kingdom; pretty much all of it, from spiders and toads to the most elegant creatures of land, sea and air. By in large, I think humans get in their own way most of the time, though I’m very aware of the fact that we too are animals. I have a law degree which I acquired a bit later in life than most attorneys. There came a time when I hit forty that I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life that might possibly earn a decent living. I was quick to point out that had I been good at math and science I’d have been a veterinarian. As it was, I was good at English and the social sciences, so I studied law. I still would have preferred to be a veterinarian. Animals are a lot more honest than most people. We wear masks for much of our lives. Animals don’t. What you see in their eyes, is pretty much what you get. When I create, I am always trying to capture that ineffable “something” about my subject matter. ( I’ll leave for another day the issue of how often that might happen. ) I want to capture a moment in the life of a particular creature. Not just the fleeting and lovely, awkward, humble, proud, ugly, speculative, contemptuous, frightened, happy, or whatever moment, but the audaciously beautiful, surprising, quizzical, and very intimate moment that my subject telegraphs to me. I find that it is such fun to attempt to communicate all these things through the monotypes.
When I look at the natural universe and all that inhabit it I am struck with such awe and wonder that I want to convey what I feel by making these prints. Often I see something that just makes me burst out laughing, or that makes me want to cry. And I would like to share that as well.