The color monotypes on display for Observations are the results of my experimenting with a working method that is new to me. They are executed by working up an image in oil-based ink on a sheet of glass that is 59 x 35 x 5/16 and transferring the image to full sheets (22 x 30) of printmaking paper by hand rubbing the back of the paper. I rely on a studio assistant to help with much of the cumbersome handling of full sheets of dampened paper, heavy glass and large improvised rollers. The result, as the name monotype suggests, is a one-of-a-kind work. The rest of the pieces in the show, roughly half, are watercolors.
What I find interesting is that despite the two very different media, displayed side-by-side, it is surprisingly hard to tell which is which. The work was done during roughly the same time period and I think the show hangs together as a unified body of work. Not unexpectedly, the subject matter throughout remains consistent, mostly landscape featuring rural scenes from the time I have spent living in Virginia and Colorado. A little surprisingly though, given the fact that the monotype medium doesn’t lend itself readily to time-consuming detail, the range of realism is also fairly consistent. Some watercolor passages do display a capacity to be more focused than the monotypes, which by contrast lean towards an energetic spontaneity at times. One unintentional, but welcome quality of this set of monotypes, is the diffused airiness of their light, a trait they may have acquired as a result, at least in part, to their having been hand rubbed onto slightly textured western papers rather than the thinner smooth-surfaced oriental papers more commonly used with hand rubbed prints.