Category Archives: Workshops

How and Why to Do Black and White in Monotypes

“Say, it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea”

-A Paper Moon, Billy Rose/ E.Y.Harburg/Harold Arlen

This image relates to memory and the way we move through it.
“Man With Torch”, Monotype, 30×42″, 2004. In this large monotype, black and white each define both positive and negative elements. White forms the infinite misty negative space behind the smoke and the water, for example, but also defines highlights on the water, and billows in the smoke. Charred trees foregrounded in black are silhouetted against distant grays and brown blacks. Similar values used in multiple compositional structures can make for dynamic graphics.

Color is an integral component of all art. We regularly talk of “color” when describing sounds in music, for example.

But in talking color in art, we often forget the two colors that are not considered colors at all: black and white. Managing black and white in ink on paper composition is at the very core of composing good prints.

For one thing, there is the subtractive nature of light in printmaking. As with any sort of color involving pigment, the addition of the pigment subtracts various wavelengths of light from those being reflected back to the eye. Unlike additive color such as projected light, where addition of more color eventually results in bright white, in subtractive color, you tend toward black. And in the thin applications of ink under pressure inherent in printmaking, it’s not possible to completely cover most inks. The most white space, and thus light, you will ever see in a print is in the blank piece of paper you tear before printing anything. Everything thing you do from then on only reduces the amount of light in your composition.

It’s also true to a certain extent, of watercolor, though many water colorists can cover with Chinese white ink, or gouache in their paintings to bring back the white areas. There is a very nice show of  Charles Burchfield pictures at the Denver Art Museum now where you can find wonderful examples of that. Print makers can certainly add opaque water media such as acrylic paint or even pastel to a print, making it a hand colored print, but in its essence as something run through a press and thus presented as something graphic and in some way repeatable (monotypes are not strictly repeatable, though a ghost can be made, which has very unique advantages in itself, explained here). So white is a valuable visual resource in the print room. And in managing the sorts of positive/negative relationships that bold graphics and dynamic compositions often depend on, it is indispensable.

Its material opposite and spiritual twin is black. While both can evoke a void or an infinity, and each bring definition to shape, as in chiaroscuro, only black can be physically applied in a pure state in printing. And it cannot be taken away. White is just the opposite, and thus becomes almost sculptural. It is fun to work with white inks, but even “opaque” white does not cover nearly as well as black. The best example of this is in scratchboard-style composing such as seen in the monotypes of Castiglione, their inventor, who recently had a show at the DAM.

It thus becomes very important in monotype printmaking to be “present”. One must have a good sense of where the light in a given composition is “coming from” and where it is going. Transitions from white to black and from positive to negative space create compositional movement and intrigue. This is true in any medium, of course, but in print media it cannot be corrected, and must be planned for. A monotype can be layered with great subtlety, tones shifting almost miraculously into hues as complex as many oil paintings, but the white slips away with each run as relentlessly as melting snow. It’s true whether the composition is abstract or realistic, hard-edged or gestural, baroque or minimal.

So having a sense of balance and proportion is vital, even if balance is accomplished with one shining burst of light in the darkness. In the most poetic sense, the two need each other, as the Bible, and artists from Rembrandt to Escher to Motherwell remind us. Because that bit of light may be where your viewer’s eyes enter your picture.  And the finest pin prick may be where they move after that, and how they are led through your composition, searching and constellating as with stars on a dark night. Eyes bring light to the synapses, and their movement is analogous to interest and engagement in the viewer. Grays and blacks can be compelling and dynamic, and a dark composition can create real mystery but there is a danger of busy-ness or a visual claustrophobia when there is too much of a grayness in a print, and if there is real depth or motion in your monotype, a bright graphic electricity, the chances are that the white is shining through somewhere like a big paper moon.

Fall News

_dsc8170-fwdcopyFall Doings:

I’ve got a lot going on this fall, after a quiet summer. I hope to see you for one of these events.

Workshops:  I’ve still got a couple coming up this fall. The next session of  Monotypes For Advanced Beginners begins October 25 and runs until just before Thanksgiving. This is a follow-up class to my Monotypes For Beginners workshop and is intended for people with at least some printmaking experience. It covers some more advanced techniques, such as larger work and Chine Colle, and is a bit more studio-oriented. There are still spots open, if you’d like to squeeze in some creative “me” time, or get a start on some hand-made holiday gifts. I also have one more Moxie U Monotypes sampler, on October 13. There are still spots open for that, too. Online registration is here.

 I’ve added an evening session of my Monotypes for Beginners workshop

The biggest news is in the upcoming spring schedule, where I’ll be getting off to an earlier start, and running a bit later, as I’ve added an evening session of My Monotypes For Beginners workshop. I’ll have a Session B of Monotypes For Beginners, beginning  April  4 on Tuesday evenings and it will run for 5 weeks, making it very affordable. It filled up very quickly the last two times I’ve given it, and I’ve also had quite a bit of feedback that more evening sessions would be welcome. This affects younger people who have to work, and teachers looking for development credit, which is available at the League. In all, there are more of my workshops of various sizes and times available this spring.  I’ll post a complete list at JoeHigginsMonotypes.com, or you can search and register online at ASLD.org

One of my favorite places for a demo

 

I have a free Demo and Dialogue at Meininger Artist Materials on  November 5 at 2 -4 PM. This is a Denver Arts Week event, and a great way to preview what you might expect in a workshop, or get a peek into my process.  Their set-up is viewer friendly, and the crowd is usually quite lively and full of questions and comments, so it’s one of my favorite places for a demo. You also get a 20% Off coupon for supplies!

I have two upcoming holiday shows: at Open Press, a Denver Arts Week event, opening Friday,  November 11, 6-9 PM, with a  First Friday event on December 2, 6-9 PM. Mark Lunning’s Open Press is a center for Denver printmaking for 30 years, so the show will feature some of the area’s best print work. I should be there both at the opening and First Friday, if you want to chat and say hello.  It runs through December, with gallery hours 12-5 every Saturday, or by appointment at 303.778.1115.

There is also a holiday show at G44 Gallery, in Colorado Springs, beginning  November 18.  You can buy selected works online through their website, and here on JoeHigginsMonotypes.com. Appointments to see work are available. Email or call 720.855.7340.

I hope all of you have a wonderful autumn, and a great Holiday/Solstice season!

A Brief Essay on How and Why to Make Monotypes

"Red Place", 2016, 20x13". It was built on a leafy yellow ghost image, with the green being a second layer, and the red being a final layer to highlight the negative/positive dichotomy of the chair. There is a sense, to me, that being "present" or truly in a "place" sometimes requires one to empty the mind.
“Red Place”, 2016, 20×13″. It was built on a leafy green ghost image, with the red being a final layer to highlight the negative/positive dichotomy of the chair. There is a sense, to me, that being “present” or truly in a “place” sometimes requires one to empty the mind.

Monotypes, though simple, are very process-oriented and often defeat results-oriented art making. Change is built in to the creative process, and often, until change is addressed, satisfying prints don’t happen.

We’ve let the word “print” become degraded and we often reflexively see them as a way of producing imitation paintings. The medium especially in recent decades, has outgrown the limitations of making additive paintings in ink, which date mainly to Ab-Ex days, and are a valid pursuit, but hardly cover all that monotype has to offer as a medium. The essence of printmaking is in subtraction and replication. The only form of (near) replication available to a monotype artist is the ghost impression.

The ghost occupies a role in printmaking that is unique to all of artistic expression. It is a post mortem on your original idea, retroactively half-baked, almost, but never quite, a mockery. It points the way to subtractive composition, and the clarity that comes of removing distraction. It contains info, attitude and atmospherics that the artist did not actively put there. It is a by product of a mechanization of the creative process.

It is the ghost in the machine.

A ghost, in printmaking, is a second, generally fainter impression using ink left over on a plate from which the intended first impression has been made. Degas would use these as a matrix for pastel drawings. But it can be layered over, partially or wholly, with variant imagery too, and in pulling ghosts from these variations, monotype’s potential for exploring a single idea quickly becomes exponential, dwarfing the usual, binary, pass/fail equation of the initial image to suggest multiple new ideas and implications. It is rich with suggestion in a creative sense, and its suggestions can easily be seen as subtexts, alternate iterations. or even pre-conscious speculations on the original image/idea.

Thus it takes on a (creative) life of its own, and enters an active conversation with the artist’s own inner monologues, turning it into a rich dialogue. And it often turns out that the ghost side of the conversation may know the artist’s mind better than the artist himself does. It certainly provides an opportunity to continue the conversation, and on a practical level, offers an escape route should the original print fail. It can provide vital feedback. Our ideas can be unworkable, half-baked, or even “not good ideas.” Creative block can ensue.

In case of creative block the ghost can provide a way forward. to “distract” is to perplex and bewilder, in an archaic sense. Its roots are in Latin “to draw apart.” It is a fragmentation of, rather than an imposition on, the creative impulse and in exploring ghost variants we can move physically toward the obstacle and engage its many implications, rather than meekly “going back to the drawing board”.

Monotypes do not eliminate the need for vision and planning. If anything, they quickly expose a lack of it. Vision is not retrospective, one does not “fix” a vision (whether in the sense of “holding” or “repairing”), and if one tries it quickly becomes overworked and imprecise. “Precision” means “exact and accurate” but its roots are in the Latin “to cut off”. The implication is that the longer an idea is worked and re-worked, the less sharp and exact it becomes.

Time is of the essence in monotypes, not in the sense of hurry, but in the sense of being present and alert. And being present, we are realizing in this very distracted life, is the ultimate creative act.

Summertime Update

Sincere thanks, as always, to the folks who came by during the Art Students League Summer Art Market a couple of weekends ago. It’s always a fun show, and this was another successful one. It’s also a lot of work and often comes during the year’s first full-on heat wave, as did this year’s, so I rewarded myself with a week’s vacation on the back porch with a stack of new reading material. So I haven’t posted, but expect a book post soon; it’s already being written.

I also hied myself down to the DAM for a first peek at the “Women in Abstract Expressionism” show that is attracting a significant amount of national attention. I wanted to get in while the conversation is still just beginning, and I’m joining it soon with a post of first impressions which may be posted here as quickly as a day or two, as I’m in the final edits with that.

My Summer workshops have started again. Most are sold out, but one, “Monotypes for Advanced Beginners“, starting in July, still has space left at last check. It’s intended for people with recent printmaking experience, so contact me if you are in doubt.  If you missed out on one of the others, the Fall schedule for those will be confirmed, and posted here in not too long.

I’ve tentatively added a free Meininger’s Demo and Dialogue to the schedule for November’s Denver Arts Week. I’ll post on the Workshops page when I confirm date and time. I don’t have a lot of free stuff going on this year, but the Meininger demos are real fun, with a great space and usually a good crowd, so I thought you should know.

I hope you are having a great beginning of Summer!

 

 

Workshops, Shows and Free Stuff Scheduled for Spring ’16

It has been a busy beginning to 2016, and I’ve neglected to post in a while. It’s been a good start to what looks to be a hopeful, transformative year.

I’ll post upcoming ASLD classes, library workshops and samplers here. You can find all of the various links on that page.

"Sex Worker", Monotype, 30x22", 2014. This piece about women's stereotypes is included in the 2016 "Pressing Matters" show juried by Master Printmaker Bud Shark. More info in the post below.
“Sex Worker”, Monotype, 30×22″, 2014. This piece about women’s stereotypes is included in the 2016 “Pressing Matters” show juried by Master Printmaker Bud Shark. More info in the post below.

A couple
Of notes:
This Spring’s DPL workshops will be the last of the year, as I’ll probably take a break from those over Summer and Fall. They’re free, so they’re the best way to try monotypes.

The MoxieU classes are very affordable and allow you to experience the League’s gorgeous print room. Sorry, the one scheduled this term rather quickly sold out, and I guess I’ll need to try and schedule more of these in coming terms. Contact the League at 303-778-6990 if you’d like to be on a waiting list, as cancellations do happen.
The regular workshops have been divided into two lower cost sections for beginners and advanced beginners. The Monotypes for Beginners section is filling fast, so I would register quickly if you’d like to take it.

The Monotypes for Advanced Beginners is intended to provide a more studio-oriented atmosphere for people who have taken Monotypes for Beginners or who have printmaking experience from another class or school. Please contact me if you have questions about this workshop. There are still spots open.

I have a one day, Monotype Sampler workshop on Saturday, May 14th, for people who can’t do weekdays. Very affordable at $67.50 (members). It’s a 6-hour intro, and most can get several small prints done in that time. There are spots still open.

There is a free demo planned for Saturday, March 19th, 1-2:30 PM at Meininger Art Supply on Broadway. Their set up is gorgeous and viewer-friendly with overhead mirrors and a P.A. system and comfortable seats, so you don’t have to strain to see and hear. A discount coupon for supplies is included.
I have several shows coming up this spring and I’ll put up a separate page for show/event info soon. Many are part of the Month of Printmaking Colorado fest, and I’ll be at many of the other MoPrint events, as I’m on the organizing committee. So let’s schmooze! I’m expecting to be in four shows this Spring:

“Print Educators of Colorado”, Space Gallery, Opens Feb 25th.

“Pressing Matters”, Juried by Bud Shark, Art Students League, 200 Grant St. Opens March 12th.

“Planting the Seeds: Pedagogy in Print”, The Corner Gallery, Lakewood Cultural Center, Opens:  TBA (March)

“Summer Art Market”,  200 Block, Grant St, June 11-12. I will again be showing with monotype artist Taiko Chandler.
I also have a couple of nearly complete pop culture posts in the can, and I’ll put those up soon. One is a review of “Pretty Deadly” by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is leading the breakthrough for women creators in the heretofore embarrassingly male dominated comics field. The other is a pet project; a close reading of a favorite Beatles song.
I think it will be a good year, and I wish you a prosperous and hope filled 2016.

Doings and Viewings, Hodgings and Podgings

2015-11-13 12.37.52

The entrance to the new Wizard's Chest store next to Meininger's Art Supply. I'm working on murals inside. It's hard to get real good pics until the electricians have installed the light fixtures. Right now we're working with painter's lights and the skylights.
The entrance to the new Wizard’s Chest store next to Meininger’s Art Supply, and a detail of one of the murals  I’m working on inside. It’s hard to get real good pics until the electricians have installed the light fixtures. Right now we’re working with painter’s lights and the existing skylights.

 

I’ve had a busy fall, as noted. Here are some of the things I’m working on.

Holiday Shows: Most artists here do at least one holiday show because they sell. Small works go well during the holidays, and $2-300 extra cash during the season is never unwelcome. Small, interesting galleries also depend on this yearly cash infusion. I’m in two:

Open Press, 40 S. Bayaud Ave, Denver. Opens Friday, November 20, 6-9 PM. I have several framed and unframed pieces there, and there are a number of other good artists in the show, some of whom are present and former students of OP proprietor Mark Lunning, and coincidentally, myself. I’ll be there for part of the evening.

G44 Gallery, 1785 S. 8th St, Colorado Springs. Opens Friday November 20, 5:30-8:30 PM. A small gallery in the Broadmoor Hotel area that has really made an impact in the Springs’ reviving contemporary art scene. I’ve recently brought down several new framed and unframed works for this show.

I’m also in a non-holiday themed show at the Arts Students League, 200 S. Grant, Denver. Opens November 20, 5:30-8:30 PM. “From Process to Print” Shows both a finished print and the plate or material associated with its production, and features ASLD faculty members and students. I’ll be here too, in the earlier part of the evening, chatting with several of the students from my “Monotypes for Advanced Beginners” workshop just completed, who are also in the show. I’m showing one of my recent drypoint etchings with the plate. If you’d like to track my shows or whereabouts on this or any other night, you can follow me on Twitter @Hggns.

I have one more free Denver Public Library workshop (click “Workshops”, above), and the registration for a whole host of Spring workshops, including the second session of Monotypes for Advanced Beginners, designed to provide a studio-type atmosphere for those who would like to build a portfolio or resume, is now available online or at the ASLD office. The ASLD has a discount offer running if you register before the New Year.

I’ve mentioned the temp jobs I take to catch up on bills and debt. The latest one is a bit different- I’m executing fantasy murals and wall decoration for Lonnie Hanzon, the artist designing the interior of the new Wizard’s Chest toy and magic store on Broadway, in the Baker area. It’s pretty fun. I’m taking a lot of pictures and I’ll assemble an album at some point, but if you want to see what’s going on right now, you can follow me on Instagram @JoeHigginsMonotypes.

And sometime in the spring, I’ll be doing a public talk about a recent graphic novel. I just found out about it, and I’ll post more details soon. I’ve been writing a lot about comics lately- by design- so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say.

Reading List:

Fall of the House of West, Paul Pope: This is the second part of two. I also read The Rise of Aurora West last month. These are spinoffs, with Pope as cowriter and Spanish cartoonist David Rubin as illustrator, of Pope’s Battling Boy GN from 2013. It’s more of a Young Adult type of effort, or has at least been received that way by libraries and reviews. But it’s fast paced and compelling, despite being a prequel to Battling Boy, and thus involving characters already known to be dead. Pope has a gift for simple youth-versus-monster story lines, and Rubin evokes Pope’s iconic loose, gestural ink style without overtly copying it.

Ant Colony, Michael Deforge: Surreal, horrifying and engagingly cute all at once, this is the story of two ants’ turbulently transforming lives after their colony goes to war. Deforge’s schematic scribblings and acidic bubblegum colors create a landscape both alien and seductive in which his characters act out eternal dichotomies of love and fear, searching and aggression.

Stroppy, Marc Bell: Melding the classic comics sensibilities of E.C. Segar (Popeye), and Milt Gross ( He Done Her Wrong), with the underground sensibilities of Jay Lynch (Snappy Sammy Smoot) and R. Crumb, (Mr. Natural) and never forgetting the dystopian slapstick of punk comics genius Gary Panter (Jimbo), Marc Bell  weaves a nevertheless very original tale of futuristic tribalism. The Candide-like Stroppy suffers job loss, beatings and indignities as the innocent victim of rival factions’ power struggles. It all ends happily, with Stroppy, now homeless, back to his soul-destroyingly boring and insecure job.

I’ve got a couple of longer, pop culture posts I’m working on, so I should be posting fairly regularly during the holidays. One will be on books and reading, another on a favorite song from my youth. So check back.

 

Updated Workshop Info and Upcoming Holiday Shows

Denver Arts Week! I'll be very active.
Denver Arts Week! I’ll be very active.

Free Demo and Dialogue! If you are curious about the sorts of techniques and ideas I cover in my workshops, why not come see for yourself, Saturday, November 7, 11 Am-12:30 PM in the spacious ASLD print room. It’s non-hands on; I’ll be making a couple of different prints and answering questions, and you get a 20% Off coupon at Meininger! More info here.

I’ve updated the Workshops page with all current and Spring class info. Please check it out! I’ll post about Holiday shows in Denver, at Open Press; and in Colorado Springs at G44 Gallery beginning soon.

Hue and Cry

This monotype of the snow fences on  Wyoming Route 287 near the Colorado border is headed for a new home in the new COBank office- my first public collection. I loved the color when I made it, though I often wish I'd opted for a quieter sky. My excuse was that the sky is rarely quiet there, but it can be hard to compete with Mother Nature's gory, especially in Wyoming.
This monotype of the snow fences on Wyoming Route 287 near the Colorado border is headed for a home in the new COBank office- my first public collection. I loved the color when I made it, though I often wish I’d opted for a quieter sky. My excuse is that the sky is rarely quiet there- wind-torn clouds, high plains squalls and a spooky propensity for drastic climatic mood shifts as you cross into the northernmost square state are the rule on that trip, which I’ve made many times. But it can be hard to capture Mother Nature’s spacious  glory, especially in Wyoming. The photographer at the time also never got a handle on the colors, the original file is garish and I had to fiddle to get it back to a better match with the original piece. 

It’s a rainy day here, though it can’t really be called dreary. After a fairly spectacular Indian Summer, the trees are in full color, and the grass is still green. The colors tend to play off the silvery sky in surprising ways.

I’ve settled into a fall routine centered around my workshop. I’ve tried something different this year, splitting the eight week workshop into two segments, the first tailored to the needs of beginners- basic printroom procedures, paper  tearing, ink mixing, etc. The second I wanted to create a project-oriented studio atmosphere for those who’ve learned the basics, and want to professionalize in some way- building a portfolio, executing a thematic series, entering shows, etc.

I’m very pleased with the mix of artists in the new workshop. They seem exactly the sort of artists I was hoping would join. On the first day, started with color.

I find myself helping people with color. Color is complex and very technical, which is not what people sometimes want from their art classes. They want to open up the tube and have the perfect color come out, as in a computer paint program. But mixing color in a studio is still probably the best way to understand color. And that understanding is necessary to achieve unique, engaging color schemes. So to get people mixing, I need a fairly brief and basic intro that still allows people to get pretty immediate results.

To do this I’ve now settled on a rather drastic condensation of my dimly recalled college design course, and a real time demo that involves mixing colors then printing a monotype using that very limited color palette. I’m not at all sure I qualify as an expert, but I seem to have at least thought about these things more than most beginning or returning artists. I’ve gotten better at it- to the extent that it feels fairly concise and logical when I outline it, and people don’t sit there scratching their heads, and are often able to get some fairly balanced color compositions pretty soon after I present it. The whole thing takes about an hour to explain and demonstrate, and pretty much sums up my teaching “style” or “philosophy” which is to fairly briefly touch on art’s more complex problems (composition, color, value, expressive mark-making, etc) then get out of the way and let the artists wrestle with it on their own (with some more kibbitzing on my part). These more technical, or “plastic” concerns do often provide opportunities to discuss art’s meanings: an image of similar-sized objects in a row may suggest a rhythm, whether uniform and machine-like or staccato and musical, whereas diagonals suggest movement; A palette of cool colors can seem emotionally distant or ambivalent while a mix of warm and cool has a tendency to dance in the eye.

It is eye movement in the viewer, I always maintain, that is analogous to visual interest and emotional engagement. There are no rules for which colors to use to achieve this, as color is almost always understood in the context of other colors, but there are very definitely rules for how to get rich and vibrant colors and balanced color schemes. Good memorable color, to me, is like rare, great beauty- it’s almost always at least slightly transgressive. Sophia Lauren had a rather prominent nose. Peter O’Toole had noticeably thick lips. And Picasso’s early “Blue Period”, sometimes ascribed to a lack of funds for any other pigments, actually continued well into his career, in the form of the cooled down tones of the breakthrough cubist years and the sun bleached palette and cerulean beach scenes of his “classicist” period.

Color gets taken for granted, but compare September’s golden afternoons with a grey October day and see how it rules our moods, our sense of time, memory and well being, and the whole of our relationship with light and dark, the primal psychological spectrum that lurks beneath our dreams and rational thought.

Time Machine

Do you Instagram? If so, follow me at @JoeHigginsMonotypes. I enjoy posting Instagrams from museums, where there are often many architectural subjects to explore. This one was taken at the Clifford Still Museum.
Do you Instagram? If so, follow me at @JoeHigginsMonotypes. I enjoy posting Instagrams from museums, where there are often many architectural subjects to explore. This one was taken at the Clifford Still Museum.

September! It’s the best month for a vacation, don’t you think? When I had a regular job, I always reserved a couple of weeks in September for traveling, or just for hanging around the house or in museums. But one casualty of the creative life is often free time. Make no mistake- I’m free to schedule my time, and I enjoy that. But the necessity of creating cash flow to pay off previous health, framing or other business costs when sales don’t cover them often leads to a lack of unscheduled  time, especially during prime months.

Today is a beautiful day and an unexpected day off. My temp job at the bookstore will not need me to cover vacations till next week. I am trying to catch up a few tasks today, and then I’m giving myself a vacation, too. I’ll need it! I have another job coming behind this one that will be interesting- fabricating art for installations here and in other cities. But it will again make downtime scarce.

Artists also need to schedule studio time, and it’s easy to put on the back burner, especially when paying debts off. But again, the ability to give myself regular studio time doesn’t feel like obligation- it feels like freedom. It’s necessary, and art work suffers when I don’t print regularly, but creative hours don’t constrain the mind; they actually stretch it.

I’m lucky- and grateful- that some of my various part-time jobs actually help me to engage my creative life. I checked my 4-week monotype workshop and it just barely filled. So vacation postponed for Tuesday, and part of Wednesday too, as I have a DPL workshop at Schlessman Library that evening. However, the workshops will be a return to art in an unusually important sense for me. I recently alluded to the notion of writing about books in my posts to process what they mean to me. The same is true of teaching printmaking. My monotype workshops are intended to address the frustrations of trying to incorporate our creative lives into our daily lives. With that in mind, I try to engender a spirit of camraderie, exploration and spontaneity into the proceedings all while trying to instill disciplined habits and a professional manner in the print room. When there are 7 fellow artists in one studio, one must be mindful. But that mindfulness is a precious gift, to me.

I’m usually rusty after a break from studio anyway ( it’s been over 3 months) so the simple physical act of making demo prints and re-establishing good print room habits is valuable in the sense that body memory is a useful physical discipline. But the conversation will also help me get my mind back to my real work as well. In helping others solve creative problems, I’ll loosen up my own creative muscles. I often stay after my class and work on my own things – I have the ink and tools out anyway. I’m hoping to hit the ground running this fall and produce some large work. I’ll try to post more about my various projects this fall, though I really love the book blurbs too, so I’ll be posting those, as well.

But Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week I’m putting down to reading, museums, soccer and puttering about the house. The weather should be good, and my last big paycheck will arrive Friday. It’s been a long, productive summer (except art making) so I’m going to reap my reward: time. Studio time is as valuable as a glass of wine and a good book in warm golden September sun, and I’m going to try to get a little of both before the first frost hits.

 

 

Workshops Updated

A quick note to call your attention to two additional free Denver Public Library Monotype Workshops that have been confirmed: The first is at Hadley Branch, 1890 S. Grove, at 5 PM this Monday, April 20.

The second is at  Hampden, 9755 E. Girard Ave. from 6-7:30. It’s on Tuesday, May 5.

The workshops are open to the public, both kids and adults, and all materials are provided, though bringing an old shirt or an apron is optional. We get a lot of kids, and I love the idea of helping a busy mom or dad sneak off for some time among the stacks after they drop off the kids, but it can be pretty rewarding for everyone when they work on art together, so I encourage that.  Sometimes the adults are actually at another table in the very same room, participating in other DPL programs, such as on English as a Second Language, or immigration issues, which gives a glimpse into what an important institution the Library is today.

I also like to see adults without kids drop by. Thats rarer, but a diversity of ages and ethnicities at the table makes for a memorable time for me, at least. I keep the process very simple, due to time constraint, but if you have considered paying for an Art Students League class to jumpstart your muse, then this might be a way to sample the basics first. I should point out that it’s not all about me! There are actually 9-10 other ASLD instructors out and about at different DPL branches each month, so check that out. It’s a partnership between the DPL and ASLD under the Library’s “Plaza” program. Schedules are available at the participating libraries.

I’m updating my “Workshops” page with this info, and with the summer sessions I have on offer at the League in the just-released Summer Catalog. Bookmark and join us sometime. It makes for great, relaxing conversation and new friends.

Two monotypes by  a young girl who attended the last monotype workshop at the brand, spankin' new Rodolfo Gonzales branch in March. I apologize for the hurried snapshot, but this was one of the busier workshops, and the kids do like to get busy!
Two monotypes by a young girl who attended the last monotype workshop at the brand, spankin’ new Rodolfo Gonzales branch in March. I apologize for the hurried snapshot, but this was one of the busier workshops, and the kids do like to get busy!