24 November 2009
As Monty Python would say --
-- and now for something completely different . . .
My last few entries have been such serious topics, so I thought I would do a more light-hearted entry before the holidays ensue.
One art-making process that I have not tried but find fascinating is monotype. My favorite art book is Helen Frankenthaler Prints by Ruth E. Fine, which I pour over several times a year, especially when feeling frustrated and cluttered in the head. The simplicity of the images, the lack of noise and excess marks I find soothing. Yet the combinations of inks, oils and pastels on various papers speak to a complex process that I know little about.
I went to an open studio in Northampton, Massachusetts last weekend, and on display were various prints by students at a local printmaking center. I bought several and plan to take some workshops myself after the holidays. The next day I tried a few small-scale pieces just to see how the materials work. Suffice it to say, the best of the experiment is the one above, which looks very much like a sad Rorschach inkblot!
Learning new methods and new combinations of materials is a humbling experience. It takes one back to square one, to that cognizant level of total ignorance, of stumbling and making mistakes. And yet, often the little grey cells respond and one feels refreshed and recharged.
It's all about navigating these internal maps of discovery, isn't it? Of feeling one's way through the minefields of our own egos, our assumptions, our prejudices. It's like those ancient maps where the edges were filled with monsters and strange creatures. Of course they were! In those days, edges represented blank areas where scary things lurked -- the threatening unknown, the void. I think that's how art and creativity can be sometimes. Huge voids that stare back at us, daring us to do something, anything.
I often think that Melville's Captain Ahab was an artist -- at one point in the novel he rants, "I want to smash my fist through the face of God!"
Well, Moby Dick was white.
Another blank canvas, another empty paper, another blank screen.
Need I say more . . . ?
Happy Turkey Day to everyone -- peace & joy to all -- !