Summertime Art


The flowers this summer have me completely at their mercy, I am entralled and overtaken by their voluptuous, verdant beauty. So when my boys decided at the last minute to high tale it over to Kansas to an Edge Of Space Sciences jamboree of sorts (nerds are us!), I checked out the classes at Anderson Ranch and they had a spot left in the monotype printmaking class. I packed the car and four hours later I was in the high altitude town of Snowmass for a week of dedicated art making and flower gaping.


It was the complete opposite of last year. While I was the only rank beginner (very humbling) in the class, I felt at ease exploring this medium of endless possibilities. 


By the end of the week I had a nice little gallery of prints pinned up next to my much appreciated, spacious work space. The print studio at Anderson Ranch is wonderful – two rooms, lots of space and about 4 presses.


For monotypes or monoprints, you work on a plate (this one of plexiglass). I drew with a special pencil from a photo I took in Morocco last spring…


…I then inked up the plate with a combination of rolling the ink and painting with the ink…


…a huge palette to work from…


…then the true moment of magic that may have me hooked for a very long time with this medium – pressing the print. The plate is inked and then you very carefully lay your dampened paper over the print plate and then run it through the press. You really never know what exactly you are going to get. It's the land of not knowing and happy accidents or sometimes NOT. But it's always a surprise and the prints can be run through again with another plate if your happy accident turns out to be just a point of departure for your next print.


Here's how the Moroccan guy turned out. A good experiment with color and perspective in a brand new medium for me.


This is the "ghost" of the first print. It means you just run your plate through a second time with a new piece of paper. I like it too. Very different in feeling and tone from the first print.


This is one of my favorites from the week. I wanted to try a "subtractive" way of printing. I inked up the whole plate with black, red and green – think layers of color. And then I drew into the ink, subtracting ink as I went. I love the simplicity and immediacy of the marks. The color turned out to be kind of a deep eggplant.


After our Tuesday morning demo and art talk, we had 45 minutes to make a print before lunch. Yikes! I'm a slow worker and this assignment pushed me. This is what I did. 


And it's ghost which is very Japanese looking I think.


With this one I was experimenting with a double drop, which is when you run two plates of color onto one piece of paper, one after the other. I used the primrose photos from here, as my inspiration. It's all about flowers for some reason this summer. It was the long winter that starved me for life and color, I just can't get enough of their gorgeousness!!!


And Snowmass and the Ranch kindly indulged my latest jonesing – I got my full fix of transcendent, kodachromatic, living COLOR!!!

5 Responses to Summertime Art

  1. neva says:

    well, i LOVE the print-before-lunch on tuesday, both runs!! i’ve only had about 3 hours making monoprints in one class i’ve taken, and really liked the results. a whole week of work in snowmass, wow…..beautiful!
    smart woman, left home alone, she makes tracks and PRINTS!!

  2. Stephanie says:

    What a wonderful thing to do for yourself!! Looks amazing, you really took to the printing techniques

    thanks for sharing, I’m inspired…I’m thinking gelatin prints

  3. Julie says:

    WHAT FUN!! I love your prints, Fran! Really really fantastic!

  4. Renee says:

    Oh Man Fran! This looks fabulous! Wow – print making with all sorts of COLOR. Love the minimal one where you scratched away the paint. My kind of stuff. Very, very cool! What a great escape week for you!

  5. Leah says:

    And just how will the newly ordered printing press fit in the layout of your new studio??? Love the one that “pushed” you.

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