Monthly Archives: November 2010

More About Monotypes

World of Molecules
World of Molecules by Mary Gow

To continue from yesterday’s posting about monotypes, here’s more of what Frank Howell had to say about monotypes:

Monotypes, as we are familiar with them, became relatively common late in the nineteenth century but the technical knowledge to create them has existed about as long as the intaglio process which dates from the fifteenth century. Although the means to create the monotype existed, the potential of its practice awaited the artists and artistic conditions necessary for it to emerge. The first known reference to the monotype was early in the nineteenth century.

Although certainly not the first artist to use the monotype, the greatest innovator and practitioner of the medium in the nineteenth century was Edgar Degas. Degas did more than any other artist to make the monotype an important and viable medium for artistic expression. In only a little over fifteen years of exploration of the medium, Degas created over four hundred and fifty monotypes. His perception and sense of experimentation gave to artists and the world insights into color, light and spontaneity unique to the monotype.

Monotypes, because of their innate uniqueness as a printed painting of which there is only one, are an important addition to any fine art collection.

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A Monotype from a Look Back

Window at the Dakota (monotype)
Window at the Dakota (monotype) by Mary Gow

This is a monotype I made using the photograph that appeared on yesterday’s post. I made this one by painting directly on a thin sheet of plexiglass, which was then put on a printing press. Paper is placed on top of the plate and the press is rolled over it.

Frank Howell explained monotypes very well:

Monotypes, described simply, are printed paintings or drawings. These unique works of art, executed in ink or oil paint, prior to transferring to paper via a printing press, record clearly the artist’s painterly and adventurous manipulations of pigment on a surface of metal or Plexiglas while creating an image.

In terms of technique, the monotype is the simplest form of printmaking, requiring only pigments, a surface on which to apply them, paper and some form of press. Traditional forms of printmaking like woodcut, etching, engraving or lithography involve much more complex processes of physically or chemically cutting or fixing an image in wood, metal or stone so that it may be inked and printed repeatedly.

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Looking Back

Window at the Dakota
Window at the Dakota by Mary Gow

A recent Public Broadcasting Station show was about the life of the musician and former Beatle, John Lennon. This reminded me of an image I am re-posting in case you didn’t see it the first time around. it’s a window at the historic Dakota building which is at 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York, where Lennon lived the last years of his life.

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Why Think in Themes

I enjoy creating paintings, photographs, photograms, monotypes and mixed media. Looking at other artists such as successful musicians – I see that they produce CDs with snazzy appealing covers packaged with a theme. Why not think more like a rock star and in terms of producing 12 to 20 pieces on a focused topic?

What’s on the cover of your upcoming CD/release? When’s your next show/opening? What’s it about?

Check out this article by Jane Hart for more about themes and some that have been entertained: “What’s in a Theme? A Compelling Exhibition Theme Can Invigorate Artists and Collectors Alike.”

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