what and why
I have been a printmaker for 35 years, and although I have worked in all the variations of printmaking, it is basic etching that I continue to focus on. It is the medium that seems to fall most naturally into my hands. I have a portfolio of over 85 etchings; they represent a wide range of interests. The subjects I have chosen for my artwork, which includes colored pencil drawings and acrylic paintings, have always been quite varied.
In creating an etching, the next print may be a scene that interests me, or a subject I find to be visually unusual. My prints might make a subtle commentary or portray a familiar landscape. Quite often an idea for an image just comes to my mind unexpectedly. Rather that ‘rein in’ all these ideas, I tend to trust my instincts, grab that latest idea and decide how I will proceed to make it into a print. A strong idea usually translates into a successful image.
Moving these subjects from an idea all the way to printing is a relatively direct process for me. I might draw the image directly on a plate with very little pre-planning or sketching. But, if the idea lends itself to a more complicated process, more planning will come first. The resulting final print might still be a long exploratory process, with unexpected problems to solve. It is a medium that requires a relaxed patience.
Over the past few years, I have been exploring related processes to create more complex prints. A recent interest has been monoprints, which combine various types of printmaking such as photo etching, to create a final artwork. And, I have recently “retired” from creating woodcuts, but I am doing more works in the medium of block printing.
I try to remain loosely structured in my approach to printmaking, because the technical skills required could easily overwhelm the spontaneity we all want to have in creating art.
My favorite subjects for colored pencil work are people with a strong, focused intensity. I am fascinated by this strength and I enjoy capturing it on paper.
I look to portray elements of power and fearlessness, as seen in the physical strength of athletes …… or the purposeful strength in the grim determination of a group of firefighters…… or the strength of character in the boldness and charisma of talented performers such as musicians and actors.
Through their actions, efforts and performances, these people can influence us to change our lives.
The strength of their ability to do this is the focus of these drawings.
I find intense subjects to be well suited to colored pencil. In this, more than any other medium, my focus on detail becomes similar to the intensity of the subjects. We both give maximum effort to achieve the desired results.
This art is where I let loose and go. It feels like I am using a different part of my brain-- it is a complete contrast to the discipline required in etching, and a relaxed opposite to the concentration required in colored pencil. I re-learn what color can do and un-learn structure. Fun!