Archives for category: Monoprints

Recycled drawings, prints, collage and mixed media on paper patchwork.


Second day of work on the wall drawing.

Second day of work on the wall drawing.

Panorama of the wall drawing

Second day on the big wall drawing. What did I do? I put up some more card and took some of the drawing down from yesterday. I painted two pieces of paper with yellow acrylic. I painted a canvas out with yellow acrylic. I painted a big book on the card with yellow acrylic. I added some bits here and there with yellow acrylic. I rolled out some water based ink on a piece of perspex and I made five mono-prints fairly rapidly. I made two of these onto the primed yellow papers.

I did this with every sign of knowing what I was doing and I suppose I sort of do. I found the diagram of what I had intended in the space. It had been photocopied and then forgotten so I pinned it up on the wall. Despite expecting to do some ceramics I am pretty much doing what I intended. I do know what I am doing in that I am guying my creative process into action by throwing a lot of stuff at the wall, fairly literally. There is a degree of arrangement going on, following on from some things I have seen recently so the roll of card and the blank yellow canvas and the green rectangle of plastic are in the right places. There’s a palette knife taped on which is an ironic comment on the work I saw in Outpost yesterday. There were three big constructions on the wall with very careful arrangements of stuff on them. This was very carefully done and initially quite startling. They had the look of some sort of point of sale display done by someone who didn’t know what they were selling exactly and had probably taken some drugs. The arrangements were ‘fetishising the aesthetic’ apparently so I was fetishising the aesthetic of the palette knife by careful taping on. These works weren’t as good as they thought they were, really. Thinking about it. The paint handling on the copies of the photographs was quite poor and whilst it is always difficult in this sort of work to tell if that is ‘deliberate’ or not it really needed to be as slick as the rest of the presentation. And the drawings weren’t very interesting. So, despite the strategies involved I was unconvinced by the work this morning. Int he notes the artist also referred to thinking that one can make work about identity or a self-portrait in a traditional sense to be absurd and shameful, in some sense. Well, that’s me told anyway. I am still trying to work out what he means by this piece of weapons grade rhetoric but I am still not sure. Especially as I have to go into a school in a couple of months and do a project of self-portraits with year nine. It’ll do them until they learn better, no doubt.

What I do this afternoon is go back to the Cut and spend half an hour having a closer look at the Fabian Peake show. The thing that I like about the work here is the mark making and the energy in it. It has a strategy and quite a sophisticated one at that and it celebrates imagination and expression and mark making and touch. In a slightly ironic way, with a tongue in the cheek. It reminds me of the work of some of my lecturers from the olden days and Peake is about the right age for that. His arrangements and studio photographs are a reference for the wall drawing.

What sort of artist do you want to be when you grow up? What style of artist are you? So many things guide one towards being a certain sort of artist rather than another sort. One’s ‘sensibility’ being one. I think I have to own up to being a basically expressive sort of artist. This is not cool, grown up, clever or fashionable. I like artists like Peake because he gives a permission to have ideas and not be fashionable and to make marks and express. The other ‘fetishising of the aesthetics’ guy is more about things you can’t do until you’ve read all the same books as he has so you can understand what ‘fetishising of the aesthetic’ might possibly mean.

So I am clearly referencing Peake in the mono-prints. He has some drawings of houses on his website and I am borrowing from those as part of the strategy of demonstrating transparently ‘influence’ and ‘borrowing’. I am doing the shed though as I have just built  a shed and questions of storage loom large in my life. What to keep and what to throw away? So I am personalising the idea. Some of the other images come out of a red drawing book so they appear to be pretty improvised but they are drawn from these images made when thinking about drawing and how you learn to draw.

What does an artist do in a studio? Going in to make work. Kinda odd. Would I do this if I didn’t have the space? Possibly not. Doing it in a school makes sense. I am demonstrating something so that justifies it for me. I’m still not really making work for myself entirely. It is freed of direct teaching points. I am trying to show a process rather than a technique. I am trying to think about the process whilst demonstrating it. There is a degree of publicness to it in this context.


One of the themes of the work seems to be destruction and damage. It is bound to be. Seeing as this is be conducted in a closing school. Ceramics has an interesting connection with breakage. Shards exist as things and the British Museum is full of shards. Quite a lot of the ‘complete’ things in the BM are made of shards found. I have had some success with a couple of plates that burst in the biscuit stage and I have been able to get them to stay together with glaze which looks fantastic. But the kiln isn’t behaving itself so well this week and I have had a few plates crack in awkward ways that I haven’t been able to live with. I think the kiln is getting too hot at the top and some of the plates are bursting. I have been trying slightly higher temperatures to try to get the glazes to melt thoroughly and this hasn’t helped. I used to think that if I could get the things out of a biscuit fire then the glaze fire was pretty much a formality but recently I have been getting them to crack in the glaze fire too.

This week I put in a fantastic plate with a self portrait in the manner of Guston incised into a layer of purple haze glaze. I don’t think it was thoroughly dry as I was firing it from green. The result was a completely dissolved plate with just a few purple shards in the middle. I’ll have to reconstruct it as it was a cracker. Most of the other plates survived apart from the two very plain terracotta plates I was planning to gold leaf. They both cracked badly. The ‘experimental outcome’ plate with a very fragile edge hanging on in another clay came out fine. I just fired once this week as Shirley hasn’t been in and I haven’t been able to do as much without her help. I made up four plates with bag ends of clay. I drew on gas masks and military hats from the Norfolk military museum with oxide in linseed oil as a sort of ceramic ink. They worked well. So far.

I was using the red sketchbook and using some of the drawings and ideas from that to recycle old ideas as a form of reflection in the work. A reprocessing. I also had some fun with monoprinting using some of the plastic sheets we have found in cupboards in the art and DT room. I riffed on the military hats idea and they came out well. It was nice to work at a different scale and when they are done they are done. I didn’t have to wait to see if I had blown them up with clumsy kiln firing.

Thursday I did a bit of gilding and went round the degree shows at NUCA. It’s a good show, better than last year and some interesting stuff. Huge amounts of effort and work by all involved. The commitment and creativity is incredible really. The illustration was interesting and the visual studies were good. The edges of things were more interesting. And painting looks like a very difficult thing to do. The least interesting things were paintings.