My contextual research of contemporary monotypes led me to discover this article about working on a really large scale: Printing Really Big Monotypes by Steamroller, Skateboard and Breaking Dancing. I loved the idea of using machinery and movement to create marks. The final prints remind me work done to music, they have a similar sense of rhythm and repetition. The project transported the process from the print shop (or in my case kitchen table) to an outdoor festival atmosphere, the marks and colours reflect this. The venture presented some difficulties, but interestingly they seemed to be the same problems materials pose no matter what scale one is working at.
I love drawing on a large scale, which is something I have not done during MMT. There is something about having a large space to fill that encourages speed and fluency in mark making… you have to use more than your hand and wrist, the whole arm and upper body become involved. It can feel like dancing, which very much links to the project above.
This was in the back of my mind on holiday, when I happened to notice sea-gull footprints in the sand:
I love the random nature of the pattern made by nature (I can see the link to the Colour of Hair Project, that my tutor directed me to look at also). I wondered if I could ink up some paper and persuade my chickens to perform the mark-making dance for me?
In short, NO, chickens don’t perform. I also tried to involve my dogs, who never fail to stand on my work if I leave it on the floor… typically they didn’t want to cooperate either. Once I finally got them to stand on the prepared paper/plate, I discovered that they actually weren’t heavy enough to leave any trace of a mark (so the chickens wouldn’t have been any good anyway). Re-reading the article Rostow states the steamroller couldn’t apply as much pressure as an etching press, so I don’t know what made me think a chicken could!
(The article was actually helpful in answering another of my problems, in my last post I described how I couldn’t shift the ink from the plate, they used an Akua Release Agent).
It was such a shame to waste the paint/ paper I had prepared, it took two tubes of oil paint to cover the A2 paper so I decided to sketch the sunflowers in my garden:
The first drawing was lovely and soft, the Burnt Umber suits the loose lines and reminds me of Gauguin’s prints. Black would have been too dark and heavy. I am particularly pleased with the composition, I like the way the heads crowd together at the top and the leaves cover such a large area. This is so much more reflective of sunflowers in the garden, than brought from a supermarket in a vase. The sketchy quality also suggests movement of the tall stems in the breeze (which links back to the idea of dance and movement in the Steamroller/skateboard project).
I had a lot of fun with the mark making in the second drawing (again A2), there is a lot of energy but I think my fondness of pattern still shows in the scribbly marks. There is some difference in the thickness of line, afterward I wondered if I had really exploited the scale of the drawing? Could the lines have been even thicker at this size?
A final test showed me I could have been more ambitious with the mark making. It required a lot of pressure to generate lines this thick with a lolly stick, but the broad smudgy lines were worth the effort. Considering the drawings were made in an attempt to salvage the materials from the failed chicken project, I’m not too disappointed!
ARTICLE: By Susan ROSTOW: http://www.akuainks.com/printing-really-big-monotypes-by-steam-roller-skateboard-and-break-dancing