When we got back to the Maison after having been away for a couple of months, it was my atelier I was most anxious to see again. The first thing I did was an early spring cleaning which involved rearranging the furniture, scrubbing from top to bottom, and even rearranging my books. After all that I was happier than ever to wake up every morning and rush down to my work/fun space.
While I was out of town, I spent a certain amount of time reading art books and watching Youtube videos of artists at work. Stuart Shils makes monotype prints and even more than his actual images (which are very nice) I liked his studio space, especially his work table which is covered by a huge sheet of glass where he can freely mix his paints. Rick bought me the largest piece of thick glass he could fit into the car and helped me fix up a pleasant workstation in the press room. I got busy trying out the monontype technique that Shils talks about in his demo video, basically painting on an old etching plate and putting it through the press. The monotype technique I was more familiar with was using a piece of plexiglass to paint over drawings as a guide to work from (as in the photo below). These are ways of working which I don't use often. With my new work surface it is easy to experiment with the method.
I also read a book by Carol Marine, called Daily Painting, which very clearly discusses the popular artistic movement A Painting a Day, that has been around for about a decade. Several years ago Emily directed a clown show in Paris and introduced me to one of the musicians for the piece who is married to a daily painter, Julian Merrow-Smith. It was my introduction to the trend. The idea that Julian was supporting himself from a postcard size painting he undertook each day was certainly impressive, but the thing which struck me even more was that while following his blog, his artistic development was plain to see. The discipline was definitely improving his ability as a painter.
Laziness and a desire for self-command are frequently at odds within me, so while I have always thought that this was a wonderful idea, I have been rather nervous to undertake it myself. It requires the commitment of posting an image each day and having something new and relatively worthy to share at high frequency. It is an intimidating personal project. Besides which, I am really not a painter. However the book and new monotype painting station managed to coincide in my mind and excite the concept of a print a day challenge for myself.
Today, I am launching a new blog, on blogger.com where I will be posting montotypes, traditional etchings, collage, perhaps even cyanotypes on a more-or-less daily basis. I'm going to try to keep it going on Mondays - Fridays, as long as life gives me the time and space and ambition to pursue the project. You are certainly invited to subscribe to that blog. The blog you're reading now will remain more a slice-of-life occasional report, with far fewer posts now that our season is getting under way.