Friday, 23 January 2009

Last of the Monoprints

Untitled Monoprint
20cm x 20cm on paper

This is the last monoprint I produced from a series of about 20 which I made in the summer of 2007. It was produced by painting on glass and then transferring it to paper by a very simple printing method.

I enjoyed the diversion from my normal work (painting on canvas) but don't have any plans to repeat this in the near future. One of the problems I have is being able to theme my work. I flit from one idea to another and it therefore takes me a long time to get a body of work together for an exhibition. I am not one of those artists who can produce 20 pictures based on a theme and have to keep going back to an idea then adding to it - going around in repeated circles if you like. I don't seem able to work any other way.

At the moment I have no plans for an exhibition and I am enjoying the freedom from what can be intense pressure. I just figure I will be ready when I am ready. I enjoy my diversions and experimenting with new ideas - hence my recent 'ice' project. To me it's the only way to keep on learning. I would hate to look back over this year's work and feel I had not moved on. What do you think? How do you keep on growing?


Chris said...

I can certainly relate, Philip. Unless a theme is completely crystallized within my mind I can't produce a large body of work quickly. More often than not a theme for me requires a lengthy ripening process. After all it takes time for a seed to grow into a beautiful flower. It needs to be nourished and nurtured.

The way I keep growing is by getting lost in the journey ... experimenting with new ideas that peak my interest, interacting with other artists and exchanging ideas,and most importantly, not focusing on any particular destination.

Chris said...

Also, I really like that monoprint. It makes me think of the old growth spruce of the Carmanah Valley.

self taught artist said...

i like the monoprint too and i can relate to what you said about bodies of work.
i have one series of 100 clocks i'm mworking on and i'm on my 3rd year. i have 20 left. i have to leave them be sometimes for 3 months, i grow by working a bit and then stopping and working or playing with something else. i guess some people just forge through and learn that way but my stuff just gets old if i dont take a break and do something else.

Philip said...


Well I have to agree because that is the way that I work. I enjoy all the diversions.

Self Taught Artist

It also takes me months or even years to work on a theme. I can also enjoy other creative activities like garden design just as much as painting.

Angela Wales Rockett said...

Love this monoprint.

I have trouble with coming up with a theme then making a bunch of pieces around it too. What usually happens is that most of the pieces I'm working on will gel into their own theme after a while. If I try to force it, that won't happen.

Philip said...


Perhaps my way of working isn't so unusual after all.

Casey Klahn said...

I have enjoyed your monoprints - this one included. Love violet.

One way I theme a series is by hanging the works around the studio. Another is to hang a few in my bedroom, especially over the winter. They get in the head.

It doesn't hurt to have a show once in a while, where one gets to see one's work in a new light. An experience like no other, IMO.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Your ice project is fascinating, and I liked the use of space in the monoprint. I just enjoyed discovering and reading your blog. I celebrate the independent theme throughout. Maybe that’s your theme; “I am fiercely independent!!!” Wasn’t it e.e. cummings who said “To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”? The questions you pose here are complex enough to make me need some time to think about it. But in the end, I believe all my work is really self portraiture. Not an entire portrait but a little aspect of a portrait. I wonder if some of yours is as well.

Philip said...


Yes, I am sure I will exhibit again but I am in no hurry. I want to produce a body of work then start looking for a venue.In the past I have often arranged an exhibition and then had to set about producing the work to a deadline. I want to do it a different way this time.


Thanks for your perception. I agree with all you say actually but I have come to the conclusion that I must disregard whether or not what I do is of any interest to anyone else. I think we sometimes get caught in a trap of benchmarking our work against that of other artists but really we should be trying to make our work stand out rather than fit in. I feel sure that the best work comes when we speak with our own voice. The Cummings quote is very apt for me!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Absolutely. To speak or create art in our very own authentic voice is the ultimate gift to ourselves and to the universe. And it is our gift from the universe. I feel after 10 years of creating collage, and a life time of being a creative person, I am just there, to that space. I have finally found my voice. Now to develop the backbone to let the opinion of others, or commercial success not matter to me. I can shrug off a lot of that, but sometimes I am sensitive. Maybe that’s part of it all. My geol is to remain truly authentic and not let go of that authenticity.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I mean "goal"

JafaBrit's Art said...

I really really like your monoprints Philip. the composition, shapes and colours just really work for me.

Well I thought I would do a show next year but I am rethinking it. Meanwhile this year I just want to float,experiment. so I can relate to what you are saying. I just don't want to be bound by anything. I mean I can get a body of work if I HAVE to, but I don't want to have to. yes a show is good "eventually" but when a body of work has grown out of the time spent exploring and seeing some ideas realized.

Philip said...


I think we are of the same mind. Some of my favourite paintings are really quite 'difficult' but it is those that I often like best. That is me!


We are also of the same mind at present! I am enjoying taking time out and find I am more prolific this way.

I think my monoprints have often looked better than photos of my paintings on this blog. They are really quite small and can be scanned into the PC. In my studio, they are not as effective by comparison to the paintings (as they appear here) or as satisfying to me. I do my best to photograph my paintings but I am not a professional photographer and don't have studio lighting.

Tina Steele Lindsey said...

You asked, "How do you keep on growing?" I guess for myself I truly am inspired by art that is unique and special. When I come across someone who is truly following their own path, I am inspired. I am glad I found your blog for that same reason.

Philip said...


Many thanks!

Kim said...

Hello Philip, I come to you via Juan. This post has particular interest to me as I have been having this conversation with 3 other artist friends. I am of the mid this theme painting is a thing of the past. Galleries and show people tend to cling to it because it makes an easy marketing tool. In the educational arena it is a way to justify evaluation, so they cling to the old model too.

My personal feeling is it is wrong to make requirements of artist like this which in many cases close them down and their creativity crashes. I, too, paint where the muse takes me and can do it no other way. If I take on a challenge, I have to see what I have in place or what comes out before I can commit to it. I cannot just be bound by parameters and paint the same thing over and over and over. Doing anything rote makes very little sense.

There is my two cents!

Have a Very Good Day and Thank You for Allowing Me to Go Off Here!

Philip said...


I'm glad I raised this issue now. Thanks for your contribution. I agree.