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Frank Hobbs Figurative Monotypes

By November 26, 2017Uncategorized

Mediums have an enormous influence on the products of art. Not necessarily because of how they look when the making is finished (though of course that is true) but more interestingly because of what they will do. The medium dictates not just the final look, but the process of how it’s made.

Tip: Categorize art inspirations not by how they look, but by the process used to make them. If the process matches how you like to work, you’ll be happier, and have more success.

Below is a series of inky monotypes – one of a kind prints made in most cases by covering a sheet of plexi glass with a layer of thick oil based ink, then wiping the ink away to remove the light areas of the image. The composition can be checked by lifting the glass and viewing the reverse, and adjustments can be made, but the process has a time limit due to the drying of the ink, likely 30 minutes maximum, so monotypes tend to look like painterly sketches. There isn’t time for detailed realism. The prints also tend to be well balanced for lights and darks, in part because the surface starts covered with medium, and none of the fear of wasted paint (often seen in painting classes) secretly limits the quantity of material applied. The ink has already been placed with an amply inky deliciousness, there is no holding back. With the removal process and absence of clean white page, artists shift from precise line to rough quick sketches of form and value, naturally considering the composition of light and dark shapes. As a result, the figure (object) and the background (negative space) tend to be treated equally, so instead of a study of an object, it becomes a study of lights and darks – describing mysterious unfinished forms for us to peer into, and complete in our own minds.

The plate, whether perfect or not, gets run through the press, and whatever emerges on the paper when the felts are lifted is what the image is. It’s done. Rarely are monotypes overworked.

Frank Hobbs: “Everything starts with sensation, doesn’t it? Our physical contact with the world is the most private and intimate experiences we have, but we overlook it, or depreciate it because it’s so familiar. In working from observation there is this struggle to reclaim some of the lost wonder and innocence of perception that allows you to really see and experience things, as they say in Zen, in their ‘suchness.'”


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