Last week my solo show, "Couples and Curious Creatures" opened at The Center for the Arts. At the opening a couple liked the little monotype above as a gift for their daughter who just purchased a home. The concern was the tiny scale and I explained that I am working toward a small works show and work for the launch of a new gallery dedicated to small works so I have been doing lots of mini pieces. Too small was the final decision but they did commission me to do a larger version. On private monotype commissions I always make 2 with no obligation to buy either one. I had so much fun on these I made 3.
Woman #151 | Monotype | 12x15" | Trying to capture the attitude of a small piece in a larger format is impossible when using the same drawing materials such as the pencil and lets not forget the physical size of your arm and it's ability to sweep over a small surface area.
Woman #152 | Monotype | 12x15" | This was the second piece completed. The dress on the first seemed a bit stiff being so straight so I curved the dress to soften the form. The curtains on the red plate turned into a big red form which bugged me so I broke up the space with some black lines which I was happy with.
Woman #153 | Monotype | 12x15" | This was the last piece finished and I processed a lot of design on the first 2 which I tried to incorporate the most successful ideas into this one. Don't know if she has curly hair.
After I completed the red plate and as I was allowing them to dry the client called me and decided to purchase a "Couples" piece since their daughter is married, I thought that was a good idea! I didn't tell them that I had already finished the red stage, no worries. I will be taking these to Truckee tomorrow to install a show that opens Friday night, it all works out.
Richard Downs "Couples and Curious Creatures"
The Center for the Arts
June 23, 2011 - Artist Reception 4:00 to 7:00PM
Open Monday - Saturday, 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Exhibit runs June 20 - July 11 2011
This week opens my solo show at The Center for the Arts. The Center has developed far from their humble roots under Executive Director Julie Baker to a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts. The impressive list of performers for the next 2 months include, Wynton Marsalis, Jackie Greene, Chris Robinson, Aaron Neville, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Aimee Mann. So, with that kind of a performers list it is a huge honor to be having a show in their newly renovated Granucci Room. I am really excited to show my latest work which includes my "Couples" series both in my standard format and miniature monotypes. Being a community Arts Center with children's arts and circus summer camps running I am including work from my "Sea Creatures" series along with my odd and unique animal monotypes. And for the first time I will be showing some new expressive figurative work that extend the style that I created for my show at the B-763 alternative space. Thank you, Julie and gallery manager Marni Marshall and The Center for the Arts. Below are some samples from the 25 exhibited pieces.
"Couple #150" | 17x20" Monotype |
This piece is printed on the back side of a rejected sheet of paper that I had overprinted the red ink. The back of this paper has a different texture and absorption qualities that are a bit rougher than the other side. It started out well enough but after I finished the heads and body and corrected the skinny foot the piece had very little excitement for me so I started pumping the ink and hitting the lines again to give it some attitude. I thought the piece needed to be flanked with curtains to frame the isolated figures and tried out a new curtain design that looked really weak in it's beginning stages but I stuck with it and after 3 hours of continuous drawing I felt real comfortable with the piece.
"Couple #145" | 17x20" Monotype |
My intention on this piece was to continuously draw the contours of the infinity symbol in the chest area so it would blossom out like a giant flower. Well, great idea but when you follow the contour of the symbol one side shrinks and other side gets bigger. M.C. Escher could have figured it out but I gave up and sort of feel that I may have placed 1 line too many on the symbol which makes it feel a bit strong but then, a strong heart connection is good.
"Couple #144" | 17x20" Monotype |
This piece went nice and smooth and I spent about 2-3 hours on the hair and bam, -done. At the end I hit the right margin edge with a big glob of heavy ink to try and break down the heavily controlled structure of the piece. I like to try and predict the first sale, I predict this one.
"Couple #146" | 17x20" Monotype |
I wanted this piece to be a kneeling couple and as I started drawing the body contours I realized that the heads were too big to create the kneeling scene, I stuck with them standing and I love the way the ink gained on the faces but at the same time feel a little insecure that the heavy ink may be perceived as a 5 o'clock shadow! Whatever, I like this piece.
Late one evening I made these sketches as starting points for the expressive monotypes. I looked at these drawings the next day and thought, "These things are terrible! this is serious man, this isn't a High School Musical, get it together!" So, I threw them into a drawer but pulled them out later in the day and thought, "There must have been something in them that inspired me to created them" so I used them and went for it.
"Man Wondering" | 17x20" Monotype |
On this piece I wanted the crossed legs to be prominent but looking at it now I would have preferred to make the foreground foot bigger, really big. When I thought that I was finished I took a second shot at it and went back in and hit the knees and feet with a heavy dose of ink to bring weight to the piece.
"Couple #149" | 17x20" Monotype |
I wanted this piece to be a straight up academic and somewhat classical figurative piece of tumbling figures. I was impatient when I started and rushed the plate and finished the drawing way too quick. My impatience had drawn all of the lines with a similar weight so I pumped ink back into it trying to save it. I am happy with the final.
"Man Contemplating his Spine" | 17x20" Monotype |
On this piece I started with the head which was drawn too small in contrast to the sheet of paper and I also over inked the hair and it turned into a black shape. I tried to correct it by taking the attention off the black spot through heavily inking the feet to bring the weight down to the bottom. all good.
is a storage unit 25 miles north of San Francisco and the brainchild of Jeffrey Dodson. I didn't fully understand the application when Jeff asked me to create some work for B-763 and I still don't. This didn't stop me from saying yes because I have huge respect for the man and the artist. The conditions of our agreement is this, I send him the work and he can to do anything he desires to it. Paint on it, collage it, shred it to whatever and install it and document it in video and photography. These are the pieces that I made for him and when the installation is complete I will post a new link. I will get the art shipped back to me in a banana box, folded, flattened and recycled.
"B-763 aspires to show artwork from all 7 billion people on planet Earth." Jeffrey Dodson