Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Farewell to Shiprock

 Farewell, Shiprock
11" X 17"
Mixed Media

We were heading west that cool morning in early spring, a little sad because we were leaving Colorado.

At the gateway of the wide-open spaces of the Res, ahead of us were miles and miles of land dotted with the occasional trailer and dusty clouds of sheep.

The town of Shiprock was behind us and the monolith from which the town took its name--the monolith ruling that part of the world--sparkled in the day's rising moisture. A muddy excuse for a road would have taken us to the base of Shiprock, but we elected to continue on toward Teec Nos Pos and Canyon de Chelly.

A few minutes later, I turned back and took in the long shadows of the ridge, Shiprock beginning to fade to a ghost in the distance. Silently I said, farewell, knowing it might be a while before I returned. The shadows on the ridge were deep indigo and the alluvial slope at the base of spires was a lace skirt of greens woven from early spring grasses.

This is a mixed-media piece. I threw pretty much everything I had in the studio at this one. It started out as a monoprint. I did a drawing on tissue, turned it over, and recreated the image on the Plexiglas plate backwards, so the mirror image of the print on paper was oriented the right way in the final piece. It would have been sacrilegious to paint an icon like this backwards.

One of the things I love most about creating monoprints is the texture added by the transfer of the paint from the Plexiglas plate to the paper. You can still see that texture in the sky and foreground, tiny blobs of paint here and there.

After several transfers: a blue, a magenta, a yellow, then one more round of each with variations, I cast aside the plate and used colored pencil to add detail directly to the paper, the last glimmering strokes applied with a silver pencil. The result—as brilliant and beautiful as I remembered.

Note the new signature. The why for this choice will be a topic for the future.

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