I have just described how to make monoprints. Now I am going to describe how I really make monoprints.
I begin by breathing deeply and fully into my belly connecting with my intuitive self. I let go of expectations and outcome. I let go of outside pressures. I let go of control. Control stops the flow of new information and ideas. I let go of worry. I breathe deeply. Intentional breathing brings me into my feeling body and out of my thinking head and into the present moment between me and what I am doing.
Being in the present moment is key. It is only in the present moment that I can be in a state of allowing. I am allowing a connection or conversation to occur between my art self and the universe. Sometimes what I feel is just what is happening to me personally or what is in my heart or on my mind. Sometimes what I feel is in my studio, or my land, the city of Ashland, or the Northwest, or North America, or the world, or, beyond the physical. I never try to control or guide what happens. I am in a state of complete trust with my process.
It is from this state of being in trust that I scrape or roll the ink onto the plate. I begin to make marks in the ink using various tools. Sometimes this part takes a while and truthfully it is not comfortable. This is when my brain kicks in with a multitude of things I really should be doing. But I am steadfast. I have been here thousands of times and I know what to do.
I breathe deep and come back to the present moment. It is a practice, like centering or clearing the mind as in meditation. The only thing that exists is me and the ink and the plate and I continue making marks until a shape or the curve of a line catches my attention. I am listening deeply for the feeling, for the gesture, for the idea, for the animal, for the intuitive spark that will lead me. I follow the illusive thread of an idea wherever it leads. It is a slow and uncompromising process and I love it. One of my skills as an artist is to stay out of the way so that the image and the art can come forth.
What I mean by this is that I stay out of my head allowing the image to arrive and tell its own story. I then do my best to draw out or manifest the image that is beginning to appear. What is this image? What does it want to be? What is the character holding? What does it want to wear? I proceed by feel. If what I do feels correct in my body or if I like it then I know I am on the right track with what is emerging. If it doesn’t feel right, I back up and try something else. Fortunately, monoprinting is very forgiving and I know that I can always re-work it later once it is printed.
Even though this work comes through my heart and hands and my own artist filter, I believe that my art has a voice that is independent from me. The work is a collaboration. Most all of my monoprints are created in this way. I trust the art that comes. It is important to me. Creating art and art stories is my medicine and my practice. This is my soul work and I am glad to share it.
Learn more about monoprinting: