4x6 inches, monotype with added watercolor
Yesterday I turned 61, and it turned out to be an excellent day. We went to Madison Wednesday evening, went out to hear some music, stayed at a nice hotel, and Thursday ate out some more, saw a movie in a theater - something we rarely do any more - and saw the Harlem Globetrotters. I had fun, but I kept thinking about how I wanted to get into the studio.
Today I did get into the studio, and ended up not painting this pair of painted turtles the way I thought I would. I had an urge to get out my Createx paints and try a monoprint. I usually put the base coat and paint on a plate made from a piece of plexiglass, but I couldn't find it anywhere. So I improvised and used a ratty piece of Yupo that I saved after I washed off an an unsuccessful watercolor. Yupo is just a smooth piece of plastic, and it ended up working really well for the plate. I just drew on the Yupo with a Sharpie so I would have the basic design, added a base coat and a layer of black monotype paint and manipulated that until I was satisfied. After that dried I took a wet sheet of rice paper and lay it on the plate, turned the two sheets over and rubbed the back of the Yupo with an old wooden doorknob I use as a bale, and voila! After the paper dried I went back in with some watercolor and a bit of white gouache.
I'd like to try more prints of this pair, perhaps adding some collage elements, and also painting them more traditionally. I'm not sure why I have always been attracted to painted turtles, but I find myself looking at them, photographing them, and now painting them. Maybe it was that chapter in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the one where the turtle struggles to get across a road, is flipped over on its back, but keeps struggling until it rights itself, and carries on to the other side. Or maybe it was those tiny painted turtles Mom bought from the dime store for us kids as pets, who lived in a little plastic swimming pool, until they finally expired. Anyway, I like them.