Re-worked Monotype Portraits

For this exercise I was asked to revisit the two previous exercises An Introduction to Monotypes and Monotype Portraits Continued… in order to produce three new images. I needed to chose three prints that I wished to push further, by either adding more paint to create greater definition, contrast or a closer likeness or by removing paint to change the image in a different way. As I had created three different series I decided to choose one of each

I initially thought I disliked the barely there original print on the left but actually as I worked toward and craved definition I then wanted to run back to the subtlety! By adding in the definition I can see more character and the print resembles me more, especially the smile and eyes but it feels too definitive and too precise now, theres no room for the viewer to imagine or interpret, it’s very rigid. I’m surprised by how much I prefer the barely there print, it reminds me more of the subtlety of Annie Kevans delicate portraits. I wonder what it would be like to recreate the subtle prints using flesh toned oil paint, and then perhaps being extremely selective in adding in a hint of definition here and there, treading extremely carefully!

For this print I much prefer the provided definition from adding in the black oil paint, the painting feels more life like which in contrast to the previous reworked image, I think it needed in order to bolster the bold colour on the page, its as if the black definition is scaffolding the print behind it, and holding it up. Although the face doesn’t look like my own and has become more generic.

Lastly I decided to rework my favourite image from the very first set of mono prints. I particularly liked the print because it just felt quite powerful, it’s as if the print didn’t care about me attempting to produce a print with care, once the paper hit the acetate there’s an explosion of paint, disregarded blobs I had missed, and pools of turpentine seeping into the paper. I wanted to add on a very slight definition here and carefully added in some strong dark line working from the initial ink study so as to not detract from the haphazard nature of the printing process. Although I must admit like with the first example I much prefer the subtlety!

This exercise has been very revealing, previously when painting portraits I have tried quite hard to try and produce a true likeness and with the previous work on collections I focused a lot on shadow, colour and tone. This section is really challenging the subtlety, decisiveness and restraint in me. Usually I’m quite an expressive painter especially when painting large abstracts with swathes of paint so to channel my inner restraint has been quite a challenge but I am enjoying this different direction, and alternative way of working. I’d like to see this carry through to the final assignment.

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