Printed Family Portraits

As I get older and time passes, I am always exploring ways to use art to communicate and share my East Texas roots and young adulthood. I write about some of this in my occasional Pine Curtain Stories project, but have also been thinking of ways to make art around the theme that is a little less illustrative. But I am not a portraitist or skilled in realistic painting , and I want to keep some of the figurative/narrative theme.

Since I have so enjoyed my recent plexiglass printmaking, I decided to expand that work to make abstract prints of family photographs. The first one is of my grandfather and uncle, sometime in the 1960s. It’s a work in progress, as I still need to do some embellishing.

I love making these, and using family and community images gives the work a deeper purpose. I also like this type of printmaking, because the final result is nothing like the original guide piece. It comes out more blurry in some ways, brighter in others. Fitting for such memories.

Plexiglass plate over a copied photo. I add the color one layer/spot at a time and quickly pull two prints, touching up the paint a little in between.
Background prints.
Print process complete. Next step will be to add some finishing touches with pastel and ink.

Plexiglass Monoprint

I really enjoy these plexiglass prints, because it’s a great exercise in letting go and getting into the process without worrying about the outcome. As you can see, the plate doesn’t look much like the print at all. Part of the fun is filling in the abstract shape with pastels, and even gold leaf! I purposefully don’t try and make it look like what’s on the plate. Instead, I simply go where it leads.

Usually, I get two prints from a plate like this, lightly re-inking after each one as the paint does dry quickly. (I use a mix of block printing inks and acrylics and they both work fine.)

Initially, I had planned to wash and reuse the plates, but I find that I like the effect of the paint/ink on the plexiglass. Plexiglass is pretty inexpensive, so I will just keep it as another art piece.

I’m considering opening up for sales again later this summer. These would be hard to sell as originals because the pastel powder is hard to control, thus hard to ship. But maybe I could work them into an embellished print (fine art print) series. We will see.

Dura-Lar Butterflies

I love the look of stained glass, but my overflowing supply cabinet and relatively small studio space tell me now is not the time to learn a new craft! So, I tried painting on *Grafix Dura-Lar to mimic the effect for now.

I used a combination of ink and acrylics and lined it with Pebeo relief outliner to get more dimension and a stained glass edge effect.

I’m happy with the way it turned out, and because the Dura-Lar is more portable than a heavy window, I can move the pieces around to different windows, easily make larger pieces or switch them out for seasons, etc!

*I occasionally use affiliate links, when it’s a product I have used or personally recommend, and when it makes sense to do so.

Watercolor Sketches

Adobe Fresco, a relatively new painting program has a neat brush that digitally mimics that flow of watercolors. I like the final effect, and it’s fun to see the water digitally “spread” in progress. Maybe I will try and capture a video to share. In the meantime, here are a few recent digital sketches using the Adobe Fresco watercolor brush.