Post Workshop Blues…

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”

– Edgar Degas

Another monoprint from last weekends workshop. I started doing some more of these miniature pieces last night at home and found them somehow less interesting than what I did last weekend. It was frustrating.

Why is it that sometimes are done in a class when just learning can be more satisfying than our own efforts later? Is it beginner’s luck? Is there some energy that exists when doing art as part of a group that isn’t there when flying solo? Maybe one is just more relaxed when away “on vacation” at a workshop rather than trying to steal an hour or two amidst our busy schedules.

Here’s another from the workshop:

So maybe now that I “know how to do monoprints”, the real struggle will begin.

3 responses to “Post Workshop Blues…

  1. Hi there Bob,

    I have an alert out, through Google for “monoprint” and you popped up.
    Yes I like these and I think that print below has no relation to the word ‘sooty’ as you say something to do with her rather than the works you were creating.

    I know what you mean about workshops and the ‘buzz’ that’s there in the room. Being in the company of others who are all doing the same activity, but with their own ‘language’ and ideas is very stimulating.
    Being alone later in ones studio is something else altogether. Given what you have already produced I imagine you will build on this and create plenty more interesting works of merit.

    Just got to keep going at it and make sure you have plenty of materials to utilize in your monoprints. I often make ‘backgrounds’ first and then come in another day and build on those using collage (chine colle) or further layers of colour or both.

    best wishes Aine

  2. Bob,
    Your work intrigues me and has captured my interest. And, your mind is so big, so amazing, it took me time to find my jumping in point. I have wanted to actively participate with your work, so I sat with your thoughts about moving into abstraction and I let my own inner movement begin.

    You ask, How can abstraction be more real than nature? I found the hook. Which is real? a literal image taking by the photographer or a literal painting done by a profound artist with exquisite skills?
    What does art represent, a perfect picture of an image done by the witnessing linear left brain or the experience of an exchange done by the feeling right brain. Is art a pretty picture or the lived experience of a moment’s exchange with the ground of being, the energy field from which all comes?
    I think of the moment when Jill Bolt Taylor found her arm becoming pixels that blended into the space she was occupying. Does the abstract experience express more of the relationship between objects and say less about the objects themselves.
    I have struggled with this my whole artist life. Was my work pretty or good enough, skilled enough to call myself an artist? Usually the answer was no. Now I have another question. Is it the critic or the soul who is witnessing my work. The critic says its not perfect enough while maybe the soul says no you didn’t really capture the experience well enough.
    Susan and I have this conversation all the time. What are the skills one needs in order to express the ‘inside experience’? I have had an experience or a strong feeling encounter with the ground of being, and yet not had the skills to express it. That is the greatest frustration of all. I long to find the art medium that brings the artist out in me. That is what I find so wonderful about your work- the exploration of the artist, the expressed experience, the medium and of course the result.
    The artist is the one who translates reality in such a way, that it connects all who truly witness it, into the most intimate part of being a human being. The artist has to keep perfecting his craft. Then one moment a master piece is born from the rubble of all those “past errors”. Something clicks in place, the artist, the moment, the medium, the craft and the experience. You know when it happens, and the hunger for that perfection haunts you even more and won’t leave you alone. I think that may be some of the post blues.
    I love the search that has captured your soul’s quest.


  3. Hey Bob,
    Your mono prints are great. I’d like to see them in person. Don’t get frustrated. The energy of working in your own space, alone with your thoughts, will inevitable be different than what you experienced in the group workshop environment. Perhaps it would be helpful to re-create the workshop experience in your studio. Start simple with one color and go from there. See what evolves. Don’t force it. Work on pure intuition, be an extension of the medium and your creativity will flow.

    In mountaineering I’ve found that after a big climb there is a huge let down. Getting back to work, especially alone, is really depressing. You’ve been on that high, walking a lofty ridge with heightened awareness and focused minds, connected to your companions mentally and physically. Coming down off that mountain and readjusting to “reality” is always difficult. So you begin looking forward to the next climb. You start training, keeping it simple, ever refining basic movement and precision, exploring the edges of the medium and yourself.

    Art… Climbing… to me these are one.

    You have always been an inspiration, unafraid to push the medium to the edge of possibility. Keep at it.


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