If you've followed this blog for a while, you know I'm a fan of Ted Orland and his inspiring book "The View From The Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World." One of his many suggestions that I've taken to heart is that everyone should learn to write, draw and take pictures -- not for money or fame but because it's good for you!

You're already familiar with my writing and photography and now I'd like to share my first modest attempt at drawing (well, printmaking to be more accurate). For the last few years, I've been exploring various drawing and printmaking methods and have zeroed in on clay monoprints -- a technique where you first build up layers of clay and pigments on a clay slab and then you pull a single print onto a "canvas" (actually, sandpaper or a material called Pellon).

I like pretty much everything about clay monoprinting -- the materials, tools, process and especially the prints themselves. The endless ways of applying the clay and pigments to the slab, the flexibility (I change my mind a lot) and the low cost allow for boundless experimentation and creativity.

This print is from a series inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel "Martian Chronicles" -- a classic science fiction story of the exploration, conquest and ruin of a native race and civilization. The bird's eye view used for this series was inspired by the astonishing photographs taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

"Murder of Nathaniel York and Bert"

Murder of Nathaniel York and Bert

Pigmented clay (kaolin, yellow ochre, charcoal and iron oxide) printed on black sandpaper; 9" x 11"

p.s. Mitch Lyons invented the clay monoprint technique. Here's a link to his web site and a three-minute clip of Mitch talking about the process, history and his experience.



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