Fingerpaint revisited

Back in September, I showed you a sketch that I had fingerpainted due to me forgetting my paintbrushes while out on a daytrip to Ruidoso. I was intrigued with the result, so today, I'll show you a project that did that grew out of that original sketch.

I started out by painting a monotype on Plexiglas. Like the original sketch, I fingerpainted this one as well, leaving the church blank so that I could draw it in later. Normally I use a press to print my monotypes, but due to the thickness of the Plexi, I used a hand roller instead, resulting in a softer, more faded image.

Taking this home, I painted on top of it using my fingers, a lot of brush wash, and charcoal. I then used pen and ink to add details to the church. Here's the result:

I wasn't going for a "realistic" rendition of what I had originally seen. Instead, this is another exploration into the subjectivity of memory, something that you readers should know occurs regularly in my work. As I've said before, when we remember something, we are reconstructing it, and every time that construct changes somewhat according to our mood or preferences. Sometimes the day feels warmer, or maybe the greens are more vibrant, or maybe you synthesize separate events into a single occurrence. Either way, our memories are never completely the same each time we recall them.

Often I explore that subjectivity by layering images over one another, but this time I did so through the actual construction of the piece. I was literally using my hands, my body, to apply the colors that I could see in my mind, but I deliberately changed them as I worked for an enhanced effect. I made the reds more intense, the clouds more ominous, the building less distinct. My monotype is a reconstruction, but it is by no means a copy of what I'd seen. Rather, I took the elements I remembered most vividly and exaggerated them to create a more intense recollection. We do it all the time, but it was intriguing to do that through such a primal way of image-making.