Sometimes you know your work needs a change in direction, but you're not quite sure how to go about it. Such was the case with the first group of prints I'd attempted in Roswell. Indeed, I made them almost a year ago now, but I was so unhappy with them that I didn't post about them until now.

I knew I needed to establish an identity with Roswell that was distinct from the sort of work I was doing in Vermont, but I didn't know how to go about it initially. I'd been working with organic subjects such as trees, so I decided to try my hand at architecture when I got to Roswell. While out sketching one morning, I found a crumbling facade. I liked the texture, so I drew it before it got too hot:

From there, I created a drypoint on Plexiglas.

Then I printed a few versions:

The subject matter may have been different, but I found myself going back to my usual techniques of multiple monotypes. I ended up creating a trio of prints, with each one incorporating a different color scheme.

I thought the monotypes were too similar to the sort of work I was doing in Vermont, so I added shapes to break up the uniformity of color:

Looking at the prints, I found myself thinking about detritus. The architectural background came from an abandoned building, and the colors and shapes I'd used in the monotypes were based on discarded objects I'd found walking along the road. Thinking of ways to continue the theme of cast-off items, I tossed some cast-off dove feathers I'd collected over the last few months.

Typically in my layered prints I create line drawings, but this time I went for a trompe l'oeil effect, using paint as well as ink. I wanted to make the feathers look as realistic as possible in order to heighten the more abstract nature of the rest of the print. The final pieces turned out like this:

The most successful one, in my opinion. I ended up giving it to a friend as a Christmas present. 
From a technical standpoint, the prints were as competent as anything else I'd done, but I wasn't happy with them. Initially I thought it was because I'd tried doing too much with them visually, so I put them in a box and forgot about them. Looking back at them now, though, I can more readily understand the source of my dissatisfaction. In trying to change my subject matter, I was concentrating on Roswell's negative aspects. During my time in Vermont, I expressed my ruminations on memory, experience, and the subjectivity of both through landscapes and other subject matter I enjoyed. My prints asked questions about the nature of existence, but did so in a positive way by using imagery extracted from a place I enjoyed. 

With the Roswell prints, I shifted my focus to detritus. By focusing on cast-off things, I concentrated on that which we choose to forget, not to remember. This isn't a bad thing in itself, but what it did do was cast Roswell in a somewhat negative light for me. I didn't find myself enjoy my setting as much as I could have because I was focusing on less positive qualities. I'm not saying that art should be all sunshine and kittens, it needs to ask provocative questions to be relevant, but for me personally, it was too soon to be probing the forgotten side of Roswell. I needed to appreciate the town's good characteristics in order to feel comfortable with it as a place, and only then would I be able to approach its detritus without bring overwhelmed by it. To put it bluntly, I didn't like the prints because they highlighted what I didn't like about Roswell at the time. My intentions were good, I wanted to try something new, but it wasn't the best way to start off in a new town.

Thankfully, I did change tactics, which has allowed me to focus on Roswell's many positive aspects. I learned how to marble paper, which has enabled me to energize my prints in a new way. I've also gone back to organic subject matter (with the exception of that great silo), because it has its own unique qualities that deserve exploration. I spend most of my free time at Bottomless Lakes and other parks anyway, so it makes more sense to focus on subjects that relate more directly to my immediate experiences. I've also continued working with clay, which allows for even more possibilities (I know, I haven't posted much of it here, but I'm still practicing). 

Will I ever go back to Roswell's detritus? Perhaps, but now is not the time, and quite frankly, I have enough to keep me busy.