Category Archives: mono-type printmaking

New work, shows, invitations from the 7 planets

Dispatch from Omega Centauri, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & collage, 11x14 in

Dispatch from Omega Centauri, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & collage, 11×14 in

This month has been busy with work, a series of out-of-this-world invitations, a few shows and lots of printmaking. With the addition of collage to my monotype work, my images have been expanding in many new directions. You can view a number of new monotypes with collage worked into their compositions in my galleries. See New Abstract Works

I began to get some exciting fun ideas with the discovery of 7 new exoplanets, Trappist 1, in the constellations of Aquarius, only 40 light years away (235 trillion miles) from earth.https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around

I imagined a series of Royal Invitations inviting us for a visit

Royal invitation from the 7 Planets-2, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & collage, 5x7in

Royal Invitation from the 7 planets-2, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & collage, 5×7

Wouldn’t other life-forms on otherworld’s use a visual, symbolic language to communicate? Or would they use sound? I have no idea. In my own work, I created  a series of invitations to our planet, inviting us for a visit. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have fantasies about these far away exoplanets, and I will be watching for the ideas they spark in the minds of creative people all over the world. Although more recent updates to this discovery are less exciting, it is still an enjoyable source of inspiration.

In my mind’s eye, I can see the invitations appear in front of me. Perhaps, I remember how the invitations arrived to Harry Potter in the movie, by flying into the mailbox. I imagine that is how they must arrive, if they were from another constellation. I have no idea what sort of paper aliens would use, so I just used what I had on hand.

Royal Invitation from the 7 Planets-3, Kathleen Thoma, monotype& collage, 5x7in

Royal Invitation from the 7 planets-3, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & collage, 5×7 in

It’s been fun to play with these ideas, so have a look at the gallery and tell me what you think. I have a feeling there are more alien communications on the way. See Invitations

Some other news, I have three monotypes in a show coming up at the Fallbrook Art Center, May 21 – July 2, in the “Annual Artist Guild, Juried Members Show”. Fallbrook has a wonderful, very professional gallery, you can see more at the link here. http://fallbrookartcenter.org/

I am currently in the “National Collage Society Postcard Exhibit” at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario, CA, and I was also in a show called the “The Heart Seed”, at The Hive in North Kingstown in Rhode Island this past January.

2017 fallbrook flyer

 

My work now available through Saatchi Art

 

photo solar plate test

solar plate test

It’s been very busy year for my work. I have worked with new techniques, entered new groups and relationships and made my work available through Saatchi Art.com, in addition to my own web store. My work was in a number of shows and I look forward to the next one, which will be called “Heart Seed” in RI, starting in December.

 

 

I am sharing photos of some experimental printing techniques that I have messing around with in my studio. Since I am not yet satisfied with any of them yet, they aren’t in my galleries. It is fun to try a lot of new stuff, because if I don’t, then I get bored with my own work. Which then leads me to stop working at all. I see it as daily exercise, like a dancer or musician has to practice each day to remain in shape.

 

Photo of test plate-Kathleen Thoma Art

“Riot”, solar plate test, Kathleen Thoma Art

I have printed some offset postcards of some of my work, which will be available through my store soon.

photo of Flora Post Cards

Flora Post Cards

In October I attended a “Surrealist Tea” which was at The Chado Tea Room in Pasadena, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the SCWCA. This was great fun and informative as our guest speaker was professor Gloria Orenstein.

photo of Gloria Orenstein

Gloria Orenstein

It was wonderful to learn about the ignored and forgotten great women surrealist artists, (such as Leonora Carrington) of which there are many. I was taught only about male surrealists in art school, but that is a topic I won’t rant about here. The tea was great fun and I wish it would happen every year.

In my explorations of Leonora Carrington, I discovered her wonderful book, “The Hearing Trumpet”. It is funny, very surrealistic, and it should be better known. It is available through Amazon.

photo of scwca tea

SCWCA Surrealistic Tea at the Chado Tea Room

 

Studio News-new work-LA Printers Fair

Paper Dawn, Kathleen Thoma, monotype-painting on paper 11x14 in

©2016 all rights reserved, Paper Spring, Kathleen Thoma, Monotype & chine colle, 11×14

I’ve been very busy in my studio these past months, creating a series of new works for my portfolio-nature on my website. I have also been busy exhibiting in a few shows, and preparing for the 2016 LA Printers Fair, which is a blast. Last year I had so much fun seeing everyone else’s work that I almost forgot my own table. This year I will be at table A-2, which is inside the building, out of the sun.

The LA Printers Fair is a wonderful. This year it is on Oct. 1, 2016 from 10am to 5pm in Carson, CA. Whether you are any kind of creative person or someone who is simply interested in any of the following: old mechanical printing presses, book arts, history, Letterpress, printmaking papers, cards of all kinds, posters, demonstrations, stuff to keep your kids amused, graphic design, artist prints, screen printed shirts, papermaking. (I have the link at the end of the page. They have a video of the past Fair so you can see how it is.)

Lavish Flora, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 11x14

©2016 all rights reserved, Lavish Flora, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & chine colle, 11x 14 in

My new works, inspired by nature will be featured in postcard images, which will be offered in packages. My printmaking methods of monotype, meaning “one print” are priced too high for an event such as this, so once a year I come here, have fun and share my artwork in a different format.

See you at the Fair perhaps, and take a look at the links if you like. See a video of last years Fair at www.printmuseum.org/fair.

The Many Levels of Creative Exploration & Expressive Arts

If anyone had asked me back in art school if creating art was a healing thing to do, I would have said “well, yeah, duh”, because making art was only thing keeping me sane for most of my life. Since childhood, art was my escape from family issues, and since I hated school, it was the only reason I ever finished high school at all. I would have missed the art room too much if I’d quit; the art studio was the only place I found myself feeling happy. But I had more to learn about it.

Kathleen Thoma, The Wanderer, monotype and drawing, 11x14 inches

The Wanderer
Kathleen Thoma
monotype and drawing
11×14 inches

My journey into a more conscious creative relationship with my personal image-making muse began many years ago back in Paris, in 1989, where I first found Cyntha Gonzalez. Her “ Spontaneous Painting” workshops were offered at a friend’s house. Cyntha was using a combination of methods in order to get us all into a flow of discovery and loosing our fear of losing control over our arms, hands and artistic skill. In one weekend, we used simple psychological/spiritual rituals, our non-dominate hands, music, dance, and the shamanic journey, in order to learn how to explode into a spell of creative madness, which produced a great flowering of joyful, wonderful artworks. We were all flabbergasted with ourselves, and each other. I felt we had found a doorway into the entire universe, although I’m not sure that the others did. I do know that nobody wanted to stop the process.

Isn’t all art expressive art?

This was my introduction into the “expressive arts”, even though no one called it that at the time. You might ask, “Isn’t all art expressive art?” I know that to me there was no difference, even though educators and therapists seem to have claimed the term for their own uses. I always thought, and still do, that all creative art heals the artist; How ever, I’m not so certain that I am always healed by looking at art made by others, if it makes me feel revolted or bored. To me, not all art is healing, although it may still be art. That is merely my own opinion, however art students and historians may argue its affect on larger society for eternity.

Bird Woman, Kathleen Thoma, monotype and drawing, 11x14 inches

Bird Woman,
Kathleen Thoma
Monotype and drawing
11×14 inches

”Wikipedia defines the difference this way, “Unlike traditional art expression, the process of creation is emphasized rather than the final product. Expressive therapy is predicated on the assumption that people can heal through use of imagination and the various forms of creative expression.”

It’s about the experience, not the end result

Whatever this creative experience/process is called, I know what it did for me. Cyntha’s workshop had a very strong effect on my “regular” life. It led me into a life-long study of shamanism, which in turn affected my artwork over time. I was introduced to an exploration of consciousness that my traditional art teachers would never come near to teaching us even if they had known how to do it. It was so much better than anything I had ever felt in art school. But then again, it was a different sort of teaching altogether; this was using our unconscious mind, heart, spirit and emotions, instead of only using our intellect and disciplined exercises.

The Wanderer, Kathleen Thoma, monotype and drawing, 11x14

Psychedelic Dream, Kathleen Thoma, 11×14 inches, Monotype and drawing

The effect of the expressive arts on my personal more “professional” artwork, is not a clear set of “boxes” in which the two remain separate. The freedom from the expressive arts often invades my “regular” work. Sometimes they are the same work. I feel it has enriched my whole life and certainly the practice of my shamanic work continues to influence me on many levels, and has led me to a universe of archetypal images, and abstract shapes.

I feel that the “expressive art” exercises and practices assist professional artists to free up and let go of all the rules that sometimes keep us blocked from our own creative flow of energy. And for everyone else who comes to the expressive arts from other professions; it is a great discovery of joy and ability. The point of the expressive arts is not only to “make art”; it is to express more of our whole being through the creative process of art. The techniques used to do this are numerous, but the goal is a union within our own hearts and traveling though our personal creative journey, no matter how we make our living.

The program at Salve Regina Universtiy

In 1998, while living in Rhode Island, I found a notice about a program at Salve Regina University, which offered a weeklong training in the Expressive Arts. I signed up and took the program, (the first they offered), and it continued to have an underlying influence on my own work and teaching for many years.

 

It was here that I met Susan Fox, one of the instructors there who later became a good friend and co-worker on other levels of creative exploration. Susan Fox is an author, artist and core member of the facility in the Expressive and Creative Arts Program at Salve Regina University, Newport RI.  She uses unique art-making processes, imagery, nature-based experiences and private coaching to support life goals, special projects and personal transformation. Her own web site below has all the details of how she offers her private coaching based on her twenty years at SRU. I talked to her recently and asked her a few questions about her work.

1) How has the Expressive Arts program at SRU grown and changed through time?

The Expressive and Creative Arts has grown into a broad-based program where we share the principles used in the creative process with a more diverse group of students – educators, counselors, artists of all kinds, and those in pursuit of holistic disciplines. We now offer many more classes incorporating more sound, story, movement and theater arts.

2) What is your favorite part of teaching Expressive Arts at SRU?

I enjoy the whole brain learning experience when students begin to trust their inner guidance and find ways to give voice to what has importance in their lives.

3) How has your own artwork been affected by your teaching?

My work is more explorative with a focus on embodied processes, less in the fine art and more in playful (more for my self) work that I enjoy as a place of peacefulness mostly for myself.

4) How has your private teaching changed from teaching Expressive Arts at Salve?

My private teaching is about transformational and creative practice and focuses on how we shift internally (how the creativity factor in all of us is waiting at the open doorway) just from the act of painting. I find I am less serious, intrinsically wilder! After 20 years with the program, the material in my ongoing private classes differs primarily with regard to the depth I can offer in a shorter time span.

This Spring I will be offering a hybrid class for advanced personal students who are open to creating fine art, along with expressive work, and want to pursue more theme- based concepts.

Susan Fox’s web site is www.creativefactorinyou.com

 All of the upcoming programs at Salve can be seen at http://ecarts.salvereginablogs.com/photos-video

Cyntha Gonzalez has offered her workshops all over the world, but for now mostly in Bahrain, Dubai, India, and the UAE.  She speaks many languages and has lived nearly all over the globe, the USA, France, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, and England. Her workshops are amazing and if you are lucky you may get into one.

Don’t just read about it; try it

I feel artist’s can open up their inner channels and access more easily their unconscious connection to the universe of images available to all of us through using what therapists call “expressive art’. I still find the term to be somewhat annoying, but not the concepts or use. Accessing images that are available to us through the many states of altered consciousness allows us to dip into the unending pool the “collective unconscious” as Carl Jung so wonderfully explored and wrote about. If you don’t know about him, you can certainly learn more on the web.

Taking a class is the best way, but here are some of the many books on Expressive Art (but doing it, not talking about it is what works) Here are some that I like, but there are many ways to do this. Some people like step-by step exercises, I happen to hate that approach, but tolerate it in a class. We are all different. I prefer to jump in and just do it.

Books

Visual Journaling: Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox

Art and Healing: Using Expressive Arts to heal your body, mind and spirit, Barbara Ganim

Trust the Process: an artist guide to letting go

Art Heals: How creativity cures the soul

Imagination in Action, all by Shaun Mc Niff

 

Showing at the LA Printers Fair 2015

On October 3, I enjoyed participating in the “Los Angeles Printers Fair 2015”, at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. I was at table 1A, inside the building, for those of you who may have stopped by. The show was a wonderful event, many great vendors, and demostrations. I had a blast and wish I could do this show every weekend.

photo of table at LA Printer's fair

My table at the 2015 LA Printer’s Fair

This is part of my greater goal of answering the larger question, which is…

How do I re-create my new and latest studio-nest?

Framed 8x10's ready to go by Kathleen Thoma

Framed 8×10’s ready to go

Many times in my life, I have been forced to move very long distances, both for reasons of choice or by circumstances beyond my control. I have lived in three countries, France, Canada and in six states in the US. I have had plenty of opportunities to learn both flexibility and adaptability. This has always been a challenge, an adventure, and it has also provided support to my creative endeavors. My most recent move from Connecticut to Orange County, CA was a very necessary one, for my husband badly needed a job, and I wanted to return to Southern California.

Wherever I go, I need to create a new studio, which I think of as a “nest” for incubating my venerable young ideas on their way to becoming whatever it is they need to grow into. I think of my studio as a nest because that is where I find myself and create a quiet, creative home for my work. (more…)

What is a Monotype?

Tropical Desires, Kathleen Thoma Art, 11x14 monotype

Tropical Desires,
Kathleen Thoma
Monotype,
11×14 inches

What is a Monotype? People often ask me this question, so it seemed to me be a good idea write about it. A monotype is a specific art technique. It doesn’t resemble other traditional printmaking methods such as engraved, relief carved, etching or lithographed prints which can produce exact, repeated copies. “Mono” means one, “Type” means print, so they are one-of-a-kind unique prints.

There is a long fine art tradition of monotype printing that most are unaware of, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Marc Chagall, William Blake and Henri Matisse all created monotype prints. However, these monotype works were often less well known.

Technically, a monotype is a simple form of printmaking. It begins with applying ink or paint onto a metal, glass or plexi-glass plate, manipulated with brushes or other tools; then pressure is applied, through the artist’s hand or through the press. (more…)

Ode to Winter,inspiration

Or how I discovered the Snow Queen.

Ode to Winter: I have recently created two fine art monotypes, “Ice Wave”, and “Winters Grace”. They are both a homage to my struggles in learning how to live in a much colder climate than I ever wanted to live in. They are both visual abstract images of the ice borne from the north wind that I was forced to accept as part of my life for at least half of each year while living in Canada, twenty-five years ago.

Kathleen Thoma, Winter's Grace, monotype, 12x24 inches

Kathleen Thoma
Winter’s Grace
monotype
12×24 inches

When I was a child, I felt that winter was something I wanted to sleep through, like a hibernating bear, in order to not really have to experience it at all. Except for Christmas, I just hated it.

Until I found myself in very long winters, unable to escape even in my dreams. I finally learned to find some beauty in it, although I would say that I still hated it. This happened when I lived in Montreal, Canada for five years. The first year, I thought I would die; the second year, I knew I wouldn’t die, I would just barely survive it. (Drama Queen)

By the third year, I knew that if I was stuck there, I would HAVE to find at least ONE thing that I liked about winter because I was feeling as though I could lose my mind like the writer in Stephen King’s novel, “The Shinning”. (I was half-way there already according to my husband.

So I set off on searching for that one thing for myself. And it ended up being the simplest of things. Just walking. Yes, just walking about, bundled-up in layers of sweaters, coat, hat, scarf, ugly snow boots. The ice forest near our apartment, being next to the St. Lawrence river, was often coated in lacework patterns of ice on the branches in the trees. It was often so cold that it would be crystal clear with the sunshine making the snow and ice sparkle like diamonds. It would take my breath away sometimes. I began to see how the myth of the snow queen was a natural idea in a winter ice forest. The thick icicles dripping off the tree branches seemed like her hair and dress, while the tree itself seemed like her body. The shapes were sinuous, and flowing, transparent while melting in the sun.

Kathleen Thoma, Ice Wave, monotype, 11x14 inches

Kathleen Thoma,
Ice Wave,
monotype
11×14 inches

The next two years were spent with my walks in this ice forest, observing and absorbing the nature around me, and allowing myself to see its beauty, even though I never did go as far as to completely love it.

So, as far as being a creative person is concerned, you never know what might inspire an image. It can even be something that you hate; and yet end up becoming something beautiful. So here is my homage to the cold, icy north wind. I can now sort of enjoy the Snow Queen, because I am far, far away in Southern California. Maybe I should try living in Iceland next?

See gallery link below for more:

http://www.kathleenthomaart.com/kathleen-thoma-art-abstract-monotypes/nature-monotypes/

photo-Fallbrook Art Center

Transferring Ink 3 accepts my work

photo of Kathleen Thoma at Transferring Ink 3 show opening

Kathleen Thoma & “Seaflight” at Transferring Ink 3 printmaking show opening

I’m happy to report the acceptance of one of my fine art prints into an exhibit, “Transferring Ink 3”  a printmaking show at the Fallbrook Arts Center in Fallbrook, CA. The show runs from June 29 – August 10, 2014.

The Juror for “Transferring Ink 3” is Ron Pokrasso, who has a section of the show with his wonderful prints. The works in the show have a high level of skill and variety of printmaking techniques which makes it interesting and informative.

The opening was well attended, and we all enjoyed ourselves.

 

 

photo-Fallbrook Art Center

Fallbrook Art Center

 

The Fallbrook Art Center has a beautiful gallery which provides numerous exhibitions and opportunities for artists and collectors each year.

 

Show Invite to Transferring Ink 3 at Fallbrook Art Center

Show Invite to Transferring Ink 3, at Fallbrook Art Center

It’s worth a look at their web site to see all they have to offer: www.fallbrookartcenter.org

 

 

 

Studio News-relocation to CA

After more than a year of trials and tribulations, I have relocated my studio, Kathleen Thoma Art, to Orange County, CA. I am very excited about the Irvine Fine Arts Center. They have a printmaking open studio available for artists to use. Last Wednesday, I decided to try it out and I was able to create a few images that I thought were worth my time.

 

New Journeys, monotype, Kathleen Thoma Art

One of my new works, “New Journeys”, 11 x 14, monotype

 

 

After a number of intense play/work hours, I ended up with a few things to show.

Kathleen Thoma at Laguna Beach

What a background! I am gathering inspiration at the beach, really.

I enjoyed meeting the wonderful people at the center and will certainly come again.

 

 

 

Come again to see my work inspired by the amazing beauty and color of southern California!

Platonic Diversion, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 8 x 10

Orange Therapy

Platonic Diversion, monotype, 8 X 10 in. by Kathleen Thoma Art

Platonic Diversion
Kathleen Thoma
monotype
8 x 10

Orange!  Peach! I love shades of orange! Why do I love orange today? All I know is that right now, while working on this particular image; orange rules! Why?

Orange makes me feel warm, happy, exuberant, communicative, sharing, open and relaxed. But why?  The psychology of color is what I’m writing about here.

When I was a kid, mixing bright watercolors on my brush and making a big giant mess on my paper was my greatest joy. When I was angry, I would use a pen, and make messy, dense black lines. At that time, the only thing I knew, was that using colors made me feel happier or at least give me a sense of control over my own mood. I knew nothing about the psychology of color. It was just a wonderful thing in my life, for some it’s music, building things or knitting; for me it was color. (more…)