Category Archives: mono-type printmaking

What is an Exquisite Corpse?

A tradition from the Surrealists continues in a recent exhibition with the Los Angeles Printmaking Society

The Surrealists adapted a parlor game into a poetic way to create relationships using either images or texts, that might reveal the metaphysical and upend the rational. Key to the game was using creativity and chance to create something collaboratively and something new! 

Known as “Exquisite Corpse” since the 1920’s, when passing a folded piece of paper created the sentence; “the exquisite corpse drinks the new wine”. Exquisite Corpse is now a regular practice of visual artists to work together creatively.  There are many examples online. Each artist creates a body in three parts, then they are mixed up with the sections made by other artists. No one knows how the sections will be mixed together until the end. 

Certainly artists are happy to be able work together and to have in-person events once again. Since 2020 was surely a cursed year for most of the planet, we are very happy that things are somewhat better in 2021.

Without going into all the issues in the world, I am sharing some photos of a recent exhibit from a group collaboration with the Los Angeles Printmaking Society which took place at the International Printmaking Museum in Carson, CA. 

Image of section of an Exquisite Corpse, "Why is she holding a fish?" Kathleen Thoma

Head section of “Why is she holding a fish?”, Kathleen Thoma, monotype

I am also showing my own process in creating my own contribution to this show. I start with showing my drawing in pencil. Then my drawing on a plate using Caran D’Ache neocolor wax crayons for the press.

Image of process in creating my part of an Exquisite Corpse, with the Los Angeles Printmaking Society

Image of process in creating “Why is she holding a fish?”, Exquisite Corpse with Los Angeles Printmaking Society

I created three monotypes for the color base image. Then the plate with the crayon image was placed on top of the monotypes, and run though the press using slighly damp paper. This step is a bit tricky, because if the paper is too damp, then the paper can tear under the pressure of the press. I’ve done this technique before, and I believe that it works better in a more humid climate (such as in New England) than in a near dessert climate where I now live, in here in Southern California. But I did manage to make it work.  

Why is she holding a fish?, Kathleen Thoma Art, monotype, 45x15 in

Why is she holding a fish?, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 45×15 in, Exquisite Corpse collaborative

Our collaborative Exquisite Corpse was shown in two parts this summer and fall, There were two installments of this exhibition from LA Printmaking artist members:

View of Exquisite Corpse Collaborative Exhibit at International Printing Museum

View of Exquisite Corpse collaborative exhibition at International Printing Museum in Carson, CA

First installation: August 5th to September 1st.
Second Installation: September 3rd to September 30th. 

Artists in the first installation (August 5th to September 30th):
Mary Sherwood Brock, John Edwards, Christina Yasmin Fesmire, Karen Fiorito, Jani Hoberg, Poli Marichal, Gail D Panske, Marianne Sadowski, Katherine Sheehan, Barbara Belle Sloan, Annie Silverman, Kathleen Thoma, Cathy Weiss.
With special guests from the Lynck Collective;
Christina Yasmin Fesmire, Bill Jaros and Nguyen Ly.
Artists in the Second Installation (Sept 3rd to 30th):
Mary Sherwood Brock, Marianne Sadowski, Katherine Sheehan, Amaryllis Siniossoglou and Silvia Simmons. 

Printmaking and the Imaginal Realm

In this post I am sharing recent printmaking work inspired by personal explorations into what Carl Jung called the “imaginal realm”. 

A very short story

In 2009, before I moved away from the east coast, I viewed a show at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The show featured “The Red Book” by Carl Jung, which had never been available for exhibition before. I had read much of Jung’s work over the years and jumped on the train for a chance to see it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Book_(Jung)

I spent all the time that I could to study the pages of art which Jung had created from his own explorations of his personal imaginal realm. Without going into this topic too much, it is a way of restraining the conscious mind so that images from the “collective unconscious” may by explored.

The Treasure

For an artist, this imaginal realm is a treasure of endless images to work with! Many techniques can be used to make this exploration; among them are forms of meditation, shamanism and dream work. An abundance of information on this topic is online already, so no need to elaborate on that.  

I am sharing a recent work from my personal explorations into this realm, the most recent one shown here is called “The Queen of the Nagas”. This archetype appears on and off in my dream world. And I felt the need to give her image a boost into this ordinary world by means of a technique called a “collagraph”. This is a way of creating textured images and, by using inks of various viscosity, it is possible to build-up multiple colors onto one plate.

Queen of the Nagas, Kathleen Thoma, collagraph, linocut, chine College 14.75x11 in

Queen of the Nagas, Kathleen Thoma, collagraph, linocut, chine colle, 14.75×11 in

What is a Naga?

They are mythic Buddhist serpent people who have great powers, guard inner treasures, and you definitely want to stay on their good side according to the myths. As protecting nature spirits, they don’t like people polluting their rivers, streams or oceans. They bring rain, wealth, and fertility when honored. I imagine they are not very happy with humans these days. The link shows more information about Nagas and their myths world wide. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/naga

In terms of artistic explorations with printmaking this image took me some time to work out. But I enjoyed it very much. I have been creating a number of images symbolically related to climate change recently, so this is one more. I used several printmaking techniques, as indicated in the caption. 

Photos from “ImMigration Project”

Photos from “ImMigration project 3” a collaborative traveling group exhibition showing at Self-Help Graphics and Art. 

ImMigration Project photos

ImMigration Project at Self Help Graphics and Art. Many artists are shown on the wall that I am next to.

 Showing : Saturday, January 11th to February 22nd, 2020

 Opening Reception, January 11th, 7PM – 9PM

Photos from ImMigration Project

Each printmaker has contributed a triangle shaped image to this wall display. There are many displays in the show.

I am showing a few shots from the opening night of “ImMigration Project” just to give some idea of how the show looks, which is pretty great. I am one of a great many printmakers from all over the place who have sent in their many interpretations and various techniques of the theme of immigration, but also of migration in general, of any sort. To live on our planet is to move with life and it’s demands upon us. Some of us move often, some very far or not so far. The idea of borders is a purely human construction of the mind, with many sad events as a result. 

Photos from ImMigration Project

Here is another group of contributions from Printmakers from all over on the topic.

Some of the printmakers focus on the human tragedies and death camps. Some focus instead on seasonal animal migrations that are now also about climate change. All the images share ideas about the purpose of migration and immigration; for a better life, or for food, or to escape horror and war.

Photos from ImMigration Project

Our curator, Mary Sherwood, who came up with this wonderful show for us all, and myself.

ImMigration has previously shown in Denton, Texas, Venice, Italy and now here in Los Angeles, CA at Self Help Graphics and Art. More locations for this traveling show will be announced later.

More info: LAPrintmaking.com or on Instagram for more and better photos than here. Also on Facebook on the LAPS page

selfhelpgraphics.com/exhibitions

Kali as a symbol of Climate Change

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 14.5X17.5 in

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & chine colle, 14.5x 17.5 in

Art, Earth Day & Climate Change

While creating an entry for the upcoming show; Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, CA; the myth and stories of the Hindu Goddess Kali, jumped into my mind. 

The theme this year is our relationship to the environment. And for me, that is the heartbreaking news of climate change which is everywhere around us and has been ongoing for a long while. According to recent UN reports, we are nearly out of time. We have about twelve years perhaps.

I have always seen climate change in symbolic forms as if it were happening through a series of images from a dream. This dream which is shared by all of the life on our planet; is either going to be changed by all of us working together or it will continue growing into a nightmare. 

My image shows the “ruins” of our lives and civilizations in the upper left, while also showing the “forest of life” to the right. So the image can be read in either direction. The question becomes: Are we going to towards the ruins of our planet’s ecosystem? Or are we going to rebirth our planet?  And while Kali dances between the two possible futures; at her feet, we see the poisons that we have already left behind on earth, the plastic, the death, the radiation. 

The Hindu Goddess Kali is a complex, ancient symbol of change, death and rebirth, healing, cycles of time, and opportunity. Although most traditional images show her only in her terrible death aspect, she is also seen as the mother, who gives us the courage to hope while she helps cut away ignorance with her wicked sword. 

The Los Angeles Printmaking Society is a national non-profit artist-run organization. The juror, Marion Estes has selected many wonderful hand-pulled prints for this exhibition.  I hope you will see our LA Printmaking Spring Show at Eagle Rock from April 5-April 30, which in conjunction with many other Earth Day-related activities. 

Update: 

 I have a few photos to share from the opening.

Exhibition Signage

2019-Sweet Earth-Bitter Earth exhibition signage

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma

The Age of Kali, Kathleen Thoma

gallery view of Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth, Center for the Arts at Eagle Rock, LA

Gallery view of Sweet Earth/Bitter Earth, Center for the Arts at Eagle Rock, LA

link to info on exhibition

 

Dreaming, Spirit and the Creative Impulse

I thought that I would post some of my recent images, which continue my explorations into the intersection between dreaming, spirit and the creative impulse.

Evocation of Spring, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11

Evocation of Spring, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11in,

“Evocation of Spring” begins with a memory and a dream. The dream involves the image of huge open book, which has forms within it that I am still learning how to read. The memory is from childhood, of the delicate colors of spring flowers and the sound of rain falling into a pond. Using abstract symbols to express sound was a fun challenge, which I have played with in the past. Many of my previous works were created by remembering the sound of drums, or by listening to drums as I work.

Perennial Mosaic, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11 in

Perennial Mosaic, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, chine colle, 14x11in

“Perennial Mosaic” is another dream-like image, a collection of impressions from plants, sound patterns, and the colors of summer. These appeared to me as a mosaic of shapes, so I allowed them to grow together.

A Woman's Psyche, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, collage, chine colle, 11x14 in

A Woman’s Psyche, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, relief, collage, chine colle, 11x14in

“The Psyche of Woman” shows the symbiotic relationship between human and nature as it should be, when humans are working to support our world instead of working against it. The woman is in her separate space, yet she is dependent upon her surroundings, whether or not she is aware of it.

These monotypes will be in my portfolio gallery very soon.

I am very happy that I was accepted into the Los Angeles Printmaking Society! I loved their recent show “Air, Water and Earth” at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA. I spent a great deal of time at the show, just taking it all in. I look forward to showing my work with them when the time is right.

New series of Monotypes

 

Contemplations on Samsara-1, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 11x14 in

Contemplations on Samsara-1, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 11×14 in

Meditations on Samsara is a series of monotypes based upon my practice of focus on one symbol in order to quiet the mind. This practice is the basis for this new series of works showing the slowly developing changes in the object of focus. This series of monotypes documents the many other images, which came into my mind during the practice. These other surrounding images are the inspiration for my artwork. Dream Yoga info  The complete description and images from this series is within the portfolio. Meditations on Samsara

Contemplations on Samsara, in process, Kathleen Thoma, monotype, 11x14 in

Contemplations on Samsara, work in process, Kathleen Thoma, monoype, 11×14 in

 

Meditations on Samsara-7, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & paint, 11x14 in

Meditations on Samsara-7, Kathleen Thoma, monotype & paint, 11×14 in

Some changes on my web site as well, it has a new store format, within each of the galleries, after clicking upon an image; you can access the shopping cart.

What have I been up to? Preparing for fall events…

The past few months I have been very busy working on new relief prints for some fall events.

Matrix, Kathleen Thoma, relief, 4x6 in

Matrix, Kathleen Thoma, relief, 4×6 in

I will participate in the annual The Los Angeles Printmaking Society’s show “Give and Take”, which opens November 9, 2017 at the Angel City Brewery. This is part of an effort to raise funds for student scholarships and printmaking outreach. Information about this show is at www.laprintmakers.com/site/node917

I will also have a table at the 9th Annual Los Angeles Printers Fair in Carson, CA, which takes place on Saturday Oct. 14, from 10 am to 5pm. I will be showing at table A2, inside the museum. My relief prints and postcards will be for sale there; while I enjoy meeting new people and talking to everyone. Each year I enjoy seeing what everyone has been creating during the year, and looking at all the beautiful papers that the paper vendors are selling.

Divergence of Woman, Kathleen Thoma, relief, 4x6 in

Divergence of Woman, Kathleen Thoma, relief, 4×6 in

This is a fun event for all ages, and a chance to try your hand at printmaking if you have never done so, print your own t-shirt, and watch the demonstrations of old printing presses in the museum. Vendors sell hand-pulled cards, handmade books, posters, invitations, journals, fine art papers, and there is a letterpress swap meet and more. Information at www.printmuseum.org/printersfair/general-information/

My prints will also be for sale on my site by then as well. So if you can’t come to the shows, take a look and see later on.

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

What would an invitation from another planet look like?

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. Inspired by this question, I created  a series of invitations to our planet, inviting us for a visit. I’m sure I must have watched too many episodes of Star Trek as a kid. 

In my mind’s eye, I could see the invitations appear in front of me. Perhaps, they simply pop into every mail box and email box in the world, all at once. 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.