Thursday, November 11, 2010


Ménière's I, oil on paper, 30 x 40 cm

This is my first attempt at a monoprint. I roughed out the form in oils on glass and then, using a roller, impressed the image onto a sheet of Canson Oil Sketch A3 290 gsm paper.

I've decided to paint what i know, and what i know right now is Ménière's . So i'm going to seek ways to express what that feels like, how that alters my world, my perceptions, my sense of who i am.

To do that i need to induce visual frustration, a sense of nausea, a clouding of perception. And to do that, i think i need to find ways to loosen up my work, to step back further still from photorealism.

I figure the royal road to doing this is by taking away my control. Such as methods that use gallons of paint flowing everywhere, or ridiculously long brush handles (like a broom-stick), or oversize brushes for the size of the support, or media that don't mix (oil and acrylic paint at the same time). And in this instance, smudging monoprint from a fairly free doodle painted onto glass and then lifted off onto paper.

Is it worth doing? I don't know yet. At least it's fast and coincides with my world being a bit wonky. And gets me out to the studio.

UPDATE:   Here is my second attempt:

Ménière's II, oil on paper, 30 x 40 cm


  1. Is this really your first attempt with monoprint? It looks great. But then again you're so good in what you do. :-)
    A strong portrait which reminds me on the old Masters like Rembrand.

    I wish you all the best and strength you need.

    Sweet greetz.....

  2. i like it, hope your experimentation proves fruitful for you

  3. Yep!!
    its wonderfully erie
    love it

  4. It appears that the further you step back, the closer you get to rawness. Wonderful.

  5. I think it's well worth it, Harry, this loosening up of your technique. The result here is haunting.

  6. Harry, this is the sign of a true artist - taking an obstacle or adverse condition and finding ways to turn it into a tool for new creativity! But the sign of a great artist is that the results are immediately substantial and compelling, like the work you share here. I am sorry to hear your world is still vertiginous, but if fighting the spin is not an option, perhaps occupying it through your art will provide some balance, the inner intangible kind. All the best to you. Harry.

  7. Youre too kind, Monica. A hug for our fav carer.

    Thanks Christopher - i'll plug on.

    Yes, jb, a bit spooky. I wanted to be blurry round the edges, rather like i feel, lol.

    Thanks Hallie. Rawness i like. It's still a bit too pretty to be really raw, but will keep trying.

    Hi Elizabeth. Glad it touched some kind of nerve for you.

  8. Harry, I'm sorry to hear you are still struggling with this! As always, you are an inspiration... I have talked myself out of going to the studio for far less than Meniers! This monoprint is fascinating to look at. The way I see it, this face almost seems to be emerging from dirty, bubbling water.

  9. it is emotional...but in a unique way. It is a person who doesn't look sad or mad or glad... this person looks resolute...strong and grounded. Maybe that is not what you meant--but it is what I see.

  10. Hello Harry,
    Bravo for doing this. Unfortunately, for some reason, the print did not appear on our computer, so I can only imagine how good it must be.
    Glad to see you're still fighting this Meniers malady. Here's to the hope that you're soon through with it and left only with the inspiration.
    All The Best,

  11. can't help but thinking this is someone significant... perhaps everyone has a someone like this in it: in the background, quiet, but there til they are no longer there and some didn.t even see their departure but they leave a huge emptiness... just my interpretation of what i see.
    made me think what art is, really made me realise it doesn't exist as art without an emotional response from someone...

  12. Creo que tu visión de artista es la que corresponde a todo artista : innovar, investigar, probar y obtener siempre una expresión artística nueva.
    Tú vas a la vanguardia, como muchos otros artistas.
    Buena suerte en tu búsqueda esencial y artística.

  13. so personal, so full of character, I love your style

  14. What a heroic vision you gift me with, Gabriella. I'm not sure i can live up to that but what you say nevertheless strikes a chord. For i do believe in the power of the arts to transmute dross into gold. And the richest store of dross is our inner cupboard full of soiled memories, assorted scars, and broken dreams. There is something calculating about the artistic mind - it will raid any piggy bank for material.

    And i agree and hope that such alchemy can restore some kind of inner balance. At minimum it may help digest some indigestible facts. At its best it may have woven a story or created an image that others find redemptive for themselves.

    And thirdly i agree that there is something heroic about so many lives, often the quietest and most unassuming ones. For i believe we live by courage. I’m not thinking of an open bravery where the moment calls for single courageous response, but of a covert summoning up of the human spirit in order to endure. To live with grinding poverty or a permanent disability or with depression. To be intensely shy and front up to a party. To be agoraphobic but go to the supermarket shopping. To grieve for a lost loved one but turn up for work anyway.

    Bravery can often be measured and given a medal. We understand how tough it is to charge a machinegun. However the courage of which i speak usually can’t be measured and goes unnoticed. Because it confronts the demons of ordinary life. But by one who is damaged and not fully equipped. What seems effortless to everyone around them is herculean to those whom i celebrate here.

  15. Harry
    the monotype, worth it, yes!
    I think the result is quite satisfactory, expressive and intense, and because it is monochromatic, a little dramatic!!
    is also an experiment that deals with the element of surprise, you do not have the whole direction of the result, is not it? ...
    very cool!
    Hugs, my friend!

  16. Love your image of dirty bubbling water, Nicki. My only problem is, is the face emerging or slowly sinking, lol?

  17. You sure cheer me up, Celeste. Grounded. Resolute. Am straightening my back even as i write. In fact, dammit, i'll stop writing and go for a walk in the sun!

  18. Hi Gary, thanks for dropping by and your words of encouragement. Your own work goes from strength to strength. Great to see.

  19. I see this one blurred, blending into the background, melting. I've read a tiny bit on Meniers (did not know about this disease and find it frightening to think about being hit with this - like a more permanent migraine with the vertigo and nausea). I applaud you working through this and coming up with something so subtle and so other-worldly. Like a ghost face returning from the darkness, something bubbling up and out towards us to say, Damn it, I'm still here and I'm still gnawing on it!!

  20. Hi Harry... I'm a "glass is half full" kind of gal, so I think that is why I see the face emerging rather than sinking!

    :0) Nicki

  21. Fantastic, I love monoprints, I must do some more, I sympathise as I am suffering a similar thing right now but thankfully the drugs are working really well. Just hoping this thing isn't going to stay with me for long. My very best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery for you very soon. As per your last reply to my comment, bring it on......

  22. Hello Harry,
    Whew! I am able to see your second attempt and it's everything I knew you would do. Fabulous image and though it isn't possible for me to truly understand this affliction, I certainly get a good sense of what you must be going through.
    Yesterday, I began work on your portrait. The Meniere's sparked the idea of attempting to paint what this problem might make you feel like. It's a serious challenge to my imagination and in a way, I'm glad your monoprint doesn't show-up on our computer as I'd like this to be a true original. Now, I must try to "un-see" your second version.
    So, great work and I hope you are free of the misery and feeling much better.

  23. hi Rahina, Sorry it's taken a little while to respond to your though provoking take on this painting. I really like reading of an 'unseen departure'.

    I couldn't agree more that the viewer completes the act of creation in art. A painting is just a patch of canvas with some stuff smeared on it hanging on a wall. It is the mind of the viewer that interprets the marks and the context, constructs personal mental analog of what's the on the wall, brings all their own knowledge and experience to that analog to create a new piece of meaning.

    Your realisation also makes me realise that the more indistinct these latest images become, the more likely they are to act like a Rorschach ink blot. The ambiguous blurriness teases the eye to scan and the mind seek meaning. Where none can be found the mind then projects its own meaning onto the ambiguity. I expect this mechanism is at work with all painting, even the most photo-realistic but is really put into higher gear by indistinct images.

  24. Hi Rosa, Thanks.

    Gracias por visitar mi blog y por sus comentarios alentadores, Leonarda.

    Hi Laura. Youre always so encouraging - a real tonic.

  25. Thanks for those observations, Denise. You are so skilled and experienced with graphic techniques and do such wonderful things with them so i particularly respect your opinion.

    And yes, this experimentation, just the start. I don't quite know where it will lead. Some more monoprint but then a large work in oil on canvas, i expect.

  26. Love your reading of it, RH. I feel a bit ghostly, only part present. But am i emerging from the darkness or slowly being swallowed? So i love your affirmative "i'm still gnawing on it"!

    And your glass half full approach, Nicki, on the same question.

  27. Welcome to the blog, John. Glad you liked it. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    Carolann, not you too! Glad the pills are working for you. Thanks for the good wishes.

  28. Gary, this a real mystery. Why won't the first one still not display on your screen, yet the second one does? Hmmmm.

    Once you have your own work down, you can view the first one here

    Exciting to hear youre on fire with ideas. Looking forward to your take on it.

  29. Great
    Tank you for sharing

  30. this is fantastic!! I like it:)bye

  31. This technique gives a spooky result. It is very different and artistically interesting.
    My best wishes.