Drawing I always loved best. As a child, it was princesses in high heels, walking Egyptian style, feet pointing in the same direction. Now I’m a bit more sophisticated,
having learned about the magic of perspective and color.
I went to art school at a time when Abstract Expressionism, then Pop Art and then Minimalism were “de rigueur” in the galleries, and though I loved much of the art among them, they didn’t grab my heart. Eventually, and a long way down the road, I found that my love of plants and their depiction in a field called “Botanic Art” satisfied my hunger and made me at peace with the work to which I was committing my time.
Initially I painted primarily in watercolors, and then I discovered printmaking, and especially etching, with its allure of the pretty copper plate, the intoxicating smell of oil-based ink and the thrill of lifting the first proof from the press bed.
Etching has a centuries-old history in the Arts, spanning Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, all the way to our modern and contemporary artists. It felt really good when, in 2007, one of my prints was displayed next to a Picasso in a show curated by William J.Dane at the Newark Public Library called “The World in Prints: An International Survey of Graphic Arts, Contemporary and Historic.”
For over 20 years now I’ve explored the various etching techniques to express my concepts of botanical art: drawing, scratching, scraping and burnishing my plates, aquatinting and spit-biting them, oftentimes hand-coloring the finished print. I roam the public and private gardens in my neighborhood in search of plants that I feel I could successfully translate onto copper. So much divine magic in every leaf! Come winter, I descend into the Conservatories like Persephone into the underworld.
© 2022 Monika de Vries Gohlke.
All Rights Reserved.