clouds on a black sky

I know the blog has been pretty quiet of late, and I apologise to regular readers.  I hope a few of you at least has persisted and check back in now and then, secure in the knowledge I’d eventually get back to posting.  Rest assured I have been busy, in fact blog posts are probably somewhat inversely proportional to general business.

Peter McLean, Untitled (clouds), 152cm x 56cm, monotype, 2011

One recently emerging project is large monotypes, continuing on the themes of clouds and skulls.  I think I have written about skulls and bones here before, but why clouds?  For a lot of the same reasons really.  Clouds are ephemeral of course, coming and going with every one unique, and yet adhering to recognisable forms.  And where do these forms come from?  The interactions of physical materials (water vapour, ice crystals etc) and nature’s processes (convection, condensation etc.) all operating beyond ordinary perception leaving us these fleeting objects in the sky which often promise but don’t always deliver life-giving rain.

Monotypes are a form of printmaking, though unlike most print forms can not be made as multiples.  Flat plates of metal, glass or perspex form the matrix on which the image is drawn in stiff ink.  The positive image can be applied to the plate using brushes, rags or a range of implements, or ink can be applied to the entire plate with a roller and a negative image drawn by removing the ink through similar means.  This second approach is the one I have been using.  While monotypes can be printed by hand, the best results are achieved by passing the plate and paper through a press in a similar way to an etching.  I’ve been using the Hilton electic press at Megalo Print Studio and Gallery in Canberra, which is just big enough to allow me to print up to a full sheet of Hahnemuhle paper edge to edge.

Inking up on the Hilton press at Megalo Print Studio


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2 Responses to “clouds on a black sky”

  1. artistatexit0 Says:

    I love the scale of these prints Pete! Somewhere a friend showed my a 19th century book on the classification of clouds and it was fascinating. I will try to hunt the title down for you.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    What stunning work…I look forward to prints of northern hemisphere clouds

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