Alice Neel Home Lithography

The prompt for the Kick-About #5 on Red’s Kingdom blog was the early Alice Neel painting, Symbols (see below). I decided to do some monoprints and had several tries where the prints just weren’t matching the vision in my head for this challenge. Finally, in frustration, I mixed some fabric ink I had with the printing ink on a small metal rolling plate and had that moment of excitement when I pulled the paper off the plate. The two inks weren’t really compatible (even says so on the bottles!) and the effect was much closer to what I was looking for – much closer to Alice’s experience, I think. Alice Neel’s biography is fascinating and she lived a difficult life as a woman artist, receiving popular recognition only later in life. She painted unvarnished, unflinching portraits of her subjects and from what I read, never compromised on that.

Symbols by Alice Neel, 1932

Thank you, Kerfe for the Kick-About inspiration! (And you are right – I had seen some of Alice Neel’s portraits – although it was the one of a heavily pregnant woman in bed. It was in a larger show about less-often-portrayed nude figures). The entire collection of responses to the Kick-About #5 goes up next week on Phil’s blog – so stay tuned!

9 comments

    1. I see how the black figure on the primary color background evokes Matisse’s prints and cutouts 😀 – a flattering reminder, to be sure!

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  1. Marcy, these are really strikingly great! They have a dramatic eye-catching quality to them that is amazing. The incompatibility of the inks creates a high level of contrast that really makes them stand out. I love the ambiguity inherent in these prints — it makes them endlessly fascinating to contemplate. I also love how, if I am reading your post correctly, you invented a novel print technique! As Proust said: “You have a soul in you of rare quality, an artist’s nature”. Hope you’re having a safe and happy 4th.

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    1. Thank you, John! You too – hope you are having a safe and sane holiday weekend. I appreciate the credit as well – I’m sure some other frustrated artist has taken it out on their printing plate in the past too! 😀

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  2. Morning Marcy – indeed, there’s a confrontation and agitation to your images that has proper Neel-ness! I’m just off to move these into the next showcase – always an exciting moment as the collection grows, diversifies and then draws together again.

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