“Too Many” Ideas


One reason I love working on Artprof.org so much is that my mind is always racing with a flood of ideas.  The site has only been live for a year and 9 months. We now have over 30 video courses and that still feels like a tiny drop of water in an ocean of ideas.

Some days I literally feel like every single activity I do in the studio should be produced as a video.  Last Friday, I did a direct trace technique with my Painterly Prints courses at RISD; it was the first day of class so there was a ton of information to go over like the printshop guidelines, supplies, setting everyone up with a flatfile, etc. I knew I wanted to do a monotype technique that didn’t involve a press so we could just get acquainted with the shop. The direct trace technique was the perfect fit for that day.


Direct tracing couldn’t be easier:  ink up a plexiglass plate, place a sheet of paper over the inked up place, draw on the sheet of paper with anything: a pencil, a fork, a plastic knife, a pen, a stick, a scraper, a palette knife, anything that can create pressure on the paper. Lift up the paper and on the back side will be your print.

The results are incredibly unpredictable; you literally cannot see what you are drawing as you create the piece, but that’s exactly why it’s so exciting.  You completely give up on trying to retain any level of control in the process and give into the spontaneity of the technique.


We have printmaking videos on Artprof.org which are really long and involve a lot of technique and explanation, like the linoleum block course using the elimination technique which allows multiple colors on top of each other from the same block. The monotype course with gel printing plates is pretty fast, but still involves lots of explanation to do it right. A video on this direct trace technique would be even faster.  I like the idea of having a range of length in our tutorials; some are super long and involved while others are quick and easy.


Having too many ideas is a “good” problem to have, I never have a moment where I wonder what to do next. Rather, it’s a matter of prioritizing what is high in demand in terms of content and technique, what are the “staples” of studio art that we can’t live without.



Up next on our shoot schedule: gouache & illustration, finishing up the oil painting course, and gesture drawing with anatomy.

Of the top of my head my immediate wish list includes: transfer techniques with citrasolv, wintergreen oil, etc. a portrait painting video talking about how to paint different skin complexions, a casting technique. (silicone rubber or plaster waste mold)


Artprof.org is a free website for learning visual arts which features video tutorials, art critiques, and more.

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