As the daughter of a geology professor and a high school biology teacher, I grew up learning that nature was both explainable and full of magic. I was encouraged to look closely at the natural world- to be curious about the connections between things and what might be under the surface of what I saw. This combination of focused looking, relaxed daydreaming and asking open ended questions is essential to my artistic process today.
Trained as a painter, I fell in love with the monotype process when I lived in Taos, New Mexico. Something happened when I started making monotypes that opened up a different side of me. I felt tremendous freedom to experiment, play, fail and figure things out in my own way.
In 1996, I moved from New Mexico to the Pacific Northwest and found inspiration in the lush,veiled atmosphere of the region. I began making tonal monotypes exploring the subtle and evocative light of the Northwest landscape.
I work to create an equivalent of light by building up translucent layers of etching ink, often scratching into the surface after pulling the print from the press and adding additional marks with cut up credit cards and paint brushes. Clouds are made by wiping away forms on the inked plate with sticks and soft cloths– a deeply pleasurable and meditative process.
My intent is to reduce the landscape to essentials, evoking an emotional space that invites you inside while retaining a painterly flatness and surface tension. I’m interested in exploring the edge between abstraction and realism, chaos and control.
The challenge of making a visual and poetic equivalent of the landscape continually pushes me to explore new techniques in monotype. I never know what’s going to happen when I run a plate through the press. I have specific intentions when I work but I also respond to what emerges on the plate and intuitively follow the image as it unfolds.
Watch Wendy Orville: Inside the Artist’s Studio.
Watch a short Instagram reel of my process.
See the article and podcast with Wendy on Hello, Print Friend.