Featured Artist Irene Yesley

Artist Irene Yesley’s abstract monotype prints highlight cutout shapes and underlying patterns. Learn more about this artist by visiting her website.


Abstract Layered Montotype print by Irene Yesley

“Cutout 1″ Monotype, 24″ x 24”


This series with cutout openings began when I was inspired by another artist’s painting. As I began working with this new idea, my approach grew and changed until, at some point, it would be difficult to trace the thread back to the original inspiration.


Abstract layered monotype print by Irene Yesley

“Cutout 2″ Monotype, 24″ x 24”


The piece from which I took my initial inspiration was a pattern that looked like a lot of layers with little holes peeking through to a lower layer. Based on this idea, I decided to make a three-dimensional monotype piece using two layers of paper.


Abstract layered monotype print by Irene Yesley

“Cutout 3″ Monotype, 24″ x 24”


On the top layer, I cut out two sides of little triangles and bent the third side back to reveal another pattern on the bottom layer. After making a few pieces this way, I found I liked it better if I cut out and removed the entire triangle.


Abstract layered monotype print by Irene Yesley

“Cutout 4″ Monotype, 24″ x 24”


Then I began experimenting by cutting out larger areas on the top layer. The cut out shapes grew in size from small triangles to wide lines. I am continuing on this path, cutting out different shapes, big and small.


Abstract layered monotype print by Irene Yesley

“Outer Space” Monotype, 19″ x 19″


I had no idea when I started with this three-dimensional thought, where it would take me. To me, the important part of my art—ideas—only come to me when I am working. I don’t get my ideas by sitting and thinking about what kind of piece to make. In other words, I have to use my hands, the materials and my eyes to make progress.


Abstract layered montoype print by Irene Yesley

“Outer Space” (detail)


Sometimes I wonder why I like hard edges. I did my MFA in printmaking—mainly woodcut. Lines made in woodcuts have hard edges with no atmospheric brush work. Did this concentration on woodcut shape my ideas, or did I like it because I felt more successful with hard edges?


Abstract ink and acrylic paint on plexi by Irene Yesley

“White and Green” Ink and Acrylic Paint on Plexi, 40″ x 25″


Another question I ask myself is why do I prefer working in a square format? One answer might be that I like balance and equilibrium. Another answer is that perhaps it gives me a feeling of being organized.


Abstract ink and acrylic paint on plexi by Irene Yesley

“Impact” Ink and Acrylic Paint on Plexi, 40″ x 25″


The shapes I use inside the square format are usually not squares. I like to use diagonal lines which, to me, show movement. I find curved lines more emotionally interesting than straight lines.


Abstract ink and acrylic paint on plexi by Irene Yesley

“Take Two” Ink and Acrylic Paint on Plexi, 40″ x 25″


Previous to making cutout shapes on monotypes, I have basically used the same idea when working on two layers of plexi, leaving empty spaces on the top layer so the bottom layer shows through. This work on plexi preceded the cutout pieces on printmaking paper.


Abstract Ink and acrylic paint on plexi by Irene Yesley

“Cutout II” Ink and Acrylic Paint on Plexi, 15″ x 15″


People occasionally tell me my work keeps changing; however, it’s my ideas that are actually progressing linearly even though the medium I am using may change.


Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Subscribe to our twice-monthly Updates, and get a free e-book on Where to Sell Art Online right now!



  1. Anne R Amemiya says

    Gorgeous work! I love your color choices in the Cutout monotype series!

  2. Thank you for your impressions.

  3. Pam Forbes says

    Cutout series has wonderful playful movement.
    Outer Space is amazing with your detailed work. It is like being in a drone flying over and beside your work.
    White and Green just feels calm and so good.

  4. I appreciate your comments. It is fun hearing peoples’ reactions.

  5. Carol Adele Jackson says

    Your last comment in the article provides more insight about all the variation seen in your work.

Speak Your Mind