After his 1984 retrospective at MoMA, Penn returned to drawing and painting as a serious creative endeavor for the first time in more than forty years. By 1986, he had developed an idiosyncratic technique of photographing a drawing to enlarge and print in platinum-palladium, using the resulting print as the underlying structure for a painting.
His drawings were often graphic compositions of geometric shapes, although he also used this technique with figurative drawings. Pictured here working in his studio in Sweden, Penn paints over one printed matrix in ink, watercolor, and dry pigment while others dry in the background. He also added gum arabic to introduce craquelures, bubbles, and scales to the surface of his paintings.