Friday, September 5, 2014


An exploration of how much pigment a piece of dampened paper will accept produced the print at left. I used brayers for the flat areas, and brushes and Colour Shapers for the detail work. I am happy with the flatter areas, and especially the nuances in the large blue shape at top. The smaller marks were more problematic: I had less control than I wanted, and did not manipulate the paint well in the central areas. I also applied it too thickly in places for the effects that I wanted. This has caused problems before: I forget to think about what will happen to thickly applied ink when it goes through the press. In part, I don't know how much will get absorbed and how much will get pushed along. Brayers almost automatically produce a thin layer of paint on the plate, but handwork, as it were, produces clumps and lumps that smear when pressed. I wanted those central shapes to be clear rectangles and squares rather than the mushy forms that happened, but I couldn't get the ink to lie flat in such small spaces. A lot of thoughtful practice lies ahead.

Creating monotypes is deceptively painterly, since the main creative work consists of applying ink/paint to a plate. The most salient difference from direct painting on canvas or board is the fact that the resulting print is a mirror image of the painted plate. Yet there are clearly more subtle differences in the actual application of the color to the surface. I need to develop a printer's mentality and orientation, which has led me to decide to let my cold wax medium work lie dormant for a while, and to concentrate on printmaking. Fortunately, there is much useful information on the Web and in the few books I've found on monotypes. Unfortunately, I don't always know what information to seek. This is truly a trial-and-error process for me.