Wednesday, December 17, 2014

learning curves

Jerome and I traveled to Santa Fe last week, where I participated in a three-day workshop in monotype from master printer Ron Pokrasso. In what Ron calls his "Layers and Plates" approach, multiple plates are prepared for each monotype print, creating layers of effects as each subsequent plate is printed on the paper. Two of my more playful efforts, on 16"x20" plates, are at left.

Echoing Ron's theme, I gained multiple layers of knowledge and information at the workshop. Most of the techniques and tools were familiar to me, at least in the abstract, but now I was able to see them practiced by someone who put them together in a complex way, using multiple techniques at a time rather than one technique alone. Chine collé, brayering, subtracting paint, stamping, masking, drawing: all might go into any one print. And new techniques, such as using the edge of a brayer to draw, as well as new tools, such as Stabilo's "Woody Pencils", were added to my repertoire.

In addition to the tools-and-techniques aspects of the workshop, it was tremendously helpful to spend three days in a working print studio, with designated workstations for various tasks and processes, and to hear Ron's suggestions about work flow and arrangement of tools. One of the first things I did upon returning home was to rearrange my studio and acquire an additional worktable. I moved the press into the middle of the room, and now have an easier set-up for the whole monotype process. Ron works on Arches 88, an unsized paper that does not require dampening, and uses the Akua line of water-based inks. For the duration of my studies with him (three more workshops through April), I am doing the same, which means that I can dispense with both the space and the time required for soaking paper, The resulting freed-up space is welcome, and makes the logistics of working in my little studio much more fluid.