Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#printoctober: monotypes

Happy October! It's the beginning of #printoctober on twitter and I trialed a couple of monotypes at the end of last month. You can see them in last week's in the studio post. This is my official start for this project.

Here's my printmaking disclaimer: I am trying really hard to retrain myself to say monotype and not monoprint. I will probably use them both when I really mean monotype. A monotype plate has nothing on it that can be repeated in additional printings, and therefore each print is entirely unique. I don't know when this change in naming happened, but I have always called this type of printing monoprinting. Maybe I always used the wrong term. A monoprint has some feature, like an etched line, which can be replicated on each printing. To me, it seems like the names should be reversed, but no one asked me. I will try not be too confusing. You can read more about the history of montype here.

Anyway, it's sort of the anti-printmaking printmaking, because you cannot make an edition. They are all one offs. It's really drawing or painting but with extra work afterwards. On a small scale, it can be done without a press. And since I don't have a press, this seemed like a good way to start. I'm using a glass plate, which I pulled out of a picture frame. The first one was chipped on the side and these things do show, so I dissembled another frame so that I have potentially pretty prints for this month's project. While I am sticking with the #art365 concept, I am not promising to print everyday, but I will try to do it as often as possible. I have a collagraph idea that I want to try out, too. So this month there will be some experimenting.

I pulled three prints today. The first two were done with gouache and the third was done with acrylic paint with an extender. I am using damp watercolor paper. Gouache can be reactivated but acrylic is done when it's dry. I like the look of the acrylic one the best, but the drying time is going to be trickier. I've got pics of the plate, the print, and the plate again, post printing, for each one. The post printing plate pics are bad, but I didn't check them til the plate was already cleaned off for the next print. ( A small lie: I didn't actually clean the plate between the first and second print. You don't want to know how infrequently I clean my paint brushes while painting. Don't pick up my bad habits. )

See how narrow that yellow was on the plate compared to how wide it is on the print? Heavy paint oozes when it gets smooshed. On the plus side, I did get quite a lot of the gouache to transfer from the plate to the paper. 

So, better this time. That skinny little line stayed skinny. And most of the paint transferred, but still sort of not enough of it was on there in the first place. I did water the gouache down just a bit. I'm using cold press watercolor paper and you can really see the texture of the paper on this. I need to buy some printmaking paper. (Just remembered I have a ton of printmaking paper, which I have been schlepping around for over 20 years. true story.) 

This last print is acrylic paint with an extender about 50:50. I felt like the yellow stripe would have been better if I could have let the rest of it dry first, but that wan't an option with acrylic. I am also thinking that rolling it out on the top and bottom halves then wiping away a borderline (aka subtractive printing) to be painted back in might work.

I'll be posting daily any prints I do on facebook, twitter (with the #printoctober hashtag) and on google+ (which is my usual MO for the #art365 project) and when I try something different or if I do something brilliant, there will be blog posts for those with behind the scenes pics. If I get really ambitious I may film one day.

Have you tried monotype? What did you use for ink? Did you have a press? If you've done it, let me know what did or did not work for you.

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