Monoprints

mono04web

An area of printmaking I never much enjoyed was monoprints, but I have been converted. There can be a lot of pleasure in starting with a sheet of acetate and a selection of printing inks and just randomly adding marks. There is a purpose behind doing these, I don’t see them as artworks as they are, but as a base for drawing into, developing the marks that appear or manipulating them into a new image.

Strictly speaking what I am doing are monotypes – a monoprint is a print made on a plate which already has an image on it, usually an etching, but it can be done on a relief plate too. Instead of inking it up and printing an edition of identical images, for a monoprint the plate is inked up in a unique way that can’t easily be repeated, hence ‘mono’. A monotype is made on an unmarked plate – in my case 1mm acetate, or it can be glass or any other impermeable smooth surface. Some artists do a regular painting, then transfer it to paper either by hand-rubbing or putting it through a press, but I am simply making random marks. Interesting results can be obtained as a ghost print, in other words, putting the plate through the press a second time when a lot of the ink has been lifted off. These can be beautiful, delicate images, perfect for drawing into.

The main image above is one that I have started working into, but not yet finished – part of the right hand side has been worked, using coloured pencils and some pen and ink, you should be able to see the difference between the two sides. Once it is finished it may remain complete, but if I find there are elements of it I like, it may well get cut up and remade into something new.

The gallery below has several prints that are just awaiting attention – they may look like a splotchy mess, but to me they are ripe with possibility! Once they are worked into I will post an update.

mono01webmono02webmono03webmono05web

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10 thoughts on “Monoprints

  1. Knowing your work as I do, I can also see the endless possibilities from the lower gallery – including 3D pieces. Anything is possible. Of the top image, yes, I can certainly see the difference between that which has been worked into and that which hasn’t. Incidentally I’ve been thinking of you a lot today as I work as I am also working coloured pencils into under-colour. I’m sure you are influencing me and I thank you for it. Pencil makes a very good “worker-into” of other media and you never quite know what the results will be.

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    1. To be able to influence or inspire another artist is one of the most exciting things about being an artist – it is a great compliment, especially coming from someone as accomplished as you. I’m glad you can see the potential in these pieces, after I had done the post I had second thoughts as they are very rudimentary, but you have encouraged me!

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  2. Positively intriguing, Anna. I haven’t made monoprints in a long while, but you officially have me interested and inspired. My art teacher in Ohio included a few sessions and we did use a press and glass and I was unconvinced of its value until now. I’m digging out my old ones now….maybe to use for collage! Thanks for the nudge. The colors are lovely.

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    1. They are a little bit addictive, I keep having more ideas of different approaches! I think in the past I didn’t like them because I was looking at them as an end to themselves, but now see them as a vehicle to take me to new and interesting places. Collage is definitely a good way to go – now you have me thinking too!

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