Monday, January 15, 2007

What is a monotype?

As promised, I am going to tell you a little more about the process for monotypes today. In case you forgot, or haven't been reading my blog until just now, montypes are my new favorite medium!! A monotype is created by painting on a metal or plexiglass plate. I use oil based printer's inks. Watercolor inks or regular oil paint may also be used. Once you have completed your painting on the plate, a piece of dampened paper is applied to the plate. The paper I have been using is called BFK Rives, and it is designed for printmaking. It is a fairly heavy paper, and has a soft texture. The dampened paper and plate are then rolled through a printer's press. If you don't have a printer's press, you may also apply pressure with a baron or wooden spoon. I have been using a printmaking press owned by the Arkansas Valley Art Center. Once you have pressed the paper and inked (or painted) plate together, you may lift the paper from the plate. It is exciting, because the pressure causes effects that you really couldn't create with a brush, without painstaking efforts. I have been using pieces of cardboard, leaves and feathers, and putting those on top of the inked plate, before applying the paper. The dimension of the cardboard, or other objects, creates intaglio (an impression in the paper) which I have been finding fun and interesting. Once you print, there is sometimes ink left on the plate, and if you print the image again, it is called a "ghost". It will look very different from the original print, and I often add more ink, or other elements to the "ghost". Each print is an original, one-of-a-kind piece of art, since you only print one. So when I sign the monotypes, they are 1/1.

Once the monotype dries, it is possible to go back to it, and rework it with watercolor or pastel, or some other medium. I have been using pastel. You can also ink another plate, and print on top of the first printing, for different effects, or if the results of the first printing weren't quite what you had in mind. The monotype you see here is a ghost, and I did rework it a little with pastel. It is called "Industry" and it measures approximately 5 x 7" for the art. It was printed on a buff colored paper. If you are interested in this, or another of my monotypes, you can check out my etsy site at Hopefully, I have explained this so that you have a better understanding about monotypes. If not, feel free to send me an email, or post a comment. I will do my best to respond, and answer any questions you may have.

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