Experiment

January 20, 2015

DSC_0196 - Version 2

In printmaking, monotype is a wonderful way to experiment with materials and open the door to chance and surprise in the process. If you aren’t familiar with monotype, it basically involves making/painting an image on a plate (plexiglass, metal, even paper) and transferring that image to the printing paper by running the two together through the printing press. Unlike other forms of printmaking where multiple images can be pulled from the same plate, monotype results in a unique image with the sometime possibility of a paler ghost print from a second pull. In truth the possibilities for techniques in making monotypes are endless, and I couldn’t even begin to describe them here.

Last summer I took a short four session class just to have an opportunity to play a bit. I suppose it should have been no surprise when my printing did not go at all in the direction I had imagined. Under the guidance of the excellent artist and teacher Chris Palmer at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School, I experimented with something I hadn’t tried before: using newsprint as the  printmaking plate. Caran d’Ache water soluble wax crayons can be used to draw on a surface and when run through the press with wet printing paper, the image transfers. I had tried this in the past using a plexiglass plate and was very disappointed in the result. But I had never tried drawing and layering the Caran d’Ache on paper. This allows the layers of wax crayon to be built up in much thicker layers than are possible on the plexiglass plate, and it also transfers the drawn strokes and marks which have a very different appearance than painted ones. There are, of course, still surprises in the printing, and that’s the beauty of the monotype process. My interest at the moment is to use the monotype as the base of mixed media images, adding in drawing, collage, trace monotype, etc., and this class allowed me to begin to experiment with that.

If you want to see some of the results, Hill Gallery is having an opening of the show CHRIS PALMER: TWENTY celebrating 20 years of Chris’ instruction at the VMFA with work from his students this Friday night, January 23, 5:00-8:00 PM. Stop in if you can!

Friday is a busy night. VisArts will be opening the annual [work] show featuring work by faculty, staff, and board members. Drop by 6:00-8:00!

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2 Responses to “Experiment”

  1. ainescannell Says:

    Hi there Sarah what a great tip – I mean about using water soluble crayons on clean newsprint.!!!

    I tried it and it worked great. I have been printmaking for about 15 years or so and know lots of stuff but it’s always lovely finding out new stuff.

    Check me out at http://printmakingart.blogspot.com

    best wishes Aine

    • sarahkmasters Says:

      Hi Aine,
      Thanks for you message. Glad you liked using the water soluble crayons. I think there are lots of possibilities there. Enjoyed your site!
      Take care,
      Sarah


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