My first Monoprints- Making- Part 2.

So after having a rest and a crisis of having no idea what I was supposed to be doing next, I pulled out the 20 year old ink that had been festering in my drawer and is now not the original colour it should be. I decided to use this as it is thin and I thought that maybe it would produce a nice effect and not be as thick as the acrylic paint.

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I lightly made a few marks with the ink onto the plate and I was careful not to apply it heavy or with any elaborate patterns just so I could see what was happening with it.

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I placed my paper on and it was much smoother and easy to manipulate whilst on the plate. I became excited for a moment as I thought it would be a good one. By looking at the picture below you can see that it is anything but good, phallic even and a right mess. The ink has been put back into the draw and it is never to be seen or spoken about again.

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Moving on and not wanting to be deterred I started with the acrylic again. This time I used bigger brush strokes on the plate and used the glue stick to create patterns into it again.

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I added blue to the plate to mix it in with the patterns. I used the side of the glue stick to create thin lines within the paint and to smooth it out more as I still have issues with paint quantities it seems.

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Feeling hopeful that maybe this time it would be a better try, I used a jam jar to roll out the design on the paper once on the plate. It seemed to work better and the result I was pleased with. I liked how the paint had mixed and made a line of green in the middle and the that the lines showed up.

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Getting cocky again I added a bit of pink paint to the plate to show that I was really onto something, that finally I could make monoprints and I understood. I made a few more lines and marks with the glue stick and got my paper ready.

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Again as you can see without much surprise, too much paint, not enough pressure and a right mess all over again. I am getting downhearted and I need to clean the plate and get some more paper out.

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My First Monoprints- Having a think.

I decided that the my first monoprint was ludicrous and looked very childish and a right mess. I decided to go out for a bit to have a think about it all and I needed the post office anyway. On the way I walked past the park and collected conkers.

They are yearly tree treasures and fall special only at certain times to be found. I have always loved taking off their shell and seeing the shiny mahogany beauty inside.

I decided that as my monoprint was very silly I might as well incorporate the whole event into a nice ‘painting the leaves I collected with the conkers’ session. I felt much better and even made a colour chart out of the paints I have as I am good to myself like that.

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My First Monoprints- Making- First Attempt.

So as I am a novice I decided to go all out with the green acrylic paint. I used too much so ended up wiping most of it off and then spreading it around with a paintbrush.

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Pleased with my green sea, I got cocky and decided to use another colour on top of it to see if it would work together and how it would look with a bit of pattern.

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Without anymore thought I put my paper onto the plate and used my hand as a presser. You can already see below that the print is too thick and wet as it has all collected in the middle.

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Hmmm.

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Not liking it that much and feeling it was a mess, I thought ‘Oh I know I will try making a ghost image from what is left on the plate’. This time I used a roller and made sure every part of the paper had been flattened out.

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Again with good intentions the whole thing then got stuck to the plate and it ripped. This is down to the paint being too think, me being too heavy handed and trying to go too big too soon.

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I best get my Brasso out again.

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Original image and ghost print from the plate.

My First Monoprints- Equipment.

So after reading all of the books and typing ‘Monoprint’ into Google and then getting terribly confused, I decided to just do what I thought with what basic materials I had around the house.

The printing plate I am going to use is a piece of copper. It is flat and heavy but the right size I need.

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Verdigris doesn’t come off  so the other side needed to be my saviour here. Armed with some Brasso and my rubber gloves I started to clean off years of garage dirt.

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A few scratches were deeply embedded but I was just happy to have something to use to print on. After leaving it to dry and then polishing off with a duster it looked a lot better than I thought.

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As far as inks go, I found quite a few bits and pieces in the drawer of many paints. A set of acrylic paints, a tube of neon pink poster paint and two old bottles of ink. The ink is so old that they are the original big size Winsor and Newton bottles.

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The paper I will use is from an old sketchbook so for my first time I think I am happy and ready to start.

Research-Degas Monoprints.

‘Edgar Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet, yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless experimentation. In the mid-1870s, Degas was introduced to the monotype process—drawing in ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the monotype’s potential, he immersed in the technique with enormous enthusiasm, taking the medium to radical ends. He expanded the possibilities of drawing, created surfaces with a heightened sense of tactility, and invented new means for new subjects, from dancers in motion to the radiance of electric light, from women in intimate settings to meteorological effects in nature. The monotype also sparked a host of experiments for Degas, who often used the medium as a starting point from which an image could be reworked and revised. This process of repetition and transformation, mirroring and reversal, allowed Degas to extend his approach to the study of form. The profound impact of his work with monotype can be seen in his variations in different mediums of key motifs, revealing a new kind of artwork that was less about progress or completion than endless innovation.’

https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1613-accessed 17th September 2017.

 

1. theballetmasterEdgar Degas, The Ballet Master, c. 1876

6. moma_degas_forestinthemountainsEdgar Degas, Forest in the Mountains, c. 1890

https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/edgar-degas-monotypes-at-moma-459263– accessed 17th September 2017.

Just from these two images I can see the brush strokes, the paint marks and the ghost images in his prints. I really like the one above as it is so imperfect yet you can see the scratches from the plate, the ink used and how it has blended into the paper. The tree like image in the background, complete with sky and clouds. I think it is beautiful and the colours are very spring like. It is as if the piece is made in early April when everything starts to wake up, the various greens re-appear and the light is still quite grey and blue until summer starts.

Edgar-Degas-4Edgar Degas, Autumn Landscape (1890).

Edgar-Degas-3Edgar Degas, (1890).

https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/edgar-degas-monotypes-at-moma-459263– accessed 17th September 2017.

Both of these prints are beautiful and they capture all the colours of the season. The seasons and how the light changes is one of my favourite things, the smells of the months changing, the rich colours, the way the sunlight falls around the house and the glow of autumnal sunshine. I like how both of these represent the autumn and the top image even though it is a ghost of the one below still represents autumn showing the signs of the later stark winter months. I hope to be able to use some of these ideas in my monoprints, especially the colours.

 

Research- OCA Printmaking Blogs.

I felt a bit sneaky looking up other printmaking students but I am very glad that I did as I need all the help I can get.

I came across the work of Holly Norris who has created some lovely pieces. Her website is here;

https://knitknotnorris.wordpress.com/category/oca-printmaking-1/printmaking-assignment-1/page/2/– accessed 26th August 2017.

I really like this piece she created using bubble wrap.  This is part of her work for the first assignment.I have noted ‘bubble wrap’ down.

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https://knitknotnorris.wordpress.com/category/oca-printmaking-1/printmaking-assignment-1/page/2/– accessed 26th August 2017

More looking brought me to Becki Pate-www.beckipocablog.wordpress.com who is studying with the OCA. Her blog is full of so many things and beautiful prints and I was interested in her part about masked and layered prints. I liked finding out about the artist Herald Black and I have bookmarked the site so I can peep for inspiration.

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https://beckipocablog.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/monoprinting-1-part-2/– accessed 14th September 2017.

As I was feeling too sneaky I looked on the OCA Printmaking 1 course student work and saw the work of Jackie Gaskell.

I best get a shift on.

Printmaking-Textures and Pattern.

With August came all of the flowers and I decided that I would pick some out of the garden so I could remember them and instead of pressing I would glue them to a piece of card. Maybe make some sort of image that I could print and use. I had no idea to be honest so I decided to just do it and see what happened.

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I chose delphiniums, sweet peas, snap dragons and buddleia. Mainly for the colours as they are so vibrant and to try and see what they would look like once stripped back to just petals. I started to pick various parts off and laid them flat on card. This was also an exercise in ‘what is the best thing to use to stick things onto’. Normal white A4 paper was too thin, newsprint didn’t look good so I chose some white craft card.

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At this point I still had no real idea what it was I was supposed to be doing and why but I was hoping at some point the reasons would come to me. I think somewhere in my mind it is all about the colours and the shapes. I need to make prints that have a form and something about them and the flattened petals mixed together with the various colours I found pleasing.

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Again you have to think like I was at this moment, I am not a print maker, I have never made anything remotely print based before and I am starting from the wilderness. This exercise I decided to create for myself helped me somewhat into actually getting out materials, starting to make a work space and decide on a starting point.

Once I had all of my petals laid out ready the big bucket of PVA came out ready to stick it all down.

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Again, I was unsure so I used a wide acrylic paintbrush and hand painted the glue onto the petals and started to stick them down. This lasted about two minutes as it was far too messy plus they started to rip.

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I then made a cup of tea and began to feel that I had now wasted an entire afternoon making and doing something that wasn’t necessary. I decided to paint the glue straight onto the card and then in a collage fashion started to place the petals straight onto it. I then painted over the ones that hadn’t stuck down and stretched them all out a bit more. This worked better and I actually became pleased that I had made such a concoction. Now to the drying.

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After 4 days of drying- too much glue it seems, it was ready, whatever ‘it’ is.

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I like how the petals and buds have kept their shape and most of their original colour. I think it looks like watercolour in close up parts.

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Final thoughts- It wasn’t a terrible waste of time as I learnt that you need proper brushes, not as much glue and to have at least some sort of idea beforehand. Regardless I don’t want to throw it away so it can go in my sketchbook marked under things not to bother making again.

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